Business Pundit points to "Welcome to The Feelings Economy" which explains that "in an oversupplied economy, customer feelings drive purchase decisions and profitability....Your new imperative is to assess and appeal to your customers feelingsperiod. Feelings are the basis for all profit generating consumption in a market at the mercy of customer choice. Focus on feelings, especially the subtle ones that customers themselves cannot articulate."
I agree with the writers up to this point, but then they make a fatal flaw by trying to distinguish emotions from feelings.
"For our purposes, feelings are not the same as emotions. Rather, feelings refers to a very specific quality: pleasantness, unpleasantness, or neutrality in an experience. Pleasant feelingsexcitement, fun, reward, increased self-esteem, etc.habitually condition desire. Unpleasant feelingspain, effort required, decreased self-esteem, etc.condition aversion. And neutral feelings condition forgetfulness. Given this definition, the purpose of every business in an oversupplied market should be to increase customers pleasant feelings while minimizing their unpleasant ones."
As Paul Zak has mentioned, "emotions play a critical role in decision making" (see Neurobiology of Trust), and I've detailed in Emotions and Neurotechnology and The Future is Emotional Economics, understanding the emotional motivation behind purchase making decisions is critical to long-term success.
Why not "feelings" as described above? Because people always overestimate the happiness a product will bring them (see Forecasting Happiness) and if you oversell the "end feeling" all you will ultimately create is disillusionment and dissatisfaction, not long-term loyalty. The critical issue for brand management and profitability comes from satisfying your customers emotional needs so that they trust your brand and will continue to come back.