Tuesday, July 1, 2014

If I'm Not 'Feelin It', I'm Not Buying It.

Imagine a world of emotional detachment and disconnect. I’m not just referring to an inability to connect with others emotionally, but an inability to connect with your own heart and the subconscious motivations which drive behavior. Seems inhumane doesn’t it, and if you ever find yourself in that world, find a good therapist, because psychologists warn of all sorts of mental health issues and implications.

Many of us, if we’re honest, find it very difficult to turn emotions on and off. In fact, we’ve all experienced intense emotions in some very passive states: our hearts race when we identify with a fictional character on a movie screen; certain environments, smells, or interactions with people unconsciously trigger past experiences and send signals to the body and brain to respond accordingly. Remember how irrationally motivated and out of balance you felt when you first fell in love? Emotions are attached to associations we make about the way we view ourselves and the world in order to guide choices and largely prepare us for action, either positive or negative. It’s the way we’re wired. Unless you're a robot.

Love and loyalty is driven by this process, and smart marketers understand this. Smart marketers know how to put this knowledge to work. Unfortunately, the people who make decisions about a brand or business, aren’t necessarily from the same school of thought or on the same page. We’ve seen the case studies and documented the failures that result when a brand fails to take into account the emotional programming behind what people buy and why. 

Countless studies have been conducted about the power of emotion and unconscious associations underlying consumer behavior are what send brands either into the Stratosphere or the trash can. I’ve always said this, and won’t back down from this approach, because it is extremely rewarding and not as mysterious or laborious as some would lead you to believe. There is a general consistency to this paradigm that transcends the sales or technology treadmill because it is what drives the treadmill, just as simple gender and demographic differences affect the way brands have always been marketed.

More and more are finally getting it I think, and are seeking to discover what motivates and maintains loyalty; even leveraging those insights, but when everyone within the leadership structure of a business isn’t on board, an identity crises ensues. Brands rebrand and change ad agencies like underwear and undermine the very essence of what differentiates us from the devices we attempt to live our lives through every day.