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Connecting with your customers’ emotions.

Posted: Monday November 1, 2021 by effinlazy

Our emotions are much more important than we give them credit for. They help us to take action, avoid danger and make decisions. Importantly, our emotions help us to understand others and allow others to understand us. 

When you are building your marketing or brand strategy, emotions play a key role in helping you to connect with your customers. In this blog, we will explain why your strategy should be built around emotional-connection growth and give you actionable tips on how you can achieve this. 

Why you should care about connecting with your customers 

A traditional marketing strategy focuses on what your product or service provides. It answers questions such as: “what is the product”, “what problem does it solve”, and “what makes it different”. In today’s competitive markets, your marketing strategy and branding need to go beyond this typical approach and leverage connections with your consumers to create lasting customer loyalty. 

When making a buying decision, emotions play a vital role in a customer’s choice. These can be positive, such as feeling a personal connection with the brand, or negative, for example having a poor experience with it. Put simply, people want to buy from brands that they like. 

Emotional and connection-driven growth opportunities exist across the entire customer experience, whether you are in B2B or B2C sales. A key goal of both your marketing strategy and developing your brand, should be to create brand intimacy with your consumers across the entire customer journey. Not to be confused with brand loyalty, brand intimacy refers to the deep emotional connection between a business and its customers. 

The benefits of leveraging emotions in your marketing and brand strategy 

According to a recent study by Deloitte Digital, brands that form lasting emotional bonds with their customers are the most likely to have staying power. It found appealing to customers’ emotions based on connection, data boundaries, consistency and loyalty had a direct correlation to a brand’s customer retention rate. 

Of the consumers surveyed, 62% said they felt a relationship with a brand. The most important factors in terms of brand favourability were trustworthiness (83%), followed by integrity (79%) and honesty (77%). 

Analysis by Harvard Business Review found that fully connected customers are 52% more valuable than other customers who are highly satisfied but not fully connected. It also showed that although fully connected customers make up just 22% of customers, they accounted for 37% of revenue.  In fact they spent on average twice as much as highly satisfied customers!  The analysis further underlines the potential to be had in converting satisfied customers into fully connected ones, and attracting fully connected customers from competitors.

If you have built a relationship with your customers based on an emotional connection, it is going to fuel brand loyalty. Given that it is more cost effective to convert existing customers than attract new ones, this could be good news for your bottom line!

Having an emotional connection with your customers can also give you a competitive advantage over others in your market. Your goal should be to build your messaging in a way where it demonstrates how your company is the only one who can offer them that feeling in relation to the service or product you provide. 

Understanding your customer’s emotional motivators 

Connecting with your customers is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. Even if your brand doesn’t sell the most exciting product or service, you can still create a deep connection with your customers. In this next section we look at how you can leverage what makes your brand unique to forge deep bonds with your customers.  You want to be aiming to create a level of trust so strong that your customers would overlook any potential mistakes along the way.

To get started you need to understand your customers’ “emotional motivators”; the feelings that drive customers’ behaviour. Equipped with this knowledge you can then craft a marketing and branding strategy that will resonate best with your target audience. 

Research suggests to do this you should first inventory your existing market research and customer insight data to look for qualitative descriptions of what motivates your customers. Narrow this down to the top two or three key motivators that are strongly associated with your brand. These should form the basis of your marketing and branding strategy. 

Top emotional motivators that drive consumer behaviour include standing out from the crowd, having confidence in the future, feeling a sense of freedom, feeling a sense of belonging, protecting the environment, feeling secure, and success in life. 

It’s important to remember these will vary between brands. What works for some markets may not work for yours! That is why it’s important to leverage your own market research and data when identifying which consumer desires you should be tailoring your product or services to. You may need to target a variety of emotional motivators across your customer segments.  For example, “feel secure” and “succeed in life” may appeal more to older generations whereas “protect the environment” may be more likely to appeal to millennial or Gen Z customers. 

The following six archetypes of bonds are cited in a model developed by Marketing Agency MBLM. Leveraging some or all of these can help to build that emotional connection with your customers:

  1. Fulfillment: position your brand as one that exceeds customers’ expectations. 
  2. Identity: project an image that resonates with your target audience. 
  3. Enhancement: use your brand to help your customer become better. Even if a customer knows what they want, you should take the time to make sure they are getting the right product or service for their unique situation. 
  4. Ritual: make your brand a part of your customers’ daily routine. 
  5. Nostalgia: connect your brand with your customers’ fondest memories
  6. Indulgence: make the shopping experience fun! 

Keep it real 

While working all the above, it’s important to make sure your actions remain authentic. There’s nothing worse than a brand trying too hard just to make a sale. Your customers can see it coming a mile away, label your brand as fake, and your profits will suffer. 

The key to this is to be human. We tend to connect with people like us and brands are just the same. Even if your brand makes a mistake, being transparent with customers you already have a solid relationship with can allow you to sidestep a loss in revenue. According to Deloitte Digital, negative experiences, such as a data breach that threatens consumer privacy, can cause customers to ditch a brand, but that 77% of consumers will stay loyal if they are offered a genuine apology. 

Offer a flawless customer service experience 

Another important aspect of building a positive emotional connection with your customers is by offering an excellent customer service experience. A poor customer service experience is highly likely to create a negative emotional connection, so this is an area you want to invest in getting right. 

Simply put this is about keeping your promises at every stage of the customer journey. Deliver what you said you would, when you said you would, at the price that was agreed. This gives your customers trust and confidence in your brand and strengthens that bond between them. 

Remember that communication is a two-way street

If you want to connect with your customers, you need to offer them a form of connection in return. This means being available for your customers to deal with their questions or concerns when they need you. According to Forbes, 90% of social media messages are left unanswered by brands who send four times as many posts as replies. Listening to your customers’ needs is another way to build rapport, and in turn, trust. 

Part of this involves meeting your customers where they are. As we move out of the pandemic, many people are craving in-person connection. Social media platforms are also still a great way to connect with your customers quickly, easily, and regularly. 

Have a sense of humour 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to open up a bit with customers. Brands that can show their human side can endear themselves to customers as more authentic.  Crack a smile, make a joke, understand a bit more about your customers’ beyond the immediate task in hand.  

We like to think we are all unique, and your customers will appreciate you treating them as individuals, even if you are actually dealing with thousands of customers. 

Start building the business of your dreams 

Beginning with emotions, not products and features, as the basis of your marketing and brand strategies, will set you in good stead to build a loyal customer base, increase your revenues and gain advantage over your competitors. 

To explore how to effectively apply this thinking within your business, get in touch with us here