Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Billy's Seventeenth Law: Never underestimate the power of emotions!

That’s the power of Love.

Heuy Lewis
Emotions are powerful things.  Emotions have an amazing impact on decision making…often overriding the rational in favour of the irrational.  Over the next few weeks, I want to examine the influence of emotions on customer buying.  I have begun to read more books and articles on the topic of the brain, and specifically on the ways in which decisions are influenced by the rational and the emotional centres of the brain. Books such as Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell or Buy-ology and Brandwashed, by Martian Lindstrom help explain how we think and how we decide.
I was teaching a marketing course in Penticton BC, and attempting to illustrate the point of ‘customer stickiness’; the notion that the more habitual the buying the more sticky the customer is to the supplier.  This is not a matter of loyalty, but rather a matter of deeply ingrained habits.  (An interesting example of this is in the United Kingdom, where people are more likely to change a spouse than a bank account.  Given the banking situation in the UK, this is certainly not due to any great love shown towards the individual banks.)
As a part of this exercise, I asked everyone in the room and tell us which local grocery story they frequented.  Grocery shopping is very habitual, and I could then move from the difficulty of getting customers to change grocery stores to the challenge of getting customers to change to my students’ potential businesses.   
As we went around the room, one of the participants mentioned that she shopped at Safeway.  Another participant, not a Safeway fan, berated the original respondent for her supermarket choice.  The original participant immediately began to defend her choice of Safeway in incredibly emotional terms.
The whole thing was bizarre.  These two rational adults were getting into an emotional argument about grocery shopping.  They were emotional in their responses to each other.  I didn’t know so much emotion could come from grocery stores. 
According to consulting firm APCO, consumers respond to companies along eight dimensions: Understanding, Approachability, Relevance, Admiration, Curiosity, Identification, Empowerment, and Pride. The company then surveyed customers to determine the most loved companies in the world.  The number one company for 2013, by this measure, is Disney.  By the way, the most hated company last year, according was McDonalds…partially for their treatment and low pay for their employees. 
As we move forward, I will focus on four foundational emotions, where they come from in and why they are important.  Finally, I want to display a model showing you how you can best sell to both the left (rational) and right (emotional) brain, creating a complete promotional message for your customers.
This week’s quote, from my favourite business writer, Tom Peters:
All businesses success rests on something labelled a sale, which at least momentarily weds company and customer.

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