Aim for the Heart Not the Head

Have you ever tried to get someone to change their opinion by presenting a rational argument? How did that work out for you? Outside of scientific arenas, I do not think this works very well at all.

Professional marketers and psychologists know people make decisions emotionally and then use reason to rationalize them.

Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence”, puts it this way,

“Our emotional mind will harness the rational mind to its purposes, for our feelings and reactions– rationalizations– justifying them in terms of the present moment, without realizing the influence of our emotional memory.”

As decision makers and consumers we are at a disadvantage, the influence of our emotions, once we’ve come up with our rationalizations, fades from our recollection.

This is why most people when they learn about this phenomenon respond in protest, “That’s not me. I make decisions based on the Facts.” No one does. That’s not how our brain works.

It’s why science has been developed as a discipline.

It’s an external framework that forces humans to arrive at conclusions based on evidence – not something we do naturally.

However as marketers this works to our advantage if we recognize it and use it.

Evoke emotion first, then give reasons to support the feelings.

This isn’t really manipulation – though at first it can sound like it. It is just good communication. It’s communicating in a way that is natural for humans. Feelings matter.

In fact when we are forced to accept a point of view that upsets us, based only on overwhelming reason, we feel resentful.

And in truth, after the age of four or five, our sense of will is so strong we will likely never submit ourselves to accepting any position that is forced upon us by reason alone, especially when it clashes with our sense of the world.

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