Marketing is more than data analytics or number crunches. It’s an emotion. And consumers connect with emotions. Be it a billion-dollar brand or a mere few cents, if it resonates, it’s sold out. While brands are purely inclined towards numbers and profits, they have to be people-centric. There has to be a message that reels consumers in, not pushing them away!
It means being genuine…empathetic. Connecting with the masses and seizing the moment but not manipulatively. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nike and Ikea stood out with powerful storytelling ads. A good example is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. The cold drink giant personalized its bottles with popular but common names, sparked conversations, and encouraged consumers to connect with each other. And then there was Airbnb’s “Open Homes” program, wherein hosts offered free accommodation to people impacted by natural disasters or humanitarian crises.
Heart-hitting strategies help brands personalize messaging, and evoke genuine compassion. It helps forge powerful consumer connections. In a world driven by social media and artificial intelligence, how can brands maintain empathy? Will this strategy continue to work? Well, empathetic marketing is an emotional approach, all about creating customer-centric content. This helps the customer connect with the brand. This strategy determines whether the customer will buy the product or service.
Brands need to step into their customer’s shoes to better understand their needs and wants. For this, they have to gain a deep understanding of who their customers really are, their likes, dislikes, their challenges, and motivations.
How Can This Be Done
By conversations – rather than telling the customer why they need the product or service, show them how the brand or its product or service helps them achieve a desired goal. Listen to them. Know and understand the customer first. Conduct surveys and market research. Prioritize the customer. Show that you are interested and create authentic connections, build stronger relationships.
Empathetic marketing is more than a strategy. It is a mindset that places people at the heart of the brand. It’s a transformative power that holds the brand and the customer. But most marketing managers rely on their biases and personal preferences, and not empathy. As said by Theodore Roosevelt “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. This basically means that customers will be more inclined to hear you if you show them that you understand their problems.
Moreover, people’s preferences differ from their declared choices. This is because most people tend to answer questions based on idealized versions of themselves. For example, an e-commerce company will have focus groups that ask users to take surveys. But they should also monitor the website users’ behaviors and compare results. Companies should have an insight into their customers’ browsing and purchasing habits.
Brands should use visual design to set the tone. The ability to understand others’ perspectives has always been paramount in marketing. A 2020 IPSOS study stated that 94 percent of respondents said empathy is important to making society work, while 85 percent said brands demonstrating real empathy is critical to creating customer loyalty. It needs to be demonstrated throughout the customer journey. According to the 2022 EcoConsultancy Future of Marketing Report, 60 percent of respondents agreed that the ability to navigate changing consumer behaviors and expectations will be significant to success.
To reach out to consumers or their target audience, brands deploy empathy in marketing. They can create content around simple scenarios, such as preparing scrumptious meal or enjoying the great outdoors with loved ones. In order to enhance the brand experience, the content has to be valuable. Add a touch of interactivity.
Empathy is crucial.