Connecting with customers is hard…but you already know that don’t you! The main goal of a brand is to connect with their target audience, to get their attention and convince them to buy the product or service….but you already know that don’t you!
The trouble is, many brands think that customers base their decisions on rational thinking. It’s not absurd to think people analyse the product and research the key features before buying, however, most of customer’s actions are driven more by emotions. It is well known that emotions affect human behaviour, you only have to look at the behaviour of someone who’s got up on the wrong side of bed, slamming doors and stomping feet to see this in action. But perhaps less well known, is just how much out emotions effect our buying behaviour.
What is an emotional connection?
An emotional connection captures people’s hearts and minds. This means a brand will try and make their customer feel something, whether that is happiness, nostalgia, or sadness. By doing so they are making their customer connect the brand with this feeling. These decisions are made in the subconscious mind and therefore the customer does not realise why they choose a specific product.
Why is this important?
It’s branding 101, but we’ll go through it anyway to it’s clear. It has been said, in the Brand Keys 2012 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, that if a customer has an emotional attachment to a brand then this increases the brand loyalty. Take for example Heinz baked beans, many people they have been eating Heinz beans since they were a child. The supermarkets now offer a very similar product at a much lower price. However people continue to buy Heinz because they know and they trust the brand. But more than that, the nostalgic element, Heinz takes people back to happy moments in their childhood. This is the strong emotional connection that is so powerful.
So how does your business make an emotional connection?!
Making the emotional connection is the hard part, and it takes some very considerable thought. To do this you need to really understand your target audience. This isn’t a case of male or female, or old or young, these stereotypes just don’t work anymore. A brand now has to dig deeper, they need to find out about their audience’s desires, their hope and dreams. Consider who your customer really is, what do they like doing and where / how they grow up. With all this information you can start to form a fuller picture of their motivations and target them accordingly.
When making a connection, think about more than just the advertising and packaging. Think about the overall impression you are giving, from the type of language you use on your social media accounts to the tone of voice when picking up the phone. Having respect for the customer at all times and listening to their wants and needs will lend itself to you being a trustworthy brand that the customer will feel more comfortable buying from.
Choosing what emotions you want your customers to feel, and what messages you want to convey is key to any business. Today, advertising surrounds people and so they start to become numb to it. Therefore, a product or service needs to stand out from the rest, this doesn’t necessarily mean being bright, bold and shouting about itself, but rather by being different and forming a strong connection between product and customer.
About the Author: David Richards is an expert in business. Now working at the UK-based facilities services business Direct 365, he continues to exert his knowledge and wisdom gained from over two decades of running or advising on effective marketing companies.