December 12, 2012

Emotion First, Then Rational Thinking


This morning I read an interesting article on Forbes.com by Kimberly Whitler linking the discipline of marketing with the study of neuroscience. She reinforces an idea from my Mind Pops post last month, tying the discipline of marketing with an understanding of how our brain process information and stimuli.

Whitler shares that our brains first react emotionally and, only then, after reacting emotionally, does it access our rational thinking. It is this ‘emotion first’ order of our brain’s processing that is likely behind our sometimes seemingly “irrational” decisions.

All marketers should remember that our brains are wired to always work this same way: emotion then rational.  'Emotion first’ processing is as relevant to B2B as to B2C marketers. because our neuroscience physiology doesn’t change just because we’re working or making decisions in our professional life.

‘Emotion first’ is why strong brands matter.  Brands influence how customers feel about our companies and our products and about buying and using our products.  ‘Emotion first’ is also why benefit and solution messaging (when executed well) tends to be most effective.  

Of course our target audiences still need marketing content with all of the facts, figures, graphs, charts, videos, comparison tables, case studies, testimonials and white papers, etc.  All of that is still necessary to address their subsequent rational thinking.  It's never "just" emotion or "just" rational -- it is always both.

Building and executing your marketing strategy thinking about your target's emotional and rational thinking will lay the best foundation to successfully influence your customer's behavior.