Rational vs. Emotional Appeal in Advertising

Nov 18, 2020

2 min read

Adverts are designed to appeal and to inform the consumers about your company, product or service.

In order to make the advertisement effective, marketers often use either rational or emotional approach.

Ideally, we should be implementing both.

Everyone likes to think they make well researched and informed purchasing decisions the majority of the time.

And we know, this isn’t true.

That’s not to say the consumers make irrational decisions – some purchases require more thought and consideration.

When our emotional desires begin to shift toward a prospective brand, we align our reasons to be consistent with that intention.

In the words of Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people forget what you did, but people will remember how you made them feel.”

Our critical mind is always looking for evidence to support our beliefs. The stronger the emotion, the stronger the belief, and the greater the tendency is to seek out supporting evidence. 

Emotion plays a role in how you react to everything. Your brain has hard-wired emotional responses in it. The reaction is instinctive. Every ad, including the most rational, will elicit an emotional response.

That response is also personal.

Consumers bring their own past experiences and psychological makeup to bear.

They also bring their own perceptions of the brand, product or service.

These factors shape consumers’ responses to advertising.

No one size fits all applies to advertising appeals.

The most effective ads use both emotional and rational appeals to motivate consumers.

They reflect the adage that consumers buy with emotion and justify the purchase with the rational information.

Both emotional and rational branding strategies present the product to consumers, but how they use product placement in ads can be very different.

Showing people enjoying the product or, very commonly, showing customers interacting with friendly, helpful salespeople or employees is a common strategy for companies attempting to appeal to their customers on an emotional level.

Rational brand advertising often places the product in the center of the ad, with all the activity revolving around the product as opposed to revolving around the people who use it.

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