April 10, 2019

Creating an emotional tie with the Limbic® Map

Is it more likely to go for the chocolate brand that Grandma used to have? Or would you rather choose the unknown candy bar? The decision is often made quickly. Brands or products that do not trigger emotions in the customer are practically worthless for the brain. However, the stronger the positive feelings conveyed, the more valuable the product, service or brand and the more willing the customer is to spend money on it. So we can hardly speak of rational purchases.

The human brain acts associatively, interpretively and selectively. Accordingly, we do not act rationally, but rather on an emotional level as a result of the experiences gained in our life.

The limbic system is responsible for this. Among other things, this functional unit of the brain serves the processing of emotions or the development of instinctive behavior and is accountable for the release of endorphins.



Rationality? Wrong! The brain is controlled by emotions

Brain researcher Prof. Dr. Dr. Gerhard Roth proved that the logical part of our brain does not have direct access to the areas responsible for our decisions. So brands are well advised to align their strategies and all their communication with the emotional needs and motivations of potential customers. However, those who simply communicate away thinking they know their consumers are wasting valuable brand potential. Therefore, companies should rely on the limbic system when determining their own target group.



The Limbic® Map: Get to know your target group and address it precisely

Based on the latest findings, the Nymphenburg Group, pioneer of marketing-orientated brain research, in collaboration with the graduate psychologist Dr. Hans-Georg Häusel, has derived a model to explain consumer behavior. The Limbic® Mapshows the emotional space of humans with all its motives, values and wishes clearly at a glance and puts the different factors in relation to each other.

For companies, the first step is to divide their target group into one of the three defined emotion systems:

Balance system: strives for security and harmony, tries to avoid uncertainty

Stimulant system: wants to experience adventures and avoid boredom

Dominance system: strives for a unique position regarding power, control and independence

Obviously no one fits into a template and can therefore also be a mix of these three systems, but also the target group itself is of course no homogenous mass. Brands have to filter where their own focus group can be found. A tracking of the own website can provide a first clue. Important: Demographic data alone does not provide meaningful personas! Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles may be the same age, are both from Great Britain, married and have children, but certainly have different needs, preferences etc. and should therefore be addressed differently. For companies whose target groups are split up it is worthwhile to address them in two or more parts in a targeted manner, which is possible thanks to Limbic® Map.

How it is done: The Limbic® Map using Ikea and Audi as examples

Once companies have segmented their target groups and assigned them to a system, clear road maps for the emotional appeal of their customers can be defined. Not only facial expressions and gestures, but also colors, shapes, product descriptions and product names send messages that are unconsciously processed in the brain. The Ikea Instagram channel for example attracts visitors every day with new colorful pictures that are intended to stimulate the imagination and motivate to pay the furniture giant another visit. It is to be classified between stimulation and balance, just right for the target group: young couples or families with small children, between 25 and 35, who want to save on the price but not the creativity when furnishing their own four walls.



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Ein Beitrag geteilt von IKEA Deutschland (@ikeadeutschland) am

Audi, on the other hand, scores more points in its speech with roaring engines and polished bodies. Always striving for a unique position regarding power, control and independence, the typical Audi buyer tends towards the dominance system. In its sales pitch the German car manufacturer therefore focuses on motives such as power, freedom or status in order to reach its target group emotionally.



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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Audi Deutschland (@audi_de) am

Bottom line: Brands have to use emotions and values correctly

Choosing a brand, product or service is a complex process. The one trigger in favor of a brand does not exist. Psychological factors such as the positive or negative connection to a company or the corresponding world of values stand above one’s rationality before every purchase. Every product always has a subjective value for the buyer. Brands can thus take advantage of the drovers of the target group identified by the Limbic® Map and integrate them sensibly into the communication or even further develop their own offer in an optimal way. By addressing customers emotionally in this way, they are unconsciously picked up, confirmed in their own world of values and bound to the brand in the long term.





Manja Rehfeld on EmailManja Rehfeld on Linkedin
Manja Rehfeld
Senior-Beraterin bei Mashup Communications
Mit ihrer Leidenschaft für die englische Sprache, Notizen und ausgiebiger Recherche ist Manja der Sherlock Holmes der Earlybirds – immer auf der Suche nach Fakten und Informationen für Geschichten.