Baby don’t cry: How Customers use their emotions to decide.

For a long time, businesses have been measuring the rational factors involved in decision-making to more effectively get customers to purchase their brand… but what about the emotional side of decision-making?

According to Daniel Kahneman’s popular book Thinking Fast & Slow, there are two systems we use to make decisions…

  • System 1 thinking – fast, intuitive, emotional response. Normally based on our implicit memory.
  • System 2 thinking – slow, conscious, rational response. Relies on our explicit memory.

While we often like to think that we make rational purchase decisions, this is often not the case, as our System 1 thinking (the emotional system) is much faster and requires less mental exertion. This is because of the shortcuts that our brain subconsciously forms, by drawing out meaning/patterns from past experiences (called heuristics).

For example, when you see a stop sign on the street while driving, you don’t have to read the word on the sign; you simply stop because you already know that is what the sign means. It’s the same with brands.

When System 1 thinking is involved, it’s not enough to ask your customers why they buy your product or service – chances are they will post-rationalise, because you are asking them to justify an emotional decision through rational means.

Instead, non-verbal expressions of their purchase intent, like a mood board, are more likely to give an accurate indication of the emotional reasons for purchase. While this may not return explicit data or patterns, it does give us a sense of the implicit motivations of customers, which can be just as (or as proved recently, more) powerful.

We’ve helped plenty of our Clients work out how they can capitalise on emotional decision making. Have a look at some of our case studies or get in touch.

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