How Habits & Emotions can Trigger Consumers to purchase Your Product or Service


Shopping Behavior Naomi Mc Laughlan

Print and broadcast advertisement attracts attention towards a product or service, and consumers tend to try out something new because of an advert they have seen. Behavioral intention or BI is defined as a person’s perceived likelihood or “subjective probability that he or she will engage in a given behavior” (National Institute of Health, n.d. cited Committee on Communication for Behavior Change in the 21st Century, 2002, p. 31).

Habits play a vital role, and make consumers usually grab items they are familiar with, as long as they are not side-tracked by another product that is currently on sale.

These behaviors can have various origins, including;

  • Past behaviors; something we do because we are used to it, for example learned during early childhood
  • Automaticity, as in buying or doing something that is efficient, but without immediate awareness, unintentional, and/or uncontrollable
  • Contextual Cues; cues that are triggered by time of day, past experiences in a certain situation, other people being involved or regular or special occasions (National Institute of Health, n.d.)

To relate the above mentioned concepts to myself as a consumer, I note that I use past behaviors when I choose washing powder, as it reminds me of my childhood, when buying bread I usually automatically select the same brand without thinking and special occasions such as Christmas triggers me into buying ‘Spekulatius’, a German type of Christmas cookies, although they are around in most shops throughout the year.

Love to Shop Naomi Mc Laughlan

Emotions, according to Hollis and Brown (2015), in promotions tend to evoke certain types of adverts to mind: ‘those featuring touching or heart-rending vignettes, cooing babies, or romping puppies’, which often arouse tears or smiles.

There are Primary, Secondary and Tertiary emotions, which may be useful for marketers:

  • Love – Affection – Longing
  • Joy – Optimism – Relief
  • Surprise – Surprise – Amazement (Changing Works, 2015, cited Shaver et al. (2001)

In my view these three primary emotions mentioned above are frequently used by marketers, for example adverts that feature Valentine gifts use ‘Love’ as their primary emotion, ‘Joy’ is noticeable in adverts which feature products for mothers-to-be show and use cute and cheerful babies, and lastly ‘Surprise’ which has been successfully and beautifully used by Samsung which features a short story about two hearing impaired who get surprised, for example.

You can use both concepts in your marketing to evoke the highest emotions and recall of an advert.

Here is a lovely example of an advert that induces an emotional response

from the viewer.

What do you think? I would love to hear your comments!


All the Best Naomi



Changing Works (2015) Basic Emotions. Online at

Hollis, N and Brown, M (2015) Emotion in Advertising: Pervasive, Yet Misunderstood. Online at

National Institutes of Health (n.d) Behavioral Intention. Online at

National Institutes of Health (n.d) Habits. Online at

Samsung Turkiye (2015) The Most Emotional Surprise of the Year. Online at

Warren, C and McGraw, A (2013) When Humor Backfires: Revisiting the Relationship Between Humorous Marketing and Brand Attitude. Online at



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