In your opinion, what kind of movies do you think will instantly connect with everyone? Had you Googled the top 50 grossing movies of all time, you would have found that more than 96% are fairy tales or fantasy epics. Why do you think that is? Why is it that a movie that is packed with logic and reason failing to connect with a wider audience? The reason is simple, man is not a reasonable being.
We constantly like to take leaps of faith. “I can definitely handle another drink”, “This time, it is love!”, “I NEED these shoes” – how many times do we utter these sentences in our lives and later regret it? I think we constantly struggle with the good sense that instinct has instilled in us, and the sixth sense that screws us over.
One of the first marketing lessons that you learn is that depending on the involvement of purchase you make appeals to different parts of your brain. Like if it a packet of detergent, the involvement is low – the decision making is said to be “peripheral”. Therefore, you expose the consumer to ads constantly so that familiarity favors purchase. No reasoning required here, just keep showing them your face.
On the other hand, a house or a car is an involved purchase. Therefore, marketers come up with complicated spec sheets and other calculations to aid purchase. But tell me honestly, what really tips off the purchase 80% of the time? That the house has a bigger bathroom that you love, or that the interest rates are just right for you to finish the loan 6 months in advance. Really.
How we use reason
Then again, you cannot ditch appealing to the reasonable part of the brain (something that I lack). This is because, we all use reason to back up our decisions. We make emotional decisions and rationalize it. Realization of this profound truth was probably a mile stone in my professional and personal life. Because I know that however long my pros and cons list is, there will be one item that is not on the list that is actually driving my actions. I know it, but I wont admit it. It is made of excuses, like the ones we tell ourselves in the mornings trying to do life with a bad hangover. You know, the moments that you promise yourself that you will never drink again?
What is amazing is that, at the end of that 2 minute conversation with myself I am convinced that I did what I for solid reasons, and that I would do it again.
To repeat anything in life, we have usually have a feedback mechanism installed in our brain. Well, usually. We do something, wait for results and depending on the ensuing reward or punishment, we learn. If we are rewarded then it is a positive reinforcement to our actions, if we are punished, then it is a negative reinforcement.
More than ever, today we all evaluate our decisions constantly in relation to our peers using the internet. If you are facing a problem, you immediately Google it to be reassured that you are not alone in this world. 99% of the time, you are not. Google is a weird place (If you can call it a place, I honestly don’t know what it is at this point). Which is why Social Media is a great place to reassure your customers. If a customer posts a picture of their lives with your product playing an important part in, and also receives likes and comments (positive reinforcement) – this free advertisement in its purest form.
Heart first, Head later.
So whenever you set out to reason with the customer, remember to appeal to the heart, as it controls the wallet. Kevin Roberts’ Lovemarks is so far my bible for Brand Marketing. His arguments are so unwavering and exaggerated that you just get invested. The premise that your product should be a life or death matter really puts things into perspective and helps to make decisions.
Relate-able, with a sprinkle of Magic
While telling brand stories, it is therefore prudent to create relate-able stories that have an element of Magic in them. Something that can be loved and dreamed about. My go-to example in this case is Maersk. How boring can your business be to promote if you are shipping company? Even in that people found Magic. In this case, it was the mystical aspect of the ocean. Someone while going through the old files of the company came across pictures of the ocean taken by their crew over the years. Immediately struck by the magnificence of big blue, he decided share them with the rest of the world. Result, they have 2.4 million followers on Facebook. Later the company started encouraging others to share their spottings of Maersk vessels and that led to the generation of large amounts of user-generated content. Not just that, people started taking notice of the company, and falling in love. However much the company would have tried to explain what they did to people, the connect would not have happened. For hearts to connect, the reason needs to be instinctive and basic.
The challenge lies in identifying your element of Magic, and romanticizing it. Which takes me back to my example of movies. How do they do it? How do they know what makes our heartstrings tug?