How Emotions Make Decisions – Part 1

Hi, my name is Viktorija and I am the new intern here at The Dairy. I was recommended to The Dairy by Nottingham Trent University and will be working for the business across a broad range of tasks for the coming months.

Key facts about me:

  • I am Russian (Not always in a rush, however.)
  • I have a cat
  • I love horror things
  • I moved here for the education
  • I have a BA in Fashion Communication and Promotion
  • I love all things publishing, typography and Fashion
  • When I grow up I will have 5 dogs and a pygmy goat

But enough about me.

While at university, and, frankly, to this day, I have always been interested in sensory marketing. The psychology and emotional responsiveness is fascinating.

A little bit of background.

Sensory marketing is a mix of “techniques that aim to seduce the consumer by using his senses to influence his feelings and behaviour.” (American Marketing Association, Anon). Now some people might be thinking that emotions have nothing to do with making a purchase, however, emotions are the drivers of our daily consumerism.

It all started in post-war US, in the 1920s, when the economy transitioned from wartime production to peacetime production. Society’s interest shifted from needs to wants and the population had more time to spend on leisure and more means to spend on material goods. Up until this point, marketing was regarded as simple – show the product, explain attributes, offer to people. But in the age of mass production, this technique was no longer effective (Sullivan).

This was an opportunity for E. Bernays to show his potential. Knowing the power of propaganda during wartime, his ambition was to use it in a time of peace. Being a nephew of Sigmund Freud, he was familiar with human psychology. “While Freud believed civilisation was an over-rated and ill-equipped attempt to try to tame certain base impulses, Bernays saw them as a “powerful opportunity for American industry to connect with their target customers as they never had before.” (Forde). Bernays figured how to tap into people’s emotions and aspirations.

“People act on information. But they act much more stronger if you can connect with them on a very deep and more unconscious level.”
(Bernays, 1928). To this day, this is the core essence of marketing and selling (Lauzon, 2015).

Consumers today are far more susceptible to massive amounts of information and behavioural persuasion than they were 50 years ago. Knowing this, retailers and marketers hold a great power and an even greater responsibility over their actions. Whether or not this power will be used for good or personal profit, that’s a different question.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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