Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, argues that the lengthy procrastination that often takes place in decision-making is ‘post self-justification’, because we actually make up our minds pretty quickly.
It’s a fascinating thought that perhaps we should trust our rapid assessment of a situation, and just go for it, saving man-hours and moving our lives and our work forward with gusto.
We know that human beings make decisions using a combination of rational and emotional factors. Emotion is more automatic and what we use most frequently in our everyday routine. Emotion is also used when we need to react quickly, in an emergency for example. Stevens & Hague, in their paper ‘How Businesses Buy’, have argued that the same mix of rational and emotional factors are used in business, and often the decision is made rapidly, but then slowed down by business structures and protocols. In other words, we procrastinate, because we are forced to.
The process is a whole lot easier if it’s all down to one person, but typically, small committees of individuals support larger decisions, each unique in where they are in the decision-making cycle, adding complexity that draws out the procrastination.
The role of a brand for any business is to generate an emotional response in its audience. A strong brand will have high awareness and understanding of its brand values across its target market. Ultimately, it will create an emotional reaction – belief and trust – that drives preference when faced with a purchase decision.
In the case of financial services, when businesses are trying to influence other businesses or intermediaries to buy complex products, the role of emotions in decision-making remains important – see our previous article about the characteristics of B2B marketing. This is where a brand, or emotional connection, comes into play.
The role of your brand is not only to get you into the game in the first place, but to make sure you are the final choice at decision time. Of course, content that supports rational thinking and logic, such as feature comparisons, is critical, but so too is communicating what you think and believe, to connect at a deeper level with the people you are trying to influence.
Please talk to us about how we can help you put these elements in place in your business. We can provide consultancy and advice to support your own implementation, or handle the implementation and ongoing management of programmes on your behalf on an outsourced basis.
Whichever approach you choose, following this approach should put you several steps along the path to influencing your buyers and achieving rapid and sustained growth.