Skip to main content

Logic vs. Emotion: Why More Brand Messaging Should Appeal to Emotions

Published by Spinutech on April 13, 2022

Logic vs. Emotion: Why More Brand Messaging Should Appeal to Emotions

Emotion has always been a part of branding — whether consumers are aware of it or not.

How many times have you been standing at the checkout of the grocery store and felt the urge to treat yourself to a Kit Kat? Perhaps you’ve been buying Tide brand laundry detergent for as long as you can remember because that is what your parents used while you were growing up. At one point or another, you’ve likely gravitated toward a brand due to emotional attachment.

Many consumers will tell you that they compare prices across competing brands before making a purchase, but Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman claims consumers are not as driven by logic as they might like to believe. According to his research, Zaltman posits that 95 percent of purchase decisions take place in the subconscious mind. Humans are driven largely by feelings and that has significant implications for marketing, branding, and sales.

Emotion is a powerful thing, and every marketer should be intimately aware of the emotions that drive their target audience. Brand messaging, in particular, often appeals to logic and reason. You have a product or service that fulfills a practical or functional need for your customers, and that generally serves as the driving force behind your marketing.

But it would be a mistake not to look beyond that and also appeal to their emotions. What feelings will your product or service evoke for your customers? Take to-do lists, for example. For some people, writing out a to-do list helps them organize and prioritize their tasks, increasing the likelihood that they will actually complete them. But for others, it’s more about the sense of accomplishment they feel when they’re able to cross items off that list. Chasing that feeling may even be what motivates them to complete the to-dos on that list.

What are Your Customers’ Emotional Motivators?

The Harvard Business Review conducted research across hundreds of brands in dozens of verticals to determine the efficacy of targeting a customer’s feelings to drive their behavior. They were able to assemble a list of what they referred to as “emotional motivators,” highlighting 10 that they believe significantly affect customer value:

  1. A desire to stand out from the crowd
  2. A desire to have confidence in the future
  3. A desire to enjoy a sense of well-being
  4. A desire to feel a sense of freedom
  5. A desire to feel a sense of thrill
  6. A desire to feel a sense of belonging
  7. A desire to protect the environment
  8. A desire to be the person I want to be
  9. A desire to feel secure
  10. A desire to succeed in life

All 10 emotional motivators are examples of deep, often unconscious desires that consumers can possess. They can be difficult for a brand to identify because the customers themselves may not even be aware of them, but your chances of establishing an emotional connection between your brand and your customers increases when your messaging aligns with their motivations. You can’t always trust what consumers tell you. You often have to dig deeper.

Connecting with Consumers’ Emotions

To tailor your brand messaging to appeal to your audience on an emotional level, you must first understand what basic purpose or function your brand fulfills for your customers. Only then can you begin to understand the emotional benefits. Think of whatever it is that you’re selling as a tool. Tools are generally used to accomplish a task, whether it is building or repairing something. When you build something, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You may feel a sense of pride having built it on your own, rather than having someone else do it.

If you’re a restaurant, you’re providing more than a meal. You’re giving families and friends a place to gather and connect while sharing a meal together. If you’re a self-storage facility, you’re more than a place for people to store their stuff. You’re giving them a place to store their cherished memories and treasured possessions for safekeeping.

As a marketer, your job is to connect your brand with these emotions. Use emotional hooks in your brand messaging to communicate to consumers that your product or service is going to have an emotional payoff and ultimately lead them down the path to that sense of accomplishment, pride, or whatever their emotional motivator may be.

Contact Spinutech today if you are interested in learning more about how to appeal to your audience’s emotions through brand messaging driven by branding surveys and exercises, audience persona development, journey mapping, and more.