Mikhaila Stettler

Brands and the Emotional Brain: Why We Need Story

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 by

How important is it to emotionally engage consumers with your brand? For companies operating in the LOHAS space, it’s mission critical. Why? Because the products and services LOHAS brands offer all relate to lifestyle behaviors, and decisions about those behaviors are made in the emotional brain.  In a way, LOHAS marketing has to perform double duty; besides communicating about the company itself, it has to promote the lifestyle values and habits that go along with the brand. The key to success is emotional connection with your target audience.

Recently I sat down with Dr. Ravi Rao, neuroscientist, management consultant and noted expert on the emotional brain, to discuss communication strategies that generate real emotional connection with customers. 


All good marketers know we need to focus on great storytelling, but do you know the neuroscience behind it? In The Value Of Story, Part One of the series on Brands And The Emotional Brain, Dr. Rao describes how we are wired to take in story and why facts and figures about product/service benefits won’t stick in consumers’ minds.

Leverage the power of story to engage the emotional brain and connect with customers. Every good story has three primary components: character, situation or struggle, and how the character gets through the situation. Our extensive wiring for empathy causes us to identify with characters and their situations.

“Empathy is our primary survival mechanism. Humans survive because we feel together.”

People want to hear about your company’s history, why you exist, what you’re trying to do.  They want to hear the stories of people you’ve helped, what their situation was and how it’s better now. The stories you tell about your company convey a personal emotional promise to potential buyers- how they will feel when they become part of your brand’s tribe and use your products/services. Decide which emotions to focus on and get clear on your brand’s emotional promise. Invite your customers to share their personal stories and acknowledge them when they do.


Mikhaila Stettler is an artist, writer and producer. As Creative Director of Creatrix Interactive, she specializes in converting target audiences to the lifestyle habits and values of mission-driven LOHAS brands. She achieves that by wedding compelling storytelling with rich media to create emotional connection between your brand and your target audience so that it reaches, teaches and prompts them to take action. Practicing what she preaches, Mikhaila is a passionate advocate of all things organic, non-toxic and ecologically sound.  Her idea of heaven is two weeks at a luxury eco-resort on a tropical island. You can reach her through http://www.creatrixinteractive.com/ and @MikhailaCreates

Ravi Rao, MD, PhD specializes in the application of social-emotional neuroscience to business. He’s the author of Emotional Business: Inspiring Human Connectedness to Grow Earnings & the Economy. You can reach him thru http://www.emotionalbusinesssuccess.com/ and @EmoBizGuy