Buyologists say that a consumer is emotion-driven. Is this just a gut feeling or has it anything to do with real biology?

Thanks to Antonio Damasio for giving the world the fabulous idea of Somatic Markers. A visual or verbal cue used in communication arouses an emotion in a person that could be good or bad. Let’s assume for our understanding that a product creates a positive emotion in a person. An emotion is a physical and mental experience. It brings about a change in heartbeat, the flow of neurotransmitters, triggering of the endocrine system and changes in muscle tone, and all these lead to a pleasant mental state. It can be real, experienced through your senses, or imagined by your mind, or to simply put it in a neuroscientific lingo, it could be through the ‘body-loop’ when it’s sensory or through the ‘as-if-body-loop’ when it’s imagined. Each emotion linked to a product/service leaves a Unique Neural Fingerprint (UNF) in your network, which is reinforced through consistent and progressively positive experiences.

The job of the best brand communication strategist is to understand this while coding the verbal and visual cues. We see that most brands have used either reward or fear, the two often-used categories, to consciously etch brand fingerprints in the consumer’s neural network. When a toothpaste package carries a line like “Modern research informs us that gum-infections are connected with cardiac disorders and stroke”, we have every reason to think that the brand communication strategist is trying to use the ‘fear-factor’ to leave a lasting neural fingerprint by invoking a consumer’s survival instincts.

In short, if you are in the business of brand consulting, you are in the business of configuring cues to create lasting emotional impressions through leaving Unique Neural Fingerprints (UNF) or Somatic Markers.