Marketers’ dilemma – Appealing to the right brain or left brain?

Aarti Iyer, Marketing Head, Unibic Foods, presents the eternal marketer’s dilemma – whether to go for the jugular with a product-centric drive or to offer an emotional hook that would evoke the right stimulus in a consumer. 

Product v/s Emotion, it is most definitely not one versus the other, they go hand-in-hand even if it is extremely product centric when it comes to brand communications. For a brand to communicate its product features, it has to find a way to register in consumers’ minds. This applies for a hardcore product driven campaign as well. And, there is an underlying emotional hook that a marketer has to garner to evoke the right stimulus in a consumer. It could either be a ‘superior product claim’ that talks to those who want quality or be an ‘offer driven’ message that focusses on those who only seek value and so-on & so-forth. So, a marketer has to find a way out to relay the messages in an effective manner to get the desired response.  

Emotions are tactfully used to promote a product or service from the time people started selling. This dates back to centuries and centuries – from the way people started trading in the olden days to how it was used to sell a political propaganda as seen as proof during the Egyptian civilization. A person with a better tactic to make his or her claim heard better gets an upper hand over others. 

Messages have always been cleverly used to connect a chord with a consumer. Because, people only see or hear what they want to see or hear. And, to ensure it captivates them, you have to really understand the psyche well so you can use the right emotions to evoke the right responses in them. This is evident through the ages in all forms of promotions – one can witness this trait from the most prominent ads during the early 1900s, when the advertisement era actually started to the fictional ones made in a TV series like ‘Better Call Saul’. Actually, ads in ‘Better Call Saul’ are my favourite examples. I like them because they show a deeper insight on how you can make a communication effective by understanding the environment around you – figuring out what really is happening and how do I make use of it address or gain attention. An example is how the lead character skilfully uses real people and real people’s emotion for his own claim-to-fame is beyond devious and memorable. But, it just tells you how one gets bogged down by emotions and what would be the result of it if you make that right connection at the right time. 

Example: Saul creates a scenario where he is seen as a hero! And, eventually uses it to gain eyeballs and build his business.

Having said that, hard-core emotional routes use stories to connect and bond with a consumer. So, there are different ways to use emotions to sell a product or service. Be it the ones that gives you a goose-flesh moment or the ones that simply drive home the message by understanding the need state.  But it is important that it is intertwined to make the product desirable! 

This applies to product development as well. Product innovators find a way to answer somebody’s needs at the moment or to address a future need. This applies to even big time scientific achievements. Humans are curious, they like to constantly innovate or find answers for newer and better things. Understanding people and their needs have always helped in developing products that makes people’s lives easier. One of the best examples that come to my mind would be the invention of wheels that really changed the history in many ways. Think the first known invention dates back to 3500 BC (Mesopotamian Civilization or the Bronze Age). Although it was originally used by potters, it later became a great transporting device that we all take for granted now. So, it clearly indicates how people were trying to innovate based on needs ever since we started moving on top-of-the-food-chain. What started then has made people constantly innovate and create ever since. Be it the innovation of computers that has made some drastic changes to humans in the recent past or the industrial revolution in the 1900s. Each and every innovation so far has emotionally connected with every single person some way or the other. 

Whether you innovate to succeed or make life easier or take people to the future, you need to figure out – why would people want your product, why would they use it and how often would they be using it? This ties down to one thing – understanding them. Now, if you want to sell it, you need to figure out; why am I different, why would they need me and how do I communicate and invoke the right triggers to get their attention. All these, I feel, are connected to human emotions. To sum it up, emotions do play a vital role in putting a point across.


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