Consumers do not make purchases based on a complete, rational thought processes. The combination of functional and emotional weigh into the mix in different quantities, depending on product type and situation. Often there is an intuitive factor that is difficult to measure, or rationalize, and in some cases never gets rationalized but a purchase is made.
Emotional, consumer-oriented design means considering and understanding the soft and fuzzy factors that a human being subconsciously processes when interacting with a design: How does it make someone feel? Proud, rewarded, secure. What do they perceive?, honesty, trust, value. How viscerally / intuitively desirable is the product? How does the product address their emotional needs, aspirations and current desires.
This type of knowledge is brought to teams by individuals who have been trained to think about and study these aspects in relation to design, and how it impacts and is applied to design. This may stem from consumer research (qualitative), studying the science of psychology or experience of design through trial and error (both in process and research)This is the flip side of functional aspects or needs that can be more easily rationalized, such as price, number of tools, performance, technology, sales channel, product mix (line); which focus on pragmatic aspects of the consumer.