How Brands Get People to Care. And How Yours Can, Too.

How Brands Get People to Care. And How Yours Can, Too.

What does the commercial’s imagery have to do with automobile features? While emotional connection won’t always overcome vast differences in quality or price, having an emotional bond with your customers can be just enough to tip the scales in your favor. You don’t have to be a billion-dollar brand to reap the benefits of this phenomenon. Here are three science-backed ways to help spark that emotional connection with your customers: 1. Tell stories. By featuring dogs prominently -- sometimes as the hero of its stories -- Subaru speaks its customers' language. Glossier is just such a company that leads with its values. The brand also strives to make customers feel they’re in the driver’s seat; their opinions and feedback help to shape new product launches. Global agency C Space conducted a three-year study of close to 65,000 consumers and found evidence supporting the notion that brands that act human outperform those that don’t. That makes sense: Humans connect more easily with something that feels … well, human.

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You know all those Subaru commercials starring, um, dogs? There’s a good reason for that.

How Brands Get People to Care. And How Yours Can, Too.

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As anyone with even a passing familiarity with car commercials knows, major advertisers play heavily on emotion. Take the Subaru Forester commercial released earlier this month. While the key product takeaways are that the Forester is roomy, trustworthy and long-lasting, the ad doesn’t waste much time getting into specifics.

Instead, it takes us on a journey: We’re led by the family dog through scenes of a family’s special moments over the years. What does the commercial’s imagery have to do with automobile features? Not much. What does it have to do with our purchasing habits? Everything.

As consumers, we’ve come to expect that advertising will play to our emotions — but advertisers aren’t doing this only to be noticed or remembered among an endless sea of ads. They’re doing this because emotion is a key driver of decision-making. In fact, most of our decisions as consumers come down to more than just product features or price.

There’s scientific evidence behind that statement: Research conducted by Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman demonstrated that up to 95 percent of purchasing decisions may be formed in the subconscious mind. This is the part of the brain where logic takes a back seat and emotion grabs the wheel.

Additionally, a study published in the scientific journal Neuron showed that exposure to certain brand images (for the study’s purposes, the brands Coke and Pepsi) will light up the part of the brain responsible for emotion, memory and motivation.

While emotional connection won’t always overcome vast differences in quality or price, having an emotional bond with your customers can be just enough to tip the scales in your favor. You don’t have to be a billion-dollar brand to reap the benefits of this phenomenon.

So, what can you as a business owner do differently? For one thing, you can stop focusing just on your product’s features and benefits that could appeal to your customer’s rational mind. Because these factors are not enough. If you want people, to buy, your task is to make them feel something.

How do you do that? Here are three science-backed ways to help spark that emotional connection with your customers:

1. Tell stories.

Parents and teachers know that storytelling is a great way to help kids absorb a lesson, but it’s just as effective a tool for adults. In fact, stories are one of the best ways to tap into the part of our mind that inspires connection, conversation and, ultimately, action.

Not only do stories help us remember and internalize facts and ideas, but they serve as…

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