Sense and Serotonin

Recently in response to a post by David Meerman Scott about the need to apply left and right brain thinking to content creation, I suggested in the comments that brands should apply that same approach to most aspects of marketing. As I pointed out at the time, blending right and left brain signals is critical to how brands engage with prospects and buyers because it ensures that people remain fascinated and justified as they make their way through the sales funnel.

Logic and magic.

I think most of us accept that consumers generally buy emotively and explain logically, so the ability to provide them with experiences that they enjoy and talk about, and at the same time to arm them with reasons that help them explain, to themselves and to others, what they are doing is critical.

It’s easy and tempting though to treat each hemisphere as separate: to apportion logical arguments for those who think that way or for times when they are needing to rationalise; and to ramp up the emotions and associatives for those who are more inclined to follow their hearts. We’ve tended to see them, in other words, as ideas that sit alongside each other, that co-exist, and that are accessed separately at different times, rather than as ways of thinking that are integrated.

Personally I think such a divide is too simplistic. I think the dichotomy is a construct that is convenient for marketers to believe because it allows us to build left and right-column strategies but it doesn’t actually address honestly how consumers make decisions.

Every marketer should thrive to inspire consumers to like their brand, rather than battering them with facts. At the same time, they need to qualify that emotive drive with this filter: Does it make sense for consumers to feel what the brand is asking them to feel?

The facts should exist as proof for the emotions – on the consumer’s terms. Because while the data may speak for itself to those who made the product, it cannot feel for others.

Increasingly I’m using two very simple questions to try and bridge what I’ve memed as Sense and Serotonin – and the way those questions are sequenced is critical.

The first question is one that regular readers wil know:

1. What is the most wonderful thing we want people to feel (that they don’t feel already from any of our competitors)?

It’s focused on finding what I often refer as the “unexpected value” – the thrill that the brand provides that takes people by surprise and has them coming back for more.

The second question is new – but just as interesting:

2. Where is the deepest proof that they should feel that (that they haven’t heard already from any of our competitors)?

That’s a hard one. It is about finding the “unexpected truth”, so it’s about formulating the sequence of fresh and compelling arguments that rationalises why consumers should allow themselves to feel the specific way the brand is asking them to feel.

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