Most brands want to connect emotionally with their customers but few actually do. What does it take to create that emotional connection?
Brands that create emotional connection are deliberate about achieving it. First, those brands and their brand owners often have a strong set of values, values that they ultimately share with their customers. For example, Patagonia's almost reverent love of the outdoors and a pristine environment. Or Tesla's and Elon Musk's dream of a post-fossil fuel world. Or FOX New's focus on a very specific view of the world.
Next, those brands need to really understand their customers. They need to possess deep customer insight. This usually happens through qualitative research, often using guided imagery and projective techniques. They need to understand customer self-perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, values, hopes, fears and anxieties. We helped Footjoy do this to refocus its brand from superior functional attributes (keeps your feet dry on a wet course) to a self-expressive benefit - The Mark of a Player.
Next, one must carefully design the customer experience. This may include customer journey mapping and customer touch point design. Often these brands create customer experience or engagement manager positions to maintain focus on the customer experience.
Next comes building the customer experience into the culture. Disney does this well, as does Zappos, Nordstrom and Starbucks. One of my favorite examples of this is Ritz-Carlton's "Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen." If you are interested in creating a better customer experience, I would encourage you to read Be Our Guest (Disney), The Zappos Experience, The Nordstrom Way - Customer Service Excellence, Leading the Starbucks Way and especially The New Gold Standard (Ritz-Carlton).
At Hallmark, we pursued a Legendary Service initiative, in which we encouraged customer facing employees to deliver service that is so unexpected and extraordinary that those service moments became the basis of widely told legendary stories.
This notion of emotional connection needs to work its way into the brand's essence, mission, vision, values, promise, unique value proposition, archetype and personality. That is, it needs to become part of the brand's DNA.
One way we work with our clients to do this is to create "We believe..." statements, statements which reflect their values and that will connect emotionally with their customers.
There are many tools and techniques to create deep emotional connection with customers. If your brand is not connecting emotionally with its customers, contact us. We can help you make that happen.
Other related blog posts:
- Fast Food and the Customer Experience
- Customer Service Comes of Age at Insurance Companies
- Branding from the Inside Out
- Creating the Total Brand Experience - Starbucks
- 10 Proven Steps to Align Your Organization with Its Brand Promise
- Mastering the Art of Brand Engagement
- Brands and Core Values
- Brand Personality as a Point of Difference
- Marketing and the Deep Understanding of Human Behavior
- Brands and Humans
- Brands and Authenticity
- The Reemergence of Authenticity
- Brands and Emotional Connection
- Brands and Their Emotional Appeal
- Purpose Driven Brands
- Brands and Positive Emotions
- How Do You Want Your Brand to Impact its Customers?
- Brands and Empathy
- Brands and the Emotions They Evoke
- Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
- Brands and Freedom
- Brands and Belonging
- Mind Blowing Brands
- Brands and Tribalism
- Tribal Branding
- Brands are People Too
- Customer-Centric Branding
- Differentiating on the Unexpected
- What do people want?
- States of Mind
- Customer Service and Brand Perceptions