So are we all selling chocolate?

Psychology as a differentiator and the butterfly effect.

I’ve noticed that when businesses are selling chocolate to consumers (Business to Consumer or B2C) they sell emotion. Their visuals, message and brand story all aim to elicit a psychological response from the customer. Snickers is about strength and self-confidence, M&Ms are fun, Cadbury is wholesome and Lindt is love, innocence and joy.

On the other hand I’ve noticed that when some businesses are selling to other businesses (Business to Business or B2B) their messaging is pitched at passionlesss, clinically rational cyborgs. Do you believe that B2B buying decisions, unlike consumer decisions, are made in an emotional vacuum? It seems to me that this is an impossibility – we are all human beings and our decisions are made in the context of our emotional and psychological reactions to stimuli – our bias. So when we are crafting a narrative and designing our visuals and producing our e-brochure and writing an executive summary and adding content to our website we must be aware that what we are really doing is talking to other human beings. These are people just like us who’d love to drop a half stone; who have sleepless nights or ageing parents; who run out of milk just like us and feel guilty because they don’t have time to walk the dogs. The traditionally accepted narrow approach based on the notion that people are evaluating your tender only on the functional attributes you present seems kind of skimpy – lazy almost – and makes no effort to understand their complex drivers and resultant actions. 

The behavioural science shows that ‘consumers cannot always accurately describe their motivations or predict what factors might be decisive in influencing their behaviour.’  So what does this mean when you’re developing the personality of your brand? Does your brand even have a personality? If it doesn’t you might be missing out on an opportunity to give your business a psychological differentiator. This gap presents an ideas person like myself with an unexplored creative space that allows for butterfly effects. Like a butterfly’s silky wingbeat, almost imperceptible changes can allow your brand to really take off.

If you want to know more about how to give your business a personality – a story that defines you, differentiates you and elicits an emotional response from the people looking at your tender – drop me a note.

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