Do Emotions Influence the Customer Decision-Making Process?

It might come as a surprise that emotion plays a key role during the decision-making process, but there’s plenty of research to back this up, as highlighted here.

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Ramzi Chamat / 8 Ways Media
2017-08-03 10:42:00

Decisions are forever being made by consumers when they purchase products or services. And although it’s well known that cognition plays a key role in the decision-making process, it might come as a surprise that emotion also plays a role during this process, and there’s plenty of research to back this up.

So without further ado, here are some of the highlights of this research…

The importance of emotion

Research has found that individuals who experienced brain damage to the areas of the brain associated with emotional processing find it extremely difficult to make decisions. And this doesn’t just come down to big decisions, such as buying a house or changing jobs; it affects smaller decisions too, such as what to eat for lunch.

Usually in these cases the individuals have experienced no change to their intellect or problem-solving abilities, demonstrating that their ability to make decisions cannot be explained by problems associated with logical reasoning or memory. In light of this, some researches have concluded that emotion is extremely important when it comes to making decisions.

Emotion vs. Cognition

In further research recently carried out, it was discovered that when presented with a decision that has both positive and negative evaluations, people are more likely to go with their emotional evaluation instead of their cognitive evaluation. For example, when presented with a doughnut, the positive evaluation would be ‘delicious’ or ‘delightful,’ while the negative evaluation will be ‘unhealthy’ or ‘fattening.’ In this situation, the positive evaluation is more likely to influence the decision-making process due to its emotional nature, and the individual is more likely to choose the object.

This process directly relates to consumer behaviour. When deciding whether or not you should purchase something, there is always a positive and a negative evaluation involved. So, if the consumer feels more positive emotions towards a product, they are more likely to purchase it. However, if the consumer feels more negative emotions towards the product then they are less likely to purchase it.

Emotion vs. Brands

Consumers’ emotions are also important when it comes to brands. Consumers can have very strong emotional ties with certain brands, and when brands do evoke emotions in their consumers, those emotions influence further brand related decision-making.

For example, individuals who are emotionally connected to a brand are more likely to continue to make decisions in favour of that brand, even if evidence suggests that an alternative decision would be better. This suggests that consumers who feel strongly affiliated with a brand will be more likely to forgive them if they make occasional failures, such as quality or cost issues. The conclusion we can make from this is that it’s essential for brands to focus on strengthening their ability to evoke positive emotions in their following, as this in turn will strengthen their emotional connection with their consumers.

Closing thoughts

It’s clear to see that emotion is a dominant factor in the decision-making process, particularlybetter relate to your customers through emotional marketing as this will definitely impact positively on your sales.

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