Don’t Sell Emotions. You Will Hurt Your Brand.

by John Murinye

Gunvosta, a middle-aged woman in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe joined the community games — created to showcase authentic Zimbabwe and improve our communities’ brand image. Gunvosta had hopes of winning the grand prize of US$50. Why? To pay for her children’s extra lessons. Gunvosta is a single mother who juggles self-employment and raising 3 children.

That story is emotional and shows how a brand’s values are expressed through their activities.

Emotions are powerful, there is no questioning that. And yes, human beings, for the most part, make “initial” decisions based on emotion. Studies have shown that up to 90% of decisions we make, are influenced by emotions and our subconscious mind.

With that, comes the sinister marketer’s haven, mantra and recent craze: Sell Emotions Not Products. This is a drastically flawed philosophy — that will, in the long-run, hurt your brand image and reputation.

Granted, some understand this to mean, don’t focus on the features of your product. Communicate the value and benefits. But not every brand understand does this.

What these marketers and brands don’t account for is a phenomenon called Buyer’s Remorse. This is when we feel a sense of regret after having made a purchase. Some of these purchases are impulsive, as a result of brands selling through the FOMO [fear of missing out], urgency and outright manipulation.

Often times, our emotions are fluid. You may feel one way today, and another tomorrow. The point of sale, emotional state, may have been under certain conditions. For example, FOMO. Your close circle of friends might have just purchased the same product. You don’t want to miss out. But it may not be really your desired purchase. Buyer’s remorse will kick in inevitably.

Don’t Do This

In the age of abundant data, many have seen this as an excuse to exploit and manipulate people’s emotions. Many are obsessed with gimmicks and fads; Sell Emotions Not Products. Whatever is the hottest and latest trend of the day — in many instances, without clear strategic thinking nor consideration of the outcomes. It’s disingenuous.

People will eventually see through it. Your brand will lose trust and you will tarnish your brand reputation. This is why the saying goes: People don’t want to be sold to. It’s because of sinister behaviours like these.

Do this instead…

Stories give context to values. In other words, story-telling helps your audience make sense of your values because they are shared within a relatable and understandable structure. What brands need to first figure out — is who they are.

Ever other week, I receive an email from some of our audience admiring our perceived culture. It’s more than a show. How we present in our ZaruraCasts, is who we actually are. You see, without effort, we are connecting with our desired audience and making an impact.

Understand what your brand truly values. Capture that in a simple and clear way. Then share your brand story along with your values — through your products and services.

Don’t lie. Manipulate. Distort. Or Cheat. Be authentic. Be honest.

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