Feelings are a way of processing information. They allow us to quickly get our bearings without laborious thought. We’re talking about subconscious calculations that reflect our experiences and worldviews. Feelings also have a powerful influence over our conscious decision-making, i.e. times when we attempt to purely think logically. Small, fleeting emotions arise from everything we associate to a certain brand, among other things, and together they create our feelings from that brand. “If you want to find out what people think about something, ask them how that thing makes them feel. Paradoxically speaking, this method is quite more precise than asking them what they actually think,” says author Daniel Kahneman.
The neurologist Antonio Damasio studied patients who had lost the ability to experience emotion after having suffered an injury to a certain part of the brain. Although they were able to think logically, they were unable to make decisions, including simple ones, such as what they wanted to eat for lunch. Further research showed that we make decisions faster and better thanks to our emotions than when we think something over for a long time.
Source: Emotion, Decision Making and the Orbitofrontal Cortex (2000)
Run continuous tests on emotions
Does the logo remind people of a funeral parlor? Even this could guide the brain when evaluating a product. That is why testing the emotions people could associate with the brand is a good thing, i.e. the slogan, the ads, the face of the brand, and even the shape of the packaging used.
Utilize even deeper emotions
People aren’t only solving their practical needs by shopping, but also their psychological ones. I want to feel like someone who is capable of protecting others, I want to feel original, or that I know how to have a good time, etc. Which emotions relate best to your industry? Do you know how to awaken them in someone?
Stay far away from negative emotions
Even during a crisis, it is much better to create a new positive emotion with a campaign than it is to defend or explain an issue in detail. If you choose to defend or explain, you will continuously remind people of that negative emotion, which will then subconsciously attach itself to your brand.
Even before we perceive something consciously, our brain attempts to recognize a familiar pattern in our sensory signals – letters, individuals, brands, anything. The easier it is to recognize something, the better emotions we have toward that thing. A few attributes that help in this include sharpness, appreciability, simplicity, understandability, regular recurrence, contrast, non interchangeability, etc.
Scientists showed some people Chinese symbols that they did not know. They displayed some symbols repeatedly without saying anything. They then asked the people how positively they felt toward certain symbols. The symbol that were shown repeatedly were evaluated significantly better: the symbols shown twice as much received ratings that were twice as positive.
Source: Attitudinal Effects of Mere Exposure (1968)
Short and simple
Offers and slogans are more successful when they contain fewer words and simpler phrases. Accuracy and expert terminology might seem like an emphasis on quality, when in reality they collide with the laziness of the brain, resulting in a worse final feeling.
Repetition, repetition, repetition
Consistently repeating your communication and brand symbols is better than forcing the customer to decipher new variations. After some time, people recognize a brand only thanks to its colour, shape, and sound. The brain appreciates feeling comfortable.
Simplicity and brand DNA
It only takes one minute, we’ll do it for you, just one click, simple beer, Das Auto, even a small child could do it. Many brands have the brand promise that they will make your life easier built into their very foundation.
When two things vary, the brain focuses on the differences and magnifies them. In this way, the brain helps us to focus in this complicated world on things it deems most likely to be important – uncommon, obvious.
We have a tendency, however, to see brands that are only slightly different as the same (assimilation effect).
Some people received the task of following along with a series of changing syllables and numbers. Then they had to write what they remembered. These people did significantly better in remembering the first syllable in the series of numbers and the first number in the series of syllables. The next surprise was that they only remembered the second syllable in the series of numbers or the second number in the series of syllables at an average rate.
Source: Surprise as a Factor in the von Restorff Effect (1956)
Search for specific symbols and images
“More than a smart phone” or “a revolutionary method” don’t reflect contrast. It is better to create contrast with a unique symbol. Take IKEA as an example: 67% of Czechs associate IKEA with meatballs. This association belongs only to this Scandinavian furniture company; otherwise, people have a hard time associating any kind of food with the competition.
The identical thing is only contrasting once
The contrast effect disappears quickly when the same approach or style is repeated. Kissing nuns, stuffed animals, or vulgar words turn heads the first time they’re used. The same surprise, however, won’t be achieved the second time these methods are implemented.
Choose what you should be compared with
You can influence the context in which your customers will compare you. The best route to take is competing with a common washing machine soap or an outdated bank with an overweight banker.