One of the reasons marketing is so challenging is that everyone really has two brains stuck inside their heads – the right brain and the left brain. The left brain is where we do our critical and analytical thinking, while the right brain is where we make decisions based on what just feels right.
In my experience doing thousands of deals with individuals over the past 7 years, I’d say the population is about evenly split between those who think mostly with their right brains and those mostly influenced by their left brain.
While one side usually dominates, most of us use both. So as marketers we have to make sure that our messaging and branding is set up to focus on both rational and emotional decision making. Otherwise, we risk losing sales and leaving money on the table.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you sell life insurance. The right brain will respond to appeals based on emotion, so naturally you’d address how having insurance protection would make you feel – the peace of mind of knowing that your family is protected in the event the unthinkable happens.
You might make a similar presentation to a left-brained person, but you’d want to make sure you emphasize the logical – demonstrating the rational and financial value of an insurance policy, perhaps presenting its price in terms of the protection costing “just a few dollars per day.” In fact, most of the time you see advertising for life insurance, you’ll notice appeals to both the left and right brain.
You can see another example in how GEICO sells auto insurance. The core message of its TV spots is that if you call, “in 15 minutes, you could save 15% on car insurance.” That’s certainly a logical left-brain appeal. But who sells you that message? It’s that lovable gecko with the British accent. He’s entertaining and amusing – and that appeals to the right brain desire to do business with those who make us feel good.
All of your marketing programs begin with your branding platform. When you create it, make sure it addressed both left- and right-brain characteristics. Make a list of all of the attributes of your products. Then see if you can find both a logical and an emotional appeal you can make to sell those attributes.
That way, you’ll be set up to appeal to everyone – those who are mostly logical and those who tend to make decisions emotionally.
These concepts aren’t new. Aristotle said as much thousands of years ago when he noted that the art of rhetoric must encompass both the rational and emotional in order to be successful. So make sure you address both the left and right brain when you define your brand. Aristotle would be proud of you – and I will be, too.