NEW YORK — Putting brand purpose front and center is apparently such a powerful emotional driver that it literally sends consumer hearts aflutter, according to new biometric research from Porter Novelli/Cone.

The study found that advertising that focuses on brand purpose (supporting a social issue or responsible business practices, for example) triggered more positive physical and emotional reaction than those that focus on a product. Participants paid more attention to purpose-driven ads as well.

Which is good for business, the research shows. Leading with purpose is so impactful that Americans are more likely to think positively of (89%), trust (86%) and be loyal to( 83%) brands that do so, the study found.

“Through conducting biometrics research, we see the power of purpose messages to break through and resonate with consumers on a deeper level,” said Alison DaSilva, Cone’s executive VP of purpose.  “Purpose-first communications spark an often-unconscious physical reaction by speaking to the hearts and minds of consumers, ultimately forming deeper emotional connections by appealing to individual values and what matters most.”

The findings, the first of their kind from the agency, are based on the combined results of two separate studies — an online study of 1,193 US adults and biometrics testing of 21 of those respondents.

The biometrics research included measuring participants’ facial and skin reactions, as well as heart rate, after viewing two ads for the same brand — one highlighting purpose, the other product. The ads represented the automotive, household cleaning and technology industries.

According to the research, showcasing brand purpose can have long-term value, as connecting with consumers on shared values can help build significant and lasting relationships with them.  79% of respondents said they feel a deeper personal connection to companies with values similar to their own. 72% believe companies that have purpose care about them and their families more  than those that don’t.

There was only one instance of a product ad having a more positive effect than a purpose-focused ad. 52% of respondents said an automotive ad highlighting safety features inspired greater trust in the product than the one that addressed purpose.

Other findings include: 86% of consumers said they are likely to purchase from companies with purpose, and 81% would support that company in their community. And, there is a reason why consumers are putting such a premium on purpose. 73% of respondents said that in today’s uncertain social and political times, they feel an urgency to support issues in every way they can.

72% said they feel it is more important than ever that the companies they buy from reflect their values; 80% said supporting companies that have similar values is a way for them to show the world they care; and 76% said supporting companies that are addressing social and environmental issues helps them feel they’re doing their part.