Get to the heart of things in emotive times

These primitive areas are associated with fear, sex, and reward. Electrical activity in these regions influences and overrides what we often refer to as ‘rational’ behaviour and judgement. And while we remain largely unaware of them, it’s virtually impossible to switch off our emotional responses.

Successful consumer branding and marketing has spent over a century inducing thoughts, feelings and memories in the minds of potential customers – basically exploiting this emotive angle as a competitive advantage.

But it’s an approach that’s rarely employed with business-to-business audiences.

At first glance that would seem to make sense, given what we know about business buying cycles, and how the process differs from consumer purchasing. After all, the general public are free to define their own needs, spend their own money and can act on impulse, amongst other things.

Avoiding using emotion in your B2B branding and marketing may recognize these specific differences between B2B and FMCG sales. But it doesn’t acknowledge the larger factor that both groups have in common: every buying decision is ultimately taken by a human being. Until PurchaseBot 3000™ comes online of course…

And, as we’ve already mentioned, all people – from the Head of Procurement to the CEO – are subject to the same underlying anxieties and desires that make us human. By denying neuroscience and feeding potential customers dry information about your products and services, you affect how people feel about them (and indeed if they feel anything), whether they’re memorable, and whether your audience is compelled to act.

“We work so hard on the rational things in business, when so often it is the emotional that sustains us too”

But we’re not suggesting that you suddenly drop all of your carefully crafted technical content in favour of a heartfelt appeal — it’s all a question of framing.

The value of anything has two components: the emotional and the rational. To brand and market successfully demands we combine the traditional tangible attributes of the product or service with the compelling emotional qualities of the customer – what they believe, desire, fear and remember.

The key take home is this: Always communicate the emotional first.

Rather than competing head-to-head on product-based messaging, you can define and lead B2B markets with the more emotive and ‘intangible’ elements – ideas, concepts, and values.

In emotionally charged and uncertain times, B2B companies will benefit from getting to the heart of things.

If you need help getting to the heart of things, email the team today at

(1) Functional resonance imaging (FMRI) studies showed activity in the reward centres of the brain when respondents viewed a new product, packaging and even advertising.
To read a more in-depth round up of neuromarketing by Harvard Business Review, visit: