Emotional Brand – Why Emotions Sell Better Than Discounts


Why do people open, click and convert in response to your message? Is it the competitive price that drives their interest and engagement? Or is it something else – the elusive, indefinable IT THING that some marketers manage to grasp in their emails and that touches and engages the recipients deeper that discounts?

 What drives buying decisions?

As the latest Creston Limited “Brand Enrichment” research shows, the most important factor that drives peoples’ choices is not the monetary value; it’s actually the emotional value brands offer via their product.

The research clearly shows that it’s not only the products and services that you sell. You also offer emotions—confidence, status, the sense of belonging and, most importantly, PLEASURE—that drive almost 25% of respondents’ buying decisions.

The other 5 emotions that affect consumer choices are:


  • Confidence 17%
  • Status 14%
  • Responsibility 14%
  • Effectiveness 11%
  • Individuality 9%


Material value comes next, with impact on only 7% of respondents’ decisions.

This sheds a completely new light on how brands should construct their emails, starting with the subject line. Those including “%” “off” “free” or “$” seem no longer to be teasers strong enough to boost engagement rates.


Other factors behind buying patterns

The hierarchy of priorities is different for different demographic groups. There are no surprises here: men place higher value on status (16%) and pleasure (26%), while women are more prone to marketing addressing their sense of confidence and security (22%).


Naturally the impact of emotional values in marketing also changes with income. However, none of the researched groups (even the one with lowest income) mentioned saving money as the main factor in their purchasing decisions.


For men with yearly earnings <£15k it’s status that matters most. And for those with yearly income over £50k, it’s effectiveness.

Women <£15k value pleasure the most. For those with income over £50k, status is the most important value that comes with brand.


Emotional appeal in the real world

Do the findings of research correspond with what’s in our inboxes? Hardly at all. Most offers continue to refer to our supposed craving for super deals.



Too bad. The research shows they could achieve much better results if they addressed emotions.

Women seem to be easier to approach and “seduce”. Anything that appeals to their sense of group identity, comfort and security has a chance of grasping their interest and enthusiasm.





As research claims, men are in general more difficult to influence. Brands need to show more creativity and inventiveness to appeal to their emotions. It gets easier if they push status and pleasure buttons. Mix it with concrete examples or add a tint of challenge and you’re on the right track.






The research findings are not revolutionary – they only confirmed the commonly held truth about the forces behind buying decisions. However, they are quite striking when we’re faced with inboxes full of monotonous LAST CHANCES and SEASON FINALS.

In todays’ competitive market price is no longer the ultimate winning factor. You need to go further. Try offering peer recommendations, exclusive deals and foolproof solutions for women, or challenges, adventures, and status symbols for men. This is where the emotional connection with brand begins.

  • Terri Cooper

    Brilliant article! I wish you worked for me 🙂

  • Thanks for this Hanna,
    Understanding the differences between how men and women engage emotionally is really valuable. I will use this information for reference. Have yo heard about a new book out by Lisa Cron, “Wired for Story”, about why and how we engage with stories? Her first point is we engage primarily with our emotion – for survival! .

  • HannaAndrzejewska

    Glad you like it, that’s an interesting idea, need to get hold of the book for sure! Thanks!

  • KimBesWork

    Would love to know how this transitions into the micro-biz and SMB space. Do B2B methods give way to more personal/emotional needs as we market to small businesses…..or is economics still a strong play?

  • Randy

    Wait a sec,,, doesn’t that research speak specifically of brands?