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How emotions evolve in the Premium Home Brand purchase process

Wayne McMaster

13 March 2014

Understanding how the consumer's emotions evolve during the purchase process can make a good home interior brand a great home interior brand.

Thirty years ago, Robert Plutchik created a wheel of emotions. He believed there were eight primary/bipolar emotions: joy versus sadness; anger versus fear; trust versus disgust; and surprise versus anticipation. His model also connected the idea of an emotion circle and a color wheel. The primary emotions can be expressed just like colors at different intensities.

Taking its cues from the artist’s colour wheel, it attempts to identify eight different primary emotions (in the centre), with both polar opposites, and different intensities and combinations of each.


The Advertising Research Foundation studied how emotions evolve during the purchase process for many different home consumer goods categories, ranging from consumer electronics to packaged goods. Using the widely accepted group of emotions found on Plutchik’s Wheel, seen above, researchers graphed how these emotions increased and decreased at each stage of the purchase process.

When a consumer begins searching for information and evaluating brands, anticipation and interest increase dramatically. What every home-interest brand should aim for, of course, is maximum joy during the post-purchase phase, shown below:


The Advertising Research Foundation identified some of the trends driving this evolution of emotions:

  1. Today’s consumer lives life online and offline; the whole is more than the sum of the parts.
  2. Digital and social have raised the bar for today’s shoppers.
  3. Shoppers often feel imprisoned – not liberated – by all of the information brands give them online.
  4. Brand perceptions and offline advertising continue to drive consideration.

While the emotional intensity by phase can vary dramatically for individual product categories, the chart above shows how emotions evolve for a wide variety of categories.

Understanding how these subtle changes impact your brand can improve your marketing communications.

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