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Insider Secrets to Using Emotions to Influence Buyer Behaviour

When making purchasing decisions we like to think that we are using a rational, and where warranted, an analytical approach.  Unfortunately, this is not really the case. Our emotions actually have a more signifiant impact on our buying behaviour than we realize.  Leveraging these emotions therefore, is an important component for anyone selling a product or service.  After all, consumers choose one brand over another based on an emotional response.  So, how do we leverage insider secrets and emotions to influence buyer behaviour?  Let’s explore.

Insider Secrets to Using Emotions to Influence Buyer Behaviour

Image courtesy of almigo.blogspot.com

Dr. Antonio Damasio, a renowned neuroscientist, argues that emotion is the necessary ingredient to nearly all decisions.  Of course as marketers we like to focus on the aspects of communication, advertising and marketing that influences consumer behaviour. When you actually start to analyze behaviour you can begin to understand how emotion is really at the root of the decision and on top of that, there are probably two fundamental components that really guide us.

Identity and Social Status

As human beings we are influenced by how “something” impacts us, or how something connects us to our identity and quite frankly our social status.  As individuals we might not realize that we think this way, but we do.  Really skilled marketers think about the positioning of a product or service in this capacity. We think about the image that individuals want to create when associated with a purchase.  Is he or she  smart, educated, well to do, sporty?  Or, is he or she hip, edging, etc.   At a subconscious level, all consumers want to be perceived in a certain way.

A really great example to understand emotional connection and specifically one’s identity and  the importance of social status is our choice when buying a car.  Recently Cadillac created an ad that showed its owners as successful people who have “stuff”. It suggests that working all of the time versus enjoying time off or doing things to better your community is what “it” is all about.  Then, Ford in quite the juxtaposition created their own version of the same ad giving a completely different identity and social status for those who own a Ford.  In their ad, Ford owners are working to create a cleaner, healthier community for all.  Two ads that look very similar, but have two different messages.

These two ads are a brilliant way to make the case for an emotional reaction and one’s sense of identity and social status.  Which one you choose is entirely up to you, but these marketers definitely positioned these brands for this purpose.   There is no question that you have an emotional response when you view these ads. Through my own testing, every person reacted to these ads.

Another great example is the Dove Self-Esteem campaign.  What parent wouldn’t be impacted by the power of these ads. So many girls have been negatively impacted by beauty campaigns.  The Dove campaign strives to evoke positive emotions and to take control of the message of natural and real beauty.

Great marketing really triggers an emotional response.  Great brands understand the significance of emotion, the power the influence to purchase and ultimately to trust the brand.

Emotions are powerful assets.  As consumers we often don’t realize that we have control over these assets.  As marketers we are always looking for ways to use them to influence buyer behaviour.  Next time you are about to make a purchase, stop and think about your emotional state.  Maybe it will make you think differently…maybe it won’t.

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3 Ways Color Can Influence Buying Behavior

There are many things that influence human behavior and color is definitely one of them.  The effect is often so subtle that we have no conscious realization that we are being influenced by color.

Research shows however, that color can actually influence buying behavior.  In fact, color has the power to evoke strong emotional responses and depending on your culture and your geographic location, using the wrong color could be enough to turn potential and existing customers away from your business.  As a result many marketers, like myself, have studied the meaning of color and the psychology behind color.  So let’s take a 50,000 foot view of color and give you some tips to help you influence customers the right way.

1. Geography and Culture

Sounds straight forward doesn’t it?  Not necessarily.  You don’t need to be a big company to think about the implications of working in different countries or selling to people of different cultures.  In fact, small business really needs to be on top of localization.

One of the best companies for localization is McDonald’s.  Small business can leverage the work they have done and apply it to their businesses.  For example, McDonald’s has  not only adapted the look and feel of their website to meet the local customer’s expectations, but they have changed their menu.   In terms of color, we see that Red plays prominently on their website in India.  Red is an important color and one that has positive meanings in India.

N&EIndia

McDonald’s Website for Northern & Eastern India

 In Mexico however, red is really downplayed.  The website focuses more on the colors that are seen in the Mexican flag.

McDonald's Website for Mexico

McDonald’s Website for Mexico

And in The Netherlands, green is much more prominent than red on the website.  The golden arches are encased in green, not red.  Again, understanding the implications of color is important so that you can focus the right attention in the right place.

McDonald's Website for The Netherlands

McDonald’s Website for The Netherlands

2.  Age

This little known fact is one that can significantly impact your prospect or customer base. Understanding age and how color influences decisions is important if your business focuses on a specific age group.

According to research, green is a color that is more acceptable to people up to about 50 where as orange is a color that, as a person ages, is generally not preferred.   Additionally, as people age, the darker and strong the color, the more it is not desired.  Blue is consistently acceptable and preferred across all age groups.

If you are marketing to baby boomers, be sure to know what colors to fully leverage and which to stay away from.

Baby Boomer Image courtesy of goinglikesixty.com

Baby Boomer Image courtesy of goinglikesixty.com

3.  Psychological Impact of Color

It is true, colors bring on emotion.  Different colors mean different things.  Silver for example, brings about the emotion of calmness and if more on the gray side, it can bring about an emotional response of security, modesty or even intelligence.  Red in China is a sign of happiness and vitality.  When sending flowers to a family who is grieving and close to their Asian culture, be sure to send flowers that do not contain red.

For more information on the meaning of color, what emotions they evoke and how to use color, check out Using Color to Influence Buyer Behavior.

Takeaways:  Do your homework.  Look at what other companies have done and take cues from them.  Hire professionals who know about localization and understand how color can influence prospects and existing customers.