Get Emotional

Get Emotional


Of course logic matters.

Logic is why you spend hours developing a polished presentation filled with facts, data, pie charts, and cited research. Car commercials talk miles per gallon, horsepower, maintenance record, and longevity. As consumers we need truth in advertising, we weigh the economics of our purchases, and we use logical reasoning when we make decisions. But, neuroscience suggests, all the logic in the world won’t win over customers unless they are emotionally attached to a brand.

Emotion Trumps Logic

Recent research by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio reveals that the part of our brain responsible for 90% of our decision-making is the same part of the brain where emotions reside-the limbic system. Damasio studied people with damage to the limbic system who seemed normal except for their inability to feel emotions. He discovered these people had difficulty making any decisions at all. They couldnÌt even decide what to have for lunch.

What’s more, according to an article in Psychology Today, MRI imagery of the brain proves that when consumers evaluate brands, they use emotions-including personal feelings and past experiences-rather than information.

The article also notes that emotional response to a print ad trumps the ad’s content by more than double when it comes to a consumer’s intent to buy; for television ads, it’s triple.

Brand Attachment Boosts Sales

JoAnn Sciarrino, a researcher and the Knight Chair in Digital Advertising and Marketing at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, presented on the link between emotion and decision-making at the 2014 Content Marketing World conference. Sciarrino’s findings concluded that an emotional brand attachment had a higher correlation to sales than any other factor-including overall satisfaction, willingness to recommend, likes, shares, and a host of other metrics.

Not convinced that emotions are powerful drivers action -more so than logic or even instead of logic? Think about luxury brands. There’s very little logic that can justify owning, say, a Bentley compared to a Toyota Camry. But, there are plenty of emotional drivers-including vanity, greed, and pride-that compel people to spend serious money on luxury products. You could say the same thing about diamonds. (If we analyzed only the logic behind owning a diamond, perhaps no one would ever buy one.)

What You Can Do

What does all this brain science mean for us as marketers?

Not only do we need foster a strong emotional connection between our membership and our brand-we simply can’t exist without one.

If your marketing aims to convince people to attend your conference solely based on logic and reasonable information, you might be falling short of attendance goals. Keep in mind that on a brain-deep level buying decisions are primarily emotional. A more effective approach is to engage your membership with stories, with value, and with benefits about how your conference will make their lives better. They will fill seats not because you’ve convinced them but because you’ve compelled them.

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