Along my career as Marketing Consultant I have observed how successful places focus on delivering emotional and social benefits. They are concerned by how they will make people feel, rather than relying on boring lists, facts and details. I recently came across similar comments by brand strategist Megan Kent where she said, “Marketers haven’t been using all the tools available to them because they assume that consumers make decisions rationally. While the rational, or ‘thinking’ part of the brain does play a role, it’s most often there to simply validate, or put into words a decision that our subconscious mind has already made for us.” Exactly!

Megan goes on to explain, “In order to reach the neo-cortex, i.e. the ‘thinking’ brain, our messages need to first pass muster with the older parts of our brain, the parts that are far more primal and emotionally oriented.”

We see this at work when visitors make decisions and purchases. Yet, it’s amazing how many places still try to promote themselves by using uninteresting lists of local attractions, businesses and services. While this information does have a role later in their decision-making, it is rarely important at an early stage when prospects are forming their initial awareness and preference for a place.  Lists alone don’t make emotional connections. Prospective visitors first need to be convinced of what is appealing and special about the place, and how it’s going to make them feel.

“Science now tells us that the data stored in our subconscious minds (our feelings, memories, emotions) are the primary drivers in 90% of the decisions that we make. So it turns out that ‘going with our gut’ isn’t just a once-in-a while phenomenon. The truth is we actually ‘go with our gut’ almost all of the time. As Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman puts it, ‘we think much less than we think we think,’” Megan added.

Megan was one of the architects for Brand USA, America’s first global tourism campaign. “We knew that if we used a rational approach to selling the USA, we’d come up against foreigner cynicism, especially regarding U.S. foreign policy and immigration restrictions. But by using a completely non-verbal, emotional approach, the campaign has surpassed target goals.”

Are your marketing communications aimed at the “thinking” or the “feeling” parts of your customers’ brains?

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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