Whenever most companies try to pitch their products, they take a rational approach in trying to convince customers to buy. They talk about the product’s unique features, and they treat the buying process like it’s a debate. It’s not.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you need to hammer home the things that make your products different, but you also need to remember that buying isn’t a rational decision…it’s an emotional decision. And there are all sorts of emotions that you can appeal to: fear, reward, pleasure, jealousy, awe, love, and more.
Don’t believe me? Consider hand sanitizer. Why do people buy it and carry it around with them? Is it because of the product’s scientific formula? Do customers really analyze the sanitizer in a rational way? Or is it because they’re afraid of germs and getting sick? It’s the latter. Cleaning companies have always played on our fears to get us to buy more of their products so we can keep ourselves and our families safe, clean, and healthy.
They aren’t the only ones guilty of using fear as a motivator to get people to buy in. Politicians do it too. After 9/11, political campaigns heavily featured images from the deadly terrorist attack, subtly reminding voters that the country and their lives are in danger, but if you vote for the right candidate, you will no longer have to be afraid in the future.
In fact, during the 2004 Presidential race, a neuroimaging study was done that showed how people’s brains reacted to various political commercials. Sure enough, whenever images of the attacks on the World Trade Center flashed by, there was an “increase in activity in voters’ amygdalas, a small brain region named after the Greek word for “almond”, which governs…fear, anxiety, and dread.” (Buyology)
The point is, whether consumers (or in this case voters) realize it or not, the brain instantly reacts to the things you see, smell, hear, touch, or taste. We’re constantly processing emotions without even realizing it, and these emotions are guiding our behavior.
What does this mean for you? It means your brand needs to evoke and emotional reaction from your customers. Whether you choose to use fear, jealousy, pleasure, or something else, the point is if you want people to buy and to create a lifelong bond with your company, you need to harness the power of emotions.