Emotions and customer behavior


In spite of our precarious financial situation, many people have a pet. How do we end up with such a solution, an extra cost? Let us offer you an example on how it worked in one family.

The mother of our example family decided to buy a pet, a puppy. She was very conscious of her lower income in the future. She knew that she is going to study at a university of applied sciences and that will cause the lower incomes. She had to argue her decision to the family as follows: 1) with a dog her regular outdoor-activity will rise; 2)the house will be never empty when they have a pet; 3) a dog will offer them a sense of security, loyalty and trustworthy, and,  last but not least, 4) being a pet-owner was her long-term dream.  A surprising counter-argument against taking a puppy come from the family’s children: who is going to baby-sit the puppy during the family’s vacation? The CFO (father) of our example family announced that the expected life time for the dog will cost 100 €/year. And that will be 6 cents/family member/day. The CFO asked children the following: “Can you tell us what else could we purchase that cheap?”

We also buy feelings. We like travelling, getting new experiences and also buy courses like mindfulness, yoga etc. When our ego identity and self-image are in balance we don’t have to buy things to get happiness. We are able to feel all kinds of emotions which makes us think that less is more. That is a big challenge for marketing and selling.

More heart than intellect

People will forget what you have done or said but they will never forget how you made them feel. This is how American poet Maya Angelou sums up an old truth.

Feelings glue people together and are always behind major acts. Feeling is the strongest link between a brand and a consumer. By comparing different brands, emotional significance can easily be noticed. Brands which are in the same product category fulfill various needs and appeal to different emotions in users.

Today, a thriving product must have a genuine access to the people. A strong connection is based on understanding and respecting people’s needs and attitudes.  The consumer’s choice is always based on the feeling. When the consumer and the brand have a strong emotional bond, the consumer makes his/her purchasing decision in a fraction of time needed otherwise.

Emotional and rational thinking take place in different parts of brain. If we think about our example family, what parts of the brain do you think the children, the mother and the father used? It’s as if we have two types of brains and two different kinds of intelligence: rational and emotional.  A person’s success depends on them both.

Price can´t be compared to the benefits of the product

Outi Somervuori studied in her dissertation the psychology behind the consumer’s pricing behavior and tried to understand inconsistent decisions between the consumers and the factors that affect to purchase decision.

A sharp consumer compares prices but we can’t  forget the effect of emotions. A purchase decision is affected by many factors. The image that the price of the product generates to the buyer and the feeling generated from the image affect more to the purchase decision than the exact price.

Most of us shop almost every day. Sometimes our purchases seem to make sense and sometimes we find ourselves acting irrationally. We also buy a product and not even check its price. Sometimes we are ready go through a lot of effort to achieve even small saving. Sometimes, like in our example family, by dividing the price in smaller units, you will get the feeling that you have done an excellent decision. What is your way to do?

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4 Responses to Emotions and customer behavior

  1. martsa74 says:

    I´m after discounts. I hardly ever buy clothes with normal price. Last month I bought leather winter boots with high heels. Couse I didn´t need them right away, I looked for this pair almost hole winter; they had to fit perfectly and would not cost much (i.e. there had to be a discount label on them.). And I got ‘plussa-pisteet’ too 😉

  2. pelai2 says:

    Nicely done. You won the children´s opposition only by 6 cents. I think advertisers use this kind of methods more and more, just 6 €/month for life-insurance, start saving in mutual funds only 30 €/month etc.

  3. tertturuu says:

    In our family everything just happened contrary to this example. My daughter’s godmother died and her cat “Anastasia” was left homeless. When thinking about what to do with her our family suddenly noticed that this “Tassi” (= a pet name) has no other familiar people than we. So we just had to take care of her ourselves in our home. I myself had always been against any pet in our house while our daughter had been dreaming of any possible pet she could take care of. This Tassi has now settled quite well in our house ; our daughter is usually looking after Tassi and I sometimes strike Tassi and she purrs to me….Now nobody remembers all the good reasons for not buying a pet or what are the expenses…>)

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