Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink: Intuitive Intelligence, refers to how important our instincts are when it comes to making decisions. It is interesting to see just how far our intuition and our feelings are what guide our decisions. Gladwell quotes the studies of Antonio Damasio, in which he proved that people with ventromedial prefrontal cortex lesions (in the emotional part of the brain) are incapable of deciding anything as simple as the best day for a doctor?s appointment. The patients are offered two options for the appointment and they have to make a decision. The rational part of their brains works perfectly well and they are capable of making long lists with the pros and cons for one day or the other, but the strange thing is that they find it impossible to take a decision, because for that we need emotions.
So, although we like to think that we are rational beings and take decisions based on proven fact, logical arguments and figures, it seems that our brains are much more interested in less practical matters: our feelings and emotions.
How does all this affect us when we are evaluating which car to buy? Let?s take a look at the specifications of the new BMW Z4:
The specifications offer us both rational and emotional factors. Which of the two influence us more? Let?s mark each part in a different colour:
Emotional part = pink
Rational part = blue
At a glance, we can see which specifications of the vehicle carry more emotional weight:
- Picture: The picture of the car is what stands out most. The car is attractive and dynamic. Very appealing.
- Copy: ?Goose bumps, butterflies and a fluttering heart come as standard?. Who wouldn?t want to feel all this? Well ?now you can feel it, too, from 30,000 ??
But we mustn’t forget the rational part:
- Contents: Figures and more figures? How much it costs, how to finance it. In short, can we afford the car?
When did we make our decision? When we pictured ourselves driving the sports car? Or when we had finished our calculations? Obviously, the key factor is emotional, because it creates the desire in us to have one. This fact, evident for products which are bought on the basis of our feelings – like the sports car which we have used as a clear example – can also be useful for most products.