mercedes benz left brain right brain

The distinction between the left and right side of the brain, according to Mercedes Benz

Lately we have heard a lot about how brand storytelling is the answer to engaging today’s consumers because it will connect the consumer’s personal values with the values of their brands.

But haven’t brands been trying to connect emotionally with consumers ever since P&G and Cola-Cola emerged as leaders in consumer marketing? If marketers are aware of the fact that the typical consumer no longer exists, shouldn’t we try to implement different strategies to earn consumer trust and attention? Isn’t there still credence to using a strategy as rationale and simple as a price point?

The truth is that marketers have become obsessed with connecting emotionally with consumers and sometimes forget that they can appeal to them through the left side of the brain.

Let’s take a look at a very emotional moment in a person’s life: their engagement. This is often one of the most emotional moments in life and the majority of brands that play in this space focus on accentuating the drama of the moment and inserting themselves as having an important role in that moment. The leading players in the engagement ring category, such as Tiffany & Co, for years have executed emotional campaigns adding to the sentimental clutter in the category.
YouTube Preview Image
One company that realized the opportunity to differentiate in this cluttered space was Costco, yes the mass retailer! Costco, who has relied on a left side of the brain value proposition, used it as an advantage to target engagement ring consumers by implementing an analytically focused communications strategy. For the first time a brand, in this category talked to consumers in a rationale way: Establish an understanding of the actual value of the ring.

The rationale for this strategy is that if consumers are educated and put in a position to make a smart decision, they are much less likely to succumb to an emotional message. This is an example of a left brain strategy: Simply, offer a good product at a fair price and help consumers get smarter about the shopping experience.

Another company that taps into the left side of a consumer’s brain is Progressive Insurance, which strongly promotes their Progressive Direct rate and insurance comparison.  Progressive provides a comparison of its rate versus its competitors. This straightforwardness and rational approach to consumer engagement builds trust and credibility. This type of “transparency” helps consumers connect with the brand, and reaffirms their logical nature.
YouTube Preview Image

It’s important for today’s marketers to always be mindful of their customer’s rational nature and reliance on the left side of their brain. Emotional branding will always have a place in marketing, however there’s a great opportunity to leverage the left side of the brain when attempting to build trust and credibility with your customers. One could argue that as consumers have more access to information and become more skeptical to general advertising messages, the “left brain approach” will become the dominant communications strategy.

By David Velez Mejia and Renata Lavin Castenada