We recently came across a very interesting article about how the brain works in marketing, and wanted to share it with you.

Although it might seem like we feel hundreds of different emotions daily, it’s really much simpler than that. In fact, we only really have four ‘basic’ emotions – happy, sad, afraid/surprised and angry/disgusted. These emotions combine in various ways to create a whole array of feelings. Robert Plutchik’s famous ‘wheel of emotions’ shows just a handful:


These feelings, when used for marketing purposes, can create different consumer responses.

Happiness has been found to be the main driver of social media sharing. Now, we don’t know if this is just a coincidence, but take a look at two of the most retweeted images on Twitter:

Barack Obama hugging his wife Michelle, and the Ellen Degeneres ‘selfie’ photo.

It could just be that these photos contain people we look up to and admire, but we think that the fact they’re looking particularly happy could have something to do with it.

Jonah Berger, Professor of Marketing at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School also found that an article was more likely to become viral the more positive it was.

Sadness in marketing allows us to connect and empathise with the brand.

Advertisers use puppies in toilet paper campaigns like the Andrex advert, as these images cause our brains to release oxytocin – a hormone that promotes connection to empathy – to build consumer trust in a product or brand, and as a result increase consumer loyalty and a rise in sales.

Fear not only produces a fight or flight response, but according to a published study in The Journal of Consumer Research, people who felt fearful whilst watching a film felt a greater connection with a present brand than those who watched a sad, happy or exciting film. This is because people want to bond with others to help them cope with fear, but the study suggested that if friends weren’t present, consumers created an increased emotional attachment with a brand that happened to be on hand.

When we are angry or disgusted, we become much more stubborn. This can have an impact on our views and beliefs, as one study found that negative comments on an online post resulted in viewers taking a stronger opinion to the content of the article. This may be something for brands to take into consideration when marketing their products.

Marketers are known for toying with our emotions to create a response, and get consumers talking about their products or services. If you’d like us to get creative with marketing for your company, get in touch.

Posted by: LucyBigCat on