Neuroscience tells us that emotions drive buyer decisions. Creative intelligence tells us how.
Learn about the science behind Fifty's creative.
By Fifty Strategy + Creative
Effective brands speak to the heart first and then the brain.
Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, argues that emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all consumer decisions. His research, based on Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use their emotions (personal feelings and experiences), rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts). His research also shows that:
A consumer’s emotional response to a marketing message has far greater influence on their decision to buy a product than logical reasons.
“Likeability” is the measure that is most predictive of whether a marketing message will increase a brand’s sales.
Positive emotions toward a brand have much more influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgements, which are based on brand attributes.
Effective brands understand what their consumers want on an emotional level.
They demonstrate their understanding of their consumers by conveying beliefs, values, and a unique character that resonates with their consumers. And, they aren’t afraid to show what they care about. Overall, an effective brand:
Understands its consumers emotionally, as well as the scientific data behind their behaviour.
Demonstrates that it has valuable ideas; ideas that also matter to its consumers.
Engages with its consumers and community in emotionally rewarding ways.
64% of consumers say that shared values create a trusted relationship with a brand.
When your consumers “like” your brand they want to buy it.
Research tells us that consumers perceive the same type of personality characteristics in brands as they do in other people. And just as with people, they are attracted to some personality types more than others — attractions that are emotion-based, not rational. Brands attract their consumers by demonstrating what they believe in.
People forget what you said, people forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel.
Humans are inspired by emotion. Emotionally intelligent brands are inspired by humans.
Emotions drive actions that support our positive self-image. Emotional brands with meaningful promises based on a positive human outcome support our success as individuals. Brands that trigger our emotions in positive ways become part of how we solve our problems or celebrate our success.
Research suggests that brands that engage people emotionally command prices as much as 20% to 200% higher than competitors’ and sell in far higher volumes.
In 2014, the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology published research stating that human emotion is based on four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.
Connecting brands with happy feelings seems like an obvious choice, and it is. Brands that express positive emotions create powerful bonds. The countless examples of consumer brands that promise happiness by engaging with them include, furniture, airplanes, paint, pizza, cars, banks, beer, cell phones, mascara and even dog food.
Fear inspires action. Brands work off fear successfully by presenting a solution to a fear-inspiring situation or they suggest taking an action that will reduce fear. This is true especially for brands that represent health, political, social or environmental issues. It is also true at a personal level when a brand can eradicate the fear of smelling bad or not looking one’s best.
Emotions such as disgust are often avoided by brands for fear of being negative. However, for brands who wish to connect consumers to a cause such as driving drunk, body image shaming or bullying, inciting disgust can be a powerful call to action for consumers.
Brands that trigger our emotions in positive ways become part of how we solve our problems or celebrate our success.
Pure emotion isn’t enough to convince consumers to listen. Emotion needs to be delivered in the context of a brand story.
Ideas expressed through brand stories with surprising, dramatic, unique and intriguing words and pictures deliver rewarding emotional experiences for consumers.
The Ted talk “Storytelling, Psychology and Neuroscience” by Amanda D’Annucci, illustrates how storytelling enhances the listener’s memory of the story.
For example, the process called neural coupling creates coherence between a speaker’s brain and the brains of his/her audience members.
FMRI studies show that facts light up two regions of the brain whereas emotional storytelling causes additional areas of the brain to light up.
Also, it’s easier to remember facts when they’re told in a story. That’s because the part of the brain involved in memory is the same part involved in imagination and story work.
When captivated by an emotionally engaging story, the brain produces oxytocin which increases generosity, compassion, trustworthiness, and sensitivity to social cues.
Science tells us that brands that leverage storytelling make a deeper emotional and psychological impact. That impact allows their consumers to remember their story, and therefore, their brand. Consumers who remember a brand increase its ROI.
How Storytelling Affects Your Brain
Harvard Business Review study, 2014