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Marry Left- and Right-Brain Strategy for Better Customer Engagement

Posted by
Yohai Ben-Israel
Head of Mid-Market Direct Sales & Enterprise Sales Development
Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - 12:20

Consumers demand a connected experience, and brands are scrambling to deliver.

While some have done well to implement cutting-edge apps and bots, even the best tech falls short without a well-planned, strategic implementation. Before deploying any technology, brands must gain a true understanding of consumer motivations and frustrations. An engagement strategy backed with data and psychology fosters better connections and, ultimately, wins more loyal consumers.

How well do you really know your consumer? More than 20 years of helping brands and consumers connect have given our team the quantitative and qualitative insights to know it requires a balance of left-brain science and right-brain emotional intelligence.

The impact of right- and left-brain function.

The left part of the brain powers linear and analytical thought. The typical left-brained buyer enjoys handling finances and organizational structure. They make purchasing decisions based on hard facts, like data points or historical factors. Conversely, a right-brained buyer values creativity and relationship building, as the right side of the brain affects the imagination and emotions. This buyer often goes with their gut and reacts according to their instincts, whether or not any supporting evidence is present.

So, how can brands create a customer experience that appeals to both sides?

Three tips to appealing to the logical left brain.

The left-brained buyer looks toward empirical proof in making decisions. By leading with facts, data points, and relevant information, you make the strongest case to compel action.

  1. Be a realist. Emphasize the practicality of your product or service in all marketing collateral and explain the tangible impact at key points in the purchasing journey. Nissan, for example, proves to potential customers that it’s in it for the long haul. A primary customer concern was the impracticality of owning an electric car. To debunk that perception, Nissan offers them a free 24-hour test-drive of the Leaf and, upon purchase, free charging at dealerships and select service stations, free roadside assistance, and a five-year battery warranty, among other perks.
  2. Prove your point with data. Left-brained consumers are motivated by tangible results. Highlighting case studies and new customer savings will demonstrate exactly what the consumer stands to gain. As HubSpot finds, “companies that put data at the center of marketing/sales decisions improve marketing ROI by 15%-20%.” T-Mobile breaks it down by the numbers, comparing its service to top competitors Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. (Spoiler alert: T-Mobile outperforms all three.)
  3. A/B test the results. Like a scientist in the lab, always adjust your experiment based on results. If something isn’t resonating with your customers, change your approach and try again with a different angle. It’s important to recognize what’s not working early on and double-down on what does. This “do-or-die” mentality cuts down on time wasted as well as cost and sets you on a path to success much more quickly.

Three tips to appealing to the emotional right brain.

The right-brained buyer acts on intuition or how he or she feels about a product or service. Accordingly, a holistic, altruistic, and more personal approach has the best chance of winning over right-brain personalities.

  1. Have a vision for a better world. Customers aren’t loyal to companies. They’re loyal to what those companies stand for. So contends CEB and is evidenced in the success of brands like TOMS and Warby Parker. And it’s why LivePerson CEO Rob LoCascio founded his company more than 20 years ago: to change the face of customer service and make it easier for people everywhere to connect with a human being. He was trying to buy a Dell computer, but his emails went unanswered and his calls were put on hold. He wondered why he couldn’t just chat with a representative online to get quick answers to his questions. Hence the creation of LivePerson messaging.
  2. Develop your “brand personality.” Neil Patel and Ritika Puri note, “A brand personality is the set of attributes that give an organization a distinct character.” Like people, we often create opinions of brands based on the characteristics they exhibit. It’s why one of the first exercises an ad agency puts a brand through is to establish its archetypes and reveal the pillars of the brand identity. You need to know who you are before your customers do.
  3. Be human. Technology (like bots) can guide the left-brained buyer along a logical path toward purchase. It can also empower customer care professionals (CCPs) with the insights to offer a better, personalized experience when the customer seeks a thoughtful relationship with a live person. Messaging displays behavioral history on hand, so CCPs have a more complete picture of the customer they’re dealing with. They can see what’s worked or not in the past and tailor the conversation to their individual preferences.

The complex psychology behind loyal consumers.

Now you know how to deal with both your left- and right-brained buyers. Of course, your customer base isn’t made up of just one type, and a strong customer experience appeals to both functions — offering a smooth, sequential user experience while also appealing to emotion.

Research shows that it’s the emotional connection that keeps consumers coming back time and time again. The Harvard Business Review reports, “Given the enormous opportunity to create new value, companies should pursue emotional connections as a science — and a strategy.” Brands can (and should!) pinpoint key emotional motivators as they develop their messaging strategy to appeal to their consumers’ instincts. Emotion is intrinsically linked to decision-making. According to Big Think, “even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion.” Marry the data-supported value-add of your product or service to how the consumer feels about it, and you’ve created a loyal customer for the long term.

How does your brand use psychology to compel consumer action? Any tips you’d add? Leave them in the comments!

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