We’d all like to believe that the choices we make are the result of a rational and considered process – alas, in reality our emotions influence us, enormously.
Research conducted by the Advertising Research Foundation in New York concluded that the emotion of ‘likability’ is the most predictive measure of whether an advertisement will increase a brand’s sales.
There are some indicators that can measure the effect of emotion on buying behaviour, these include social sentiment, the number of social media shares and YouTube views. They all provide an idea of what the consumer’s emotional response has been and how well you’re connecting with your customers – emotionally.
It’s true that we love to tap into consumer emotion. As an example, British Summer Fruits, the body that represents berry suppliers, asked the London Institute of Philosophy to see if the thought of strawberries gets people thinking about summer. The results revealed that 77% of us do associate strawberries with the summer, with 64% saying they evoke thoughts of sunshine and 25% the aroma of freshly cut grass.
It all comes back to storytelling – and there’s nothing like a story to prompt an emotional response. Media like social and video have made that very easy for brands to evoke consumer reaction from storytelling. To really make the most of this, you really have to listen to your customers – what are they talking about? And how are they experiencing your brand. There’s story in every experience. But most importantly brand owners need be authentic but innovative.
So, there’s a human element to measuring emotion and often that’s a problem. It’s a problem because consumers will actively manage how they feel during a marketing exercise.
“Some scientists have calculated that our wellbeing is about 50% genetic” says Dr Alexander Gunz, a marketer lecturer at Manchester Business School (speaking to Marketing Week). He recommends that brands measure a lot of people and measure them at multiple points in time so that you’re following their journey with the product – then you have a clearer picture of whether your product has changed them from their normal baseline. Of course, it goes without saying that social listening is a way of really measuring the temperature of your product (or indeed service).
Few consumers would admit that their buying decisions are not logical. In reality, our life experiences and genetic make-up play an unconscious role in the purchasing process.