Susie M Stokes
Susie M Stokes 3 June 2016
Categories Advertising, B2B, Content

Whats missing from your marketing…Emotion

As a Marketer // Blogger // Copywriter, I specialise in creating shareable, valuable content for the right audience to engage them in a meaningful way. I created my own blog "The Marketing Index" to share all I have learnt & provide you with valuable insights & resources.

Too often when reviewing our marketing plans & campaigns we think only of how our target audience engaged with our marketing activities in terms of tangibles like clicks, likes, site visits, email sign ups & sales. But what about those intangibles like the personality or the look & feel of our marketing and more importantly did it evoke an emotion?

Emotions are key to standing out in a crowded marketplace; by eliciting a reaction and triggering an emotion you engage the consumer. Your marketing and communication strategies can only be enhanced and made more effective by learning about & implementing emotion. By partnering emotion with storytelling then you have a powerful combination. Our brains are hardwired for stories as its how we make sense of the world and connect with the people around us. Once we have worked this out we can then effectively share our message keeping in mind the principles of persuasion.

It’s like human relationships we don’t always recall exactly what our friends said to us on an occasion but we do remember how they made us feel and that feeling lasts long after the moment has passed. That’s why as a smart marketer you need to start focussing your marketing and communication strategies at the customers emotions, not their rational logical brain.

In terms of implementing this think: benefits first, features second. This is how Apple launched the iPod to us 1,000 songs in your pocket(benefit) & not 1GB of storage(feature).

The emotional brain is quick to respond compared to the deliberate logical thinking of the rational brain. Daniel Kahneman talks about this in his book “Thinking Fast & Slow” but he refers to it as intuitive thinking versus systematic thinking. Intuitive being the gut instinct, quick reaction or emotive response & systematic being the slower acting deliberate logical and systematic thinking.

He changed the way we think about thinking, in that we are not the logical being we believe ourselves to be & our logical brain is in fact, lazy and that most of our thinking is done by feeling our way to reason using our intuitive or emotional brain.

The author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing, Douglas Van Praet, wrote in Fast Company, “The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!”

Advertisers are starting to use emotion more… why? Because it works. These are three examples of my favorite ads using successful emotional advertising: 1) Friends Furever – Android, 2) The Unique Connection – Pandora and 3) the heart-wrenching #ManontheMoon – John Lewis.

1. Friends Furever – Android

2. The Unique Connection – Pandora

3. #ManontheMoon – John Lewis

You can see a full list of the 20 most shared ads of 2015 from Unruly. 

Studies also show that we are buying emotionally and not logically as we traditionally thought. Listed below are five”must know” facts professionals in marketing/advertising/media should know about emotion:

Tweet this!“Things are, for each person, the way he perceives them” Plato

Tweet this!“Whenever decisions are involved, whether in the choice of a mate or the choice of a car, emotions are involved.” Ernest Dichter

Tweet this!“Thinking tells us what this thing is. Feeling tells us what this thing is to us.” *Carl Jung*

Tweet this!“The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”George Bernard Shaw

Tweet this!“The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.”
Sigmund Freud

Another appropriate comment from neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor: “We live in a world where we are taught from the start that we are thinking creatures that feel. The truth is, we are feeling creatures that think.”

We can start to see a reoccurring theme, and as a marketer or even small business owner tryng to build a loyal customer base finding that emotional benefit and not just listing your business features will help you succeed in the minefield that is the market place today, with the average consumer being exposed to 5,000 ads a day.

The words “motivation” and “emotion” themselves actually share the same Latin root, “movere,” which means to move. This is an appropriate root as motivation & emotion both cause us to take action.


Our emotions are automated actions, evolving as behavioural responses to ensure survival and not just for our amusement. The challenge for us is that our emotions originate without our knowing. We don’t consciously choose our feelings, they (mostly) choose us.

Our brain is made up of three parts:

The first brain (brain stem), the emotional brain (limbic system) and the rational brain (neocortex).

The neocortex is responsible for rational and analytical thought, along with language, and the limbic system is responsible our feelings and emotions, including trust and loyalty, but critically it is responsible for all our behaviour and decision making with no capacity for language.

This means people have the capacity to understand vast amounts of facts and features abut a product or service it just doesn’t drive behaviour(unfortunately). Our emotional responses are milliseconds faster than our cognitive (rational thinking) responses, meaning the lightning fast emotional responses override or bypass the rational brain centres.

Because the limbic brain doesn’t have the capacity for language, we struggle to explain our behaviour and decision making. I know I often resort to “it doesn’t feel right” when trying to articulate why I didn’t make a certain decision.

When for example in marketing research surveys you ask a consumer to explain their past purchase decisions, it’s in essence, asking our limited, linear, rational brain to interpret the responses of the powerful, emotional, feeling, creative mind.

The neocortex resorts to rationalising stories in an attempt to organise and categorise these sensory or emotional experiences of the limbic brain. It’s like asking you to describe your emotions on a number scale, very difficult.

In Summary

As Jill mentions above we are “feeling creatures, that think”. As a take away from this post how do you want to be remembered by your customers, how do you want to make them feel post purchase? This can be key to uncovering your businesses emotional benefit.

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