Every piece of marketing communication you produce conveys the benefits of your business to your audience. There are two types of benefits: emotional and functional. To best connect with your audience, you need to understand the importance of both. This article discusses the advantages of leaning into emotional connections and when to use functional benefits. Finding the right balance is as much art as it is science, and keeping focused on it will help drive your business and your brand.
Understanding the Benefits
When you tap into your audience’s emotions, aspirations and desires, you create connections that transcend rational thinking. You can give your potential customers feelings of joy, security and self-confidence. These feelings have a significant impact on consumer behavior and can influence decision-making, build brand loyalty, and nurture long-term, profitable relationships.
Functional benefits focus on the tangible features and specifications of your product or service. Essentially, they serve as the proof points of what the brand can do for consumers, which is key to establishing credibility and gaining trust. They address practical needs and provide rational justifications for consumers’ choices.
When you understand and effectively leverage benefits that resound with the head and the heart, the result is comprehensive communication that resonates with consumers on both rational and emotional levels. Knowing how to weight them, when to deliver them, and how to discover your emotional drivers is the trick
Combining Emotional and Functional Benefits
Addressing your customers in both horizontals require a deep understanding of your target audience. By identifying and responding to their needs, you can tailor your messages to speak to them exactly where they are. Striking this balance is key to capturing attention and interest, which ultimately drives your audience towards engagement and conversion. Emotion works to pull them in and connect with shared values and once there, you can begin functional and more practical messaging. As Simon Sinek would tell us, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Your emotional connection is your why. And it can be very powerful.
Factors Influencing Consumer Decision-Making
There are many factors – psychological elements that shape decision-making processes – that influence consumer choices. Desires, beliefs, and past experiences all play significant roles. Tapping into these is key to creating messages that speak to and invigorate consumers on a personal and emotional level. This is essential if you hope to drive interest and inspire consumer behavior.
While emotions play a central role in decision-making, they do not exist in isolation. Logic also plays an important secondary role. Consumers often consider the functional features and specifications of your product or service before they make a buying decision. Highlighting the practical benefits of your brand creates a compelling argument that speaks to the sensible side of consumer decision-making.
Consumers work on both emotional and practical levels. Effective marketing communications must reach consumers on every level. Emotive messages are powerful and work to pull your audience in. They also serve your brand in forming a strong values connection. Rational information focused on the practical benefits of a product or service can help consumers make informed decisions, but it’s difficult to get excited about a bunch of statistics. Striking the right balance between emotional and functional benefits is the most effective way to create powerful connections with your audience.
The win happens when you leverage emotional benefits to gain a meaningful connection and build upon your relationship. This then opens the door to addressing your customer’s rational needs. Ultimately, this combination approach helps you effectively engage and influence your audience. Once you discover your emotional drivers and design ways to use your functional benefits to reinforce that emotional connection in your marketing efforts, building brand affinity will come naturally and deliver higher payoffs.