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Assuming this question relates to the importance of facts and emotions in the purchase process, this represents a fantastic question.

What is the relative importance of facts (data) and emotions (feelings) in deciding to make a purchase and which brand to buy?

Unfortunately, there is no concrete or absolute answer to this question, but the following points are most certainly relevant.

  1. The human brain is complex

Decision making in the brand can involve one or more of three parts. The brain stem or reptilian brain which automates functions, the limbic system or emotional centre of the brain, and the neocortex or logical part of the brain. According to neuroscience, the logical neocortex is responsible for only 20% of decisions.

  1. It varies according to the product

Some products are more about emotions, and other products are more about facts. When you buy a laptop, it might be more about facts and figures. When you buy a new suit, it might be more about emotions – or what you do and do not like. We buy computers we need, and we buy the clothes we like.

  1. It can depend on timing

Emotions can be more important at the start of a process while facts become more important at the end of the process. BMW relies heavily on emotions to get people to connect with their brand and provides facts afterwards to help them rationalise their purchase.

  1. It can depend on the stage in the purchase process

You might be buying a new smartphone because you need it, while you might decide to buy Apple because you relate to the brand. You might decide on a design of a house on emotions, but the final builder on the basis or price or capacity to deliver on time.

  1. Without emotion, facts may not matter

A road safety campaign educating teens about the dangers of texting while driving did not affect behaviour in the medium term. However, after being confronted by a teen nearly killed by a texting driver, the subjects were more receptive to the educational messages, and their behaviour changed.

  1. Emotions can blind us to facts

Research suggests that human beings make decisions about the people they meet within 30 seconds of meeting them. Any facts subsequently revealed are viewed in the light of this initial decision. This is common.

  1. Emotions, not facts, tend to bind us to a brand

Purchases are very often made on the basis of facts, but brands tend to be all about emotions. I often ask people why they have an Apple iPhone (like me), and they say they like Apple. Interestingly, very few know how it differs from the Samsung which is $200 cheaper.

  1. Facts can be used to justify

When the husband gets home with a new golf club and his wife asks why he spent $300 on a club not significantly different from two others he owns – the husband tries to blind his wife with science, listing the facts that make it a ‘must’ for a better game. However, that is not why he purchased it, and he knows it.

  1. Both facts and emotions are important

In the final analysis, both facts and emotions are important and while their relative importance may vary through the purchase process, according to the product, depending on the individual, and depending on the strategy – a sound marketing or branding strategy will address both.

 

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