As the marketplace continues to churn, brands look to foster the consumer delight in their products that will motivate lasting loyalty. Brands, however, often mistakenly reduce their branding to the following pat formula: 1) add product features, 2) subtract price, 3) multiply advertisements.

Here at Brand Keys, however, we’ve long known that a product is more than the sum of its parts (no matter how cheap or well-advertised those parts may be). When consumers fork out hard-earned cash for a product, they are buying the emotion the brand gives them much, much more than a multiplicity of features. In fact, we’ve found that the ratio of emotional, subconscious influences to logical, conscious influences in the purchasing process is around 70/30.

An October 1st article published in the Wall Street Journal (entitled, “Attention, Shoppers: Go With Your Gut”) comes to this same conclusion some 27 years later, discovering that people make their best purchasing decisions using gut instinct instead of rational thought.

The article cites as an example a Cornell University study where undergraduates were asked to choose a car based on either the car attributes or the way the various attributes made them feel. The researchers discovered what we would have known: those who chose a car based on their emotional reaction to the attributes – or gut — chose the better car. The article even states “positive emotions pointed to the best car 70% of the time [while] careful comparison of details scored just 25%. Familiar numbers…

So what happens to the brands that can’t find a way to put the ‘fun’ in ‘functional benefit’? You do the math.