We used to think consumers were rational agents; we now know emotions shape at least 80% of decisions.

We've therefore created our 5Drivers model, which identifies 5 emotions brands can play to.

This work has been independently validated by Bonamy Finch and shows that the better one or more of these states is targeted the more affinity consumers will have with your brand.

Each emotion is an automatic response triggered by events and which generates chemical changes in our bodies.

They mostly work at an unconscious level – ignoring this leads to unreliably over-rationalised customer feedback that can prompt ill-founded business actions.

Basic, long-hardwired need; makes brands safe, easy options

Most of the time, consumers shop on autopilot – but changes occur that heighten their alertness (think monkey sensing puma). These events trigger a shot of noradrenaline that provokes anxiety; a feeling consumers want to avoid – even the thought of it often causing fear. Retailers can win here by helping shoppers avoid these moments and allowing their lives to run smoothly.

Imbues shopping with ‘thrill of the chase’

We all know that mouth-watering moment when we see a cake and feel a deep urge to eat it. This is dopamine at play; pure pleasure that, crucially, is so potent we become addicted! The mind-set here is all about ‘I deserve to treat myself’ and retailers succeed by exciting shoppers and supplying a hit of pleasure.

Makes shoppers feel valued and in tune with something bigger

This is the emotion that allows us to form powerful bonds in hours. Oxytocin intensifies this feeling and it’s no coincidence that new mums are blessed with high levels of the hormone at the point where they need to bond fast and strong. In a less intense context a brand can play to this emotion by making customers feel in sync with it or part of a ‘bigger thing’.

Consuming consumers in your world – where they’re open to persuasion

Ever had a four-hour journey that ‘flew by' as you chatted to a friend? This is Immersion – what psychologists call a state of ‘flow’. These episodes are fostered by a gentle dose of noradrenaline that stimulates but doesn’t tip you into anxiety. Meanwhile, dopamine, the Desire hormone, supplies a rush of pleasure. Brands that evoke these ‘lost in the moment’ feelings can absorb shoppers in their world and make them feel motivated to buy rather than just window shop.

Makes customers feel released and empowered to do things differently

We hear all the time that exercise is beneficial for your mind – releasing endorphins that build feel-good and even create euphoric moments where pain isn’t felt. This is the sense of Freedom brands can generate when they provide fresh or exciting things; a state where consumers feel energised and limitless, as if they can achieve much more than before.

Using 5Drivers to create better customer segments

If emotions drive our behaviours, grouping customers by their underlying feelings provides a richer picture of what a brand needs to do to win hearts. 

We've recently applied this tool to the fashion market; click below to see how effective it's proved.