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Uma the Superdog and Other Emotional Purchases


When it comes to purchasing products, people make decisions with their hearts and justify those decisions with their minds. 

You might think it’s counter-intuitive to think that people really make decisions with their hearts, but the truth is that no matter how much research people put into their purchases, they still often tend to “go with their gut” and rationalize it later.

After years of hearing our children beg for a dog and my father-in-law reminding me, at nauseam, that every little boy should have a dog, my husband and I finally took the plunge. We spent a year researching breeds online and talking to friends and family who have different kinds of dogs. We finally defined which breeds would fit best within our busy, bustling household. We knew smaller breeds that don’t shed much and don’t need a lot of exercise made the most sense for us. 

Then, we were invited over to a coworker’s house for a visit. When we stepped through the door, we were greeted by a big, beautiful brown and white dog—a German Shorthaired Pointer. In the first few minutes together, we completely fell in love. 

Though this breed didn’t fit within the practical parameters we had set, we knew we just had to get one of our very own. Just a few months later, we welcomed our beautiful new German Shorthaired Pointer puppy, Uma into our home

Of course we had to adjust a few things to make it work. Uma the Superdog sheds and needs long walks twice a day. But since we made an emotional decision about her, we continue to rationalize and justify the decision. 

In the same vein, people can buy clothes at Walmart that will keep them covered and warm, and they come at the right price. But the reason people will buy a $600 Dolce & Gabbana t-shirt isn’t to keep them covered and warm; it’s for the feelings and lifestyle associated with the brand. No, it’s not a logical purchase; it’s a totally emotional buy. While someone may rationalize their decision by saying it will last sixty times longer than the $10 one, they actually purchase because the brand that has been built around that t-shirt causes customers to make emotional decisions about what they’re buying. Many people buy their clothes to make a statement or to show a certain status. They might share values and beliefs with others who buy luxury goods and fashions like Dolce & Gabbana and want to be part of the tribe that's associated with that brand. 

When you are planning your advertising message, take into consideration how much emotion, compared to logic, will be involved in the decision to buy what you are selling. 

Most business owners miss the boat with their messaging when they focus on the company and the features they offer—the message should be about the customer and the benefits to them. 

Speaking right to what the customer desires is what makes people notice your message. This is what allows them to cut through the clutter and make your voice heard

It’s like hearing the one person speaking English in a crowd of people who are speaking French. 


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