Monday, June 13, 2016

Brands and Empathy



Successful marketing professionals are adept at understanding human needs and motivations and playing to those through carefully crafted brand stories, messaging and experiences. We have strong intuition and great analytical skills. We have learned how to appeal to people's hearts and manipulate their emotions.  And we have learned how to use fear to our brand's greatest advantage. 

This may be why I have heard some people call marketers "spin doctors," "practitioners of the dark arts," and "master manipulators."

I would have you pause for a minute and consider another approach. We are good at reading people's emotions. Instead of being very clinical about manipulating people's behaviors, why don't we try to empathize with them, have compassion for them and actually adapt our brands to best meet their needs and even surprise and delight them in ways that they had not anticipated? 

Not only is this a more ethical approach, but it also creates lasting value and stronger emotional connection. 

Jean Giraudoux, a French diplomat, dramatist and novelist (1882-1944) once said, "The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made." I have heard several political strategists quote different versions of this over time. But I am recommending that you do not subscribe to this philosophy. Do not fake it. Truly be authentic and sincere and operate out of integrity. Further, know that every organization exists for one purpose and one purpose alone, to meet human needs, and hopefully not just the needs of its shareholders, but most importantly, the needs of its customers, patients, patrons, members or clients. 

So do this - think about how your brand can truly help its customers. What problems can it solve in their lives? What needs can it meet? How can it make them feel better? How can it make their lives easier? How can it heal them or make them happier? Wouldn't this be a more rewarding approach to your job? Consider it.

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