The Emotional Value of a
Buying Decision

“Don’t just sell a product, sell an experience”, said a bunch of wise marketers on the internet.  
As entrepreneurs, we love to dwell in pride and boast about the science, technology, rationale, and logic behind our luxury products. After all, the effort behind an exclusive creation or development must be spoken of. But how many of your audiences are willing to listen? When it comes to selling or marketing, the focus shifts from being selfish to self-less. Good marketers are those that think about what their customers want to hear and not about things that they’ve got to say.

The Birth of Decision-making

Purchasing decisions take birth in a human’s subconscious mind and therefore luxury consumers are driven by unconscious urges, the strongest of which is Emotion. A brand’s marketing approach must target the subconscious mind that involves targeting emotions over logic and rationale. When a brand focuses solely on marketing the attributes of the product, it is making a huge mistake by missing the opportunity of targeting the subconscious decision-making process of the human element. When people are asked about their purchasing habits, they explain by giving an analogy of competing brands, quality of products, and evaluation of prices. These are factors humans believe that they consider however, they do not realize that decisions are primarily emotional, not rational.   
Thus, it’s time to get emotional with your brand.

Emotional Branding

Here’s a phenomenon marketers use to build a relationship with their customers and their product or brand by provoking emotions.   
Now, this sounds pretty self-explanatory. But it’s a complex process, which when done incorrectly will leave your audience feeling confused. And a confused prospect isn’t a prospect. Emotional branding is a very effective strategy when executed correctly. Brand advertising, logo, colors, tagline, packaging, etc. are individual building blocks that create the structural integrity of the brand. When these elements are created with an emotional approach, the brand consequently targets the emotions of the audience.   
Leading brands have inherited the idea of emotional branding in their products and campaigns. As a result, brands have received phenomenal results in terms of sales and generation of revenue.   
For instance, Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” campaign was focused on emotion. The audience felt connected to the brand through the various initiatives associated with the campaign. Such as the coca-cola hug machine and the free vending machine placed on college campuses to stand as an ice-breaker on the first day of college. There’s no second thought on the effectiveness of this campaign. After all, who doesn’t love a hug? However, in 2016, Coca-Cola changed its strapline to “Taste the Feeling”, leaning on a slightly functional approach. "We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand," said CMO, Marcos de Quinto.   
Well, here’s how brands make constant efforts to experiment and gauge audience reactions. Based on their reaction, a brand can conclude whether an emotional or functional marketing approach works for their brand.
Another well-known and highly effective emotional campaign that worked wonders was the Vicks “Touch of Care” initiative. The focus of this campaign was to send the message of love and care while redefining family through a story that not only attracts attention but also creates an impact on the minds of the viewers.
Emotional Branding works towards gaining a loyal customer base with an increased lifetime value. Therefore, brands focus their attention, effort, and funds towards creating emotional ads over rational ads. Marc Gobé in his book, “Emotional Branding - The new paradigm for connecting brands to people” has created a movement in branding circles by shifting the focus from products to people.  
The key is to analyze people’s needs and associate the features of your product or brand to them. Here are a few data-driven tips for conducting emotionally triggered marketing:
  • Personalized Communication with Consumers- Create a channel for customized, unique interactions with your customers. Communicate using the language and words of your audience, to make them feel like you belong with them. Construct stories and narratives that depict and cater to their lifestyles.
  • Convey through Visuals- The human brain processes visual information faster and stores them longer than simple text or words. Therefore, make sure your logo, packaging, advertisements, etc. are all aligned with the emotional message your brand tries to convey.
  • Stay Authentic- The authenticity of a brand can be communicated through its activities, initiatives, and campaigns. Brand values and ethics must be aligned with societal beliefs and environmental awareness.
  • Tackle Public Relations issues quickly- Just like our beloved Maggi did! When an issue was raised against the quality of their product, they immediately pulled down all their inventories from the shelves to protect their customers, thus showing emotion of care even in times of crisis.

Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

  It’s practically unfair to miss out on Maslow’s model when we’re talking about human needs and desires (which are ultimately driven by emotion). Advertisers and marketers can target the needs of their consumers by evaluating where their target market lies in the hierarchy pyramid. For those that belong in the third bracket of love and belonging, Cadbury targets them with advertisements that portray the same. And those that need Safety and Security are targeted through Life Insurance policies, government-insured policies, etc. which speak the language of the masses who yearn for the same need. Similarly, the automobile industry targets people according to their desires. Today, Apple is a brand that has reached the stage of self-actualization after climbing the ladder of hierarchical needs.

Emotions that brands are quick to tap on

  • FOMO - The fear of missing out is real and has been cultivated in a vast majority of the masses, especially the millennials. Therefore, brands have hopped on the bandwagon of creating faux urgency to enhance their sales.
  • Fear - The fear of being attacked by a deadly disease, losing a life, being struck by poverty, and many such disasters have taken root among people. Sometimes, brands indulge in creating a fear of the unknown among the audience to sell. The fear of being bitten by dengue mosquitoes has led to a rise in the sale of products like Mortein and Godrej HIT.
  • Happiness and joy - Occasions like marriage, the birth of a new child, onboarding a new job, etc. call for a celebration. And brands like Cadbury, Jewelry brands, etc. target such emotions.
  • Empathy, love, and care - Brands like Pedigree, Vicks, AirBNB, etc. communicated the language of love, care, and empathy.

A thorough understanding of human behavior driven by feelings and emotions including moods can help brands create an identity that caters to the right audience, which ultimately leads to a rise in sales and success of the brand.