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It’s time we got in touch with our emotions

Published under Retail , Emotions , Experience
Written by Tobin Sparrow

Those that know me, know I’ve been going on about customer emotions and their impact on defining consumer behaviour for some time now…  To start, let me highlight this with two examples:

Apple probably doesn’t have the best phones on the market, but people queue outside stores to buy newly launched iPhones.  Emotional connections create stronger brand relationships than simply being satisfied… who queues for newly launched handsets from other brands that you might purchase from, based on their functional merits?

Why do I stay with my bank when it’s easier than ever to change current accounts?  If I’m honest, it’s probably because I can have a photo of my children on my debit card rather than any rational financial reasoning, and I’m not about to change banks when I get a pang of emotion each time I open my wallet and see two smiley little faces.

So, what I’m saying is that emotions frequently override rational reasoning when making consumer choices.

All this becomes increasingly important as our high streets evolve from the functional to the experiential in the battle against online retail.  Emotional triggers must be considered when new store initiatives and layouts are introduced, especially when most rational reasoning points towards making an online purchase.

High-end fashion has led the way by creating experiences that have increased store footfall, loyalty and dwell times; including Ralph’s Coffee Shop (Ralph Lauren), Thomas’s Café (Burberry), and even a gentleman’s club style gin bar (Hackett).  But this is no longer restricted to the exclusive… fulfilling a similar purpose; Primark have opened Disney and Central Perk themed cafés in flagship stores.  A generic café isn’t going to have the same behavioural impact as a café that fits with the brand and builds stronger relationships though key emotional triggers.

Therefore, given the importance of generating positive emotions, why do we not tend to measure emotion alongside more typical KPI’s?  Rational measures should remain at the forefront of our toolkit (some elements of an experience will not generate strong emotions, but remain important), but without measuring emotion, we’re missing a big part of the picture when it comes to defining future relationships.

We’re already doing this for a number of our clients, and if you want to find out how we can help you measure emotion, then please get in touch – I’d love to tell you more about it.

Email me: [email protected]