The Art of the Emotional Buy

The Art of the Emotional Buy

Art of the Emotional BuyIn his book, Descartes Error, Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, argues that emotion is a necessary ingredient to almost all decisions. When we are confronted with a decision, emotions from previous, related experiences affix values to the options we are considering. These emotions create preferences, which lead to our decision.

MRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).

A nationally advertised brand has power in the marketplace because it creates an emotional connection to the consumer. A brand is nothing more than a mental representation of a product in the consumer’s mind. If the representation consists only of the product’s attributes, features, and other information, there are no emotional links to influence consumer preference and action. The richer the emotional content of a brand’s mental representation, the more likely the consumer will be a loyal user. Research reveals that consumers perceive the same type of personality characteristics in brands as they do in other people. Brands like Coca Cola appeal to our emotions with their “share a Coke and a smile,” campaigns, and even by putting people’s names on the Coke cans.

Art of the Emotional BuyBut for consumers, perhaps the most important characteristic of emotions is that they push us toward action. In response to an emotion, humans are compelled to do something. In a physical confrontation, fear forces us to chose between “fight or flight” to insure our self-preservation. In our daily social confrontations, insecurity may cause us to buy the latest iPhone to support our positive self-identity.

According to a study from the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, we have four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. In fact, studies show that emotional ad copy is doubly as effective as rational ad copy that appealed to the intellect only.

But what emotions will make someone pull out a credit card? And how do you spark these emotions with your marketing campaigns and your branding? The researchers at Hubspot claim there are 10 critical emotions to evoke when crafting your marketing and sales copy. This goes for the copy on your website, on your brochures, on your sales sheets and even your tagline. From Hubspot, here are those 10 emotions:

  1. Fear—most often this is fear of loss or fear of being left behind.
  2. Guilt—this is especially effective in fundraising campaigns.
  3. Trust—no gimmicks or hidden costs.
  4. Value—this is the best deal you’ll ever get!
  5. Belonging—see what everyone is talking about!
  6. Competition—be the envy of the neighborhood.
  7. Instant gratification—stop worrying today.
  8. Leadership—be the first of your friends to own one of these.
  9. Trendsetting—your favorite celebrity is using this product.
  10. Time—clean your oven in half the time.


Art of the Emotional BuyWhen it comes to those who are shopping online in particular there are some catch phrases that Hubspot’s research says work like a charm. These include:

  1. Free shipping
  2. Free returns
  3. Instore return options
  4. Use in store coupons online
  5. Faster shipping
  6. In store pickup
  7. Better selection online


If you are struggling to come up with ad copy or web copy, keep some of these emotion-evoking words in mind: Love, new, you, save, guarantee, results, proven, discover, safety, health.

Looking for a marketing company who knows all the right emotional triggers to hit when putting together your Web copy and other marketing materials? Give us a call at Visitivity Inc. 239-878-4641 and put emotions to work for you.

Jeff Clapp