About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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November 21, 2003

Understand Emotions, Become Profitable

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Business Pundit points to "Welcome to The Feelings Economy" which explains that "in an oversupplied economy, customer feelings drive purchase decisions and profitability....Your new imperative is to assess and appeal to your customers’ feelings—period. Feelings are the basis for all profit generating consumption in a market at the mercy of customer choice. Focus on feelings, especially the subtle ones that customers themselves cannot articulate."

I agree with the writers up to this point, but then they make a fatal flaw by trying to distinguish emotions from feelings.

"For our purposes, feelings are not the same as emotions. Rather, “feelings” refers to a very specific quality: pleasantness, unpleasantness, or neutrality in an experience. Pleasant feelings—excitement, fun, reward, increased self-esteem, etc.—habitually condition desire. Unpleasant feelings—pain, effort required, decreased self-esteem, etc.—condition aversion. And neutral feelings condition forgetfulness. Given this definition, the purpose of every business in an oversupplied market should be to increase customers’ pleasant feelings while minimizing their unpleasant ones."

As Paul Zak has mentioned, "emotions play a critical role in decision making" (see Neurobiology of Trust), and I've detailed in Emotions and Neurotechnology and The Future is Emotional Economics, understanding the emotional motivation behind purchase making decisions is critical to long-term success.

Why not "feelings" as described above? Because people always overestimate the happiness a product will bring them (see Forecasting Happiness) and if you oversell the "end feeling" all you will ultimately create is disillusionment and dissatisfaction, not long-term loyalty. The critical issue for brand management and profitability comes from satisfying your customers emotional needs so that they trust your brand and will continue to come back.

Comments (1) | Category: Neuromarketing


1. coolmel on November 24, 2003 11:54 AM writes...

speaking of profitable, Neurotech Reports Releases New Market Projections Through 2008

the Neurotech Wave is in full motion ;)

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