Marketing & advertising are subjective in nature, and your audience probably doesn’t care about how great and awesome your product is. So how do you connect with them? You might have the biggest touchscreen in the world. The best technology. The most luxurious vehicle. That’s awesome! But the consumer doesn’t really care about these objective factors. They don’t stand out in the ‘noise’ and cut through the clutter.

The truth is we’re not entirely rational beings (which you probably already knew) – and there have been many books and gigabytes worth of the internet devoted to trying to prove this point. In fact, if you want to get technical about it, our brains actually light up differently when exposed to the emotional vs rational… Science!

Research shows us that “qualities like pleasure and belonging” are heavily linked to people’s brand choices. Here are eight factors that influence more than 80% of consumer purchases (in order of their impact on buying decisions):

Pleasure, responsibility, status, saving, individuality, effectiveness, belonging, and confidence. Notice: all of these factors are subjective.

marketing & advertising subjective

Even effectiveness is subject to user experience – take two near identical vacuum cleaners from two different brands and one is actually more effective than the other in cleaning a house, despite virtually identical (rational) specifications. invariably, someone will have the opposite experience and think the other vacuum is better. See – subjective.

While your company or brand might objectively have the best product or service available on the market, the longest-lasting battery, the most reliable engine, or the most qualified professionals – if you can’t or don’t communicate these benefits to the audience in a way which answers the question “How will this help me to express and live who I am?”, the majority of customers will never catch on to what you have to offer.

Writer Tom Denari once wrote a great article for Ad Age that brilliantly drove home this point. in it, he wrote:

“No matter what you buy — diapers, clothing, electronics or a can of tomatoes — the brands you select affect how you feel about yourself. The car you drive makes a statement about who you think you are. So does the cup of coffee you pick up in the morning and the mobile phone you carry, even though you’re not consciously aware of it. And while this seemingly selfish, indulgent behavior might seem the sorry reflection of a hypercapitalistic culture, it’s really how we’re hard-wired.

A brand helps people fall in love with themselves by reinforcing or affirming self-image. (e.g. I’m the kind of person that uses that kind of __________.)”

Thankfully, more and more brands are starting to catch onto this idea and applying it to their marketing & advertising work. For some, it will be too little too late. For others, it could be the start of a complete repositioning or a brand revival… Which will it be for your brand?