Your customer is loyal because of their emotional attachment to your product or service. Irrespective of whether we are talking about something desirable – champagne, perfume, the latest technology or something that is simply a necessity – cleaning products, household appliances or office stationery! As the CEO of Zappos.com says "every call is perceived as a way to make a positive emotional connection with a customer." So, what does "emotional connection" mean? How is it developed and what impact will it have on your business?
Emotional and psycho-dynamic factors have long been known to drive brand selection and loyalty. Even in today's price-sensitive economy, the imagery attached to brands goes far beyond product attributes, functional benefits and price. It's about capturing hearts and minds. It's moving your customer beyond retention, to commitment, delight and ultimately evangelism. According to Gallup, companies that embrace the customer in this way, not merely as a standalone activity, but in collaboration with brand and business strategy, outperform competitors by 26% in gross margin and 85% in sales growth.
The route to building emotional engagement, goes beyond merely acknowledging your customer preferences, to working diligently to understand their values, character, desires and ambitions. Only an insight-based, personalised marketing approach can form a strong enough bond with a brand, that evokes a personal, emotional reaction in customers. It is also important to understand that people aren’t either “emotional” or “unemotional.” Consumers are typically highly emotional about some brands and products while completely indifferent and “unattached” to others. Business customers are as emotional about their B2B purchases as car buyers, clothing shoppers, and holiday makers are about their selections.
Gallup, who have worked extensively to quantify the emotional connection benefit, cite a metric based on Confidence, Integrity, Pride and Passion; Confidence in the brand’s promise, belief in its Integrity, Pride in being a customer, and Passion for the brand. Ultimately it has uncovered the powerful financial consequences, ranging from share-of-wallet to frequency and amount of repeat business produced through fully engaged customers.
Moving forward, consider the emotions you wish to produce in your customer. Understanding the core emotional need is the most important element to emotional branding. It becomes part of your brand essence, being communicated across every touchpoint of your internal and external communications. It becomes the raison d'être of the brand.
It is important that messaging remains consistent, the brand story is reinforced at every level; this is particularly important at emotionally heightened touchpoints – customer services, social media, telephone helplines.