Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs tells us we are motivated to satisfy our basic needs first (food, shelter, clothing), before we seek to obtain satisfaction for social, intellectual and spiritual needs.
A similar hierarchy of emotional values exists. As incoming information from web and blog pages enters the brain and is processed, our emotional centers assign values to offers.
Brain science, along with studies on decision making from behavioral economics, has shown that people often don’t use logical reasoning. Instead they go with their gut reactions. They make decisions based on feelings.
Later, when that leads to a buying decision, people justify their actions with rational logic and intellectual “alibis.”
At the lowest level, people have a desire for security. The next thing they seek is comfort. At the top of the ladder, people will pay the most to satisfy a desire to experience pleasure.
Although these values are all emotional, rationality plays a part. Online, an offer must work properly for consumers to feel secure. A marketing offer also provides comfort through ease of purchase, and also by providing reasons to defend the purchase to friends and family. But rationality is never the deciding factor.
At the top of the pyramid, rationality completely takes a back seat to emotional pleasure and indulgence. This is where content marketers employ every means possible to appeal to the senses, the thrill of the aesthetic beauty and the joy of being immersed in the experience being offered. This is where greater differentiation and profitability become evident.
At the top of this ladder, all rationality drops by the way side as the prospect/reader/visitor lets themselves become immersed in a pseudo-experience of the product/service/offer. This is where content creation prowess must do everything possible to provide a virtual pleasure experience using:
- Faces of people enjoying the offer
- Stories of clients/cases/examples
- Metaphors and analogies
- Quotes and testimonials
- Persuasion triggers and emotional hot buttons
It’s no longer enough to have a unique selling proposition. According to Dan Hill in Emotionomics, companies must develop a unique emotional value proposition to provide emotional value to their consumers. This is key to success.
The only way to differentiate a company’s products and services is through adding emotional value. Otherwise, your offers will not stand out above the crowd in an increasingly commoditized world.
You might well ask:
- How do I discover and offer emotional value to my target audience?
- In what ways can I assure readers and visitors that my company will provide security and comfort… and pleasure?
These are crucial questions to be answered as you create content that appeals to emotions.