Consumer Psychology:

Emotional Benefits

By James Atkinson, LLB

Consumer Psychology - Emotional Benefits: There are four major categories of emotional benefits. Most emotional benefits that prospects desire fall into one of these categories.

The information below is based on the work of Drs. Sharon and Glenn Livingston (see head article for reference).

Category 1: Personal Accomplishments

The benefits in this category come from personal accomplishments. Prospects feel increased self-esteem, confidence, and control – that they are able to master the skills they need to direct their future.

Personal accomplishments are a strong driver of buying. Personal accomplishments may fall into the following categories:

  • Mastery of your environment (example: doing a task more efficiently on the computer)
  • Realization of your abilities (example: learning how to manage your finances)
  • Development of your talents (example: creative writing)
  • Recognition from others in relation to the above achievements (example: rewards and regard).

Personal Accomplishment examples of emotional benefits:

I’m intelligent

I feel proud

I’m in control

I can accomplish

I’m healthy

I enjoy life

I’m financially successful

I’m persistent

I feel secure / safe

Category 2: Romantic Love and Friendship

The benefits in this category are about adult relationships, both romantic partnerships and friendships – deriving self-esteem from loving and being loved.

Love & Relationship examples of emotional benefits:

I feel loved

I feel connected to my partner / friend

Being attractive will help me find a partner

I belong

People like me

I’m a good friend

Category 3: Parenting

The benefits in this category come from feeling you are a good parent. Prospects derive self-esteem from being emotionally and physically available to their children, from increasing the child’s self-esteem, and from the child’s accomplishments.

Consumers may also gain self-esteem from caring for their pets, teaching, and other examples of taking care of dependents.

Parenting examples of emotional benefits:

I’m a good parent

I’m a good pet owner

I’m a good teacher

I’m trustworthy

I’m reliable

I have a positive impact on others’ lives

I’m making sacrifices to help my family

Category 4: Giving Back

Consumers gain self-esteem from contributing to the wellbeing of society. This reflects a desire to give back to the community and do something positive for others – an idea of a broader purpose in life that transcends an individual’s own needs.

‘Giving Back’ examples of emotional benefits:

I give back to society

I take care of the environment

I have a positive impact on others’ lives

I’m helping to make the world a better place for future generations

I care about other people

I help others who are less fortunate.

Buying Behavior Associated With Each Category

Categories 1 and 2 tend to be associated with benefits that pertain to the individual’s image and emotions: “glossy,” “lifting,” “exciting.”

They are connected to highly-charged imagery and emotions, with a focus on instant personal gratification. The benefits in these categories are strong motivators to buy.

Categories 3 and 4 are associated with practical, measurable benefits like “recycled,” “long-lasting,” “stain-resistant.”

They produce a long-term and deeper sense of personal satisfaction, but are not as strong motivators to buy.

Therefore, a combination approach can work well. You can use image-based promises drawn from categories 1 and 2, and provide proof and “reasons why” (logical justification and practicality) from categories 3 and 4.

In other words, there should be a clear logic that links image benefits to features and rational justifications for purchase. When you communicate the right motivations and emotions, consumers feel understood. This builds trust that you can meet their needs.

An emotional connection with a company or individual is what leads to strong consumer loyalty and long-term buying.

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