Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The heart is our shopping guide - emotional marketing is king

I bought a new computer the other day, and wow, tech companies like Harvey Norman are living in a completely different world! It is impossible to find a laptop that is marketed for me as a user (or female?). All they sell is "GB, i5, 2 Duo, GHZ, RAM, processor, hard drive..." and they could as well speak Greek. 

I´m a heavy computer user, but I have no idea how my loved one really functions underneath. I just want it to be strong, light and small. It´s like with a boyfriend - you don´t go and get a blood test to see his levels. You simply keep an eye on his abs and the shine in his eyes to get a feeling of how he is like (as a person...). 
In my book Love Branding I present lots of research on emotional branding/marketing and the power of reaching a person´s heart, and not just catch their eyes. If you can touch a customer emotionally, and not just influence with rational arguments, you are much more powerful when delivering your message. That´s just how the brain works. We make choices from what we feel – not what we think.
Brands that awaken positive emotions within us become our buddies, and the best way to get customer love is to really know what the customer wants deep down, and satisfy those needs. It´s never going to be a certain hard drive – but rather peace of mind. It´s not 500 GB – it´s absence of hassle. Don´t sell us things; sell emotions!

When the Advertising Research Foundation and American Assn. of Advertising Agencies, have measured consumers' emotional responses to TV advertising they found that stories
were very effective when creating emotional responses. A campaign like Bud's iconic "Whassup" registered more powerfully with consumers than Miller Lite low-carb ads that essentially just said, "We're better than the other guys." Why? Because Bud told a story about friends connected by a special greeting.

Ad research firm Gallup-Robinson, Pennington, N.J., found that an ad which showed a little girl's sadness and anxiety melt away into a soft smile once she was given a bowl of soup, generated 80% purchase intent.
In my book I present plenty of more examples and science that speaks loud and clear, saying our heart is our guide when it comes to purchases. But some ad agencies are still resisting. In 2007 Mark Truss, director of brand intelligence at JWT, New York, said to Brandweek that the storytelling theory is correct, but the industry still lacks a way to prove it. "Without the tools to measure and link back to business metrics, marketers and advertisers are not going to embrace [this approach]."
Brands may go for the safe left-brain arguments for a little while longer, but when they finally accept that the right-brain arguments will always win, there is no other way.
As for my laptop… Sure it´s a great machine, but now I´ll spend the week screaming, trying to make it work, getting programs in, training it to know my passwords, spending endless time calling support service all over the world. My old programs are not allowed to be used again, nothing works! If I sound a little grumpy in the next few days, you know why… :)

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