End of last week I posted an article on my personal blog about a recent survey by the American Association of National Advertisers. I would like to share it here as well since I find it more important than ever to think about emotional aspects of communication, marketing and businesses in a world where people, what they say and how they share stories and create word-of-mouth is key in social media marketing and other forms of marketing.
The survey by the American Association of National Advertisers (ANA) points out that few companies pay attention to the emotional aspects of their products and services in their brand-related messages and how these products and services could meet people’s emotional needs. The conclusion from the ANA was a remarkable one, since most marketers realize the importance of connecting with people on an emotional level, according to the same survey. And isn’t the customer experience a LOT about emotions as well?
But there is more. How is it possible that, knowing that the buying process is a combination of so-called rational decisions and mostly emotional decisions, marketers neglect the emotional aspects of what they communicate and share (if they share at all)?
On top of that: there is no strict border between rationality and objectivity on one hand and sentiment, emotions and thus subjectivity on the other. They are connected and the same (it’s our cultural heritage to separate these two).
Rationality still rules
EVERYTHING we do is inspired by emotions and is subjective, even if we don’t realize it. If there was such a thing as the “rational and objective truth”, people would not argue. That’s one thing I wanted to say. A second thing that I’d like to stress (again) is that a brand is a matter of people (the people in the company, the people around the company, and the people with potential influence on the company), and engaging people in an emotional, useful, participative, and “human” way is crucial. Still, 62% of the questioned marketers say, their brand messages are more based on rational and functional aspects.
Only 38% say, they focus on the emotional benefits. At the same time, marketers think that there should be a better balance between rational/functional benefits on the one hand, and emotional benefits on the other (48 and 52%, respectively). According to Bob Liodice, CEO at the ANA, the survey’s conclusions are understandable.
Love your customers, they pay the bills
Bob says that during the recession, “consumers” have been focusing a lot on the price and just how much they can get for their money. He expects people to focus more on emotional benefits from now on. Sure, price seems like a “rational” thing but it’s very emotional as well. Ask those that have been struck hard by the recession and those don’t have the money to buy all the fancy goods businesses want us to believe we need! Marketing is about business and business is simple: get your stuff bought. But marketing is increasingly realizing the importance of people in the interaction process and thus by definition of emotional connections.
So get some emotion in your brand messages and do it now. If you love your brand, then love your customers as well, they pay the bills. So start listening and appealing to their emotions. Of course we can talk about “hidden persuaders” and stuff now but I mean really caring. If you don’t they will not care either. Anyway, you can read more – probably more interesting data and stuff than I just covered – about the survey