Creating a deep emotional connection with your customers and earning their strong positive attitude toward your brand is a result of the empathy infused between you and them.
The good part of the pandemic
What is my purpose? This is the first question we must ask ourselves as people, and especially as business owners. Many will say that your business purpose is to generate profit. But to sell is not a purpose, is the consequence of your well-done job.
Today, starting a new business implies more things you need to think about than just “What?”, “How?” or “How much”.
Fighting over numbers and market share won’t guarantee your success. You need something more in order to cut through the noise and offer differentiation in an arena already occupied by big-budget brands or established competition.
And that is EMOTION!
A brand that becomes a protagonist in clients’ lives, by helping them overcome their very own obstacles, and guide them in finding the treasure of their journey, is a brand which will be remembered.
What better context to put this ideology in action if not the pandemic? A time when we all felt isolated, alone, scared, unassured. It was the perfect time for brands to play a different role in the story: putting customers first and products second.
From a personal (professional) perspective
The pandemic found me working for the European office of Jaguar Land Rover, managing the marketing departments of six markets. Nevertheless, despite the internationally renowned brands and the very flattering title of the corporate job, at the end of last year I decided to return to want I most love: brand strategy & workshop facilitation as an independent consultant.
The first three months of the pandemic were the most creative for me and the teams I worked with. Suddenly there were no global campaigns to implement. Thus, we had much more freedom to “play” locally, while respecting certain parameters and standards. And we had the perfect playground to try a new approach — giving our customers hope and confidence by creating more emotional, more supportive, and more mindful campaigns.
Emotional communication shapes new philosophies…
For the first time, brands all over the world had to readjust their messages over night, to shift the focus from the product to the consumer.
At Jaguar Land Rover, we encouraged our customers to stay home and enjoy adventures or travels in a different way. We created campaigns that enabled them to travel imaginatively or virtually, we gave them a sense of thrill and anticipation for what for what would happen when the pandemic was over.
We had to create virtual showrooms very quickly, to establish interactions with the customers in a much more digital [RER2] way. Even if digitalising the customers experience was part of our plans for some time, the pandemic actually forced us to put those plans in place sooner.
… and crafts true emotions
It was easy to notice that brands were somehow forced to change their strategies and readjust. I admired that the agility of an entrepreneurial business was suddenly adopted in the corporate world as well. This has helped everyone to get out of a slow and lukewarm way of doing things, both locally and globally. We all squeezed out ideas and creativity.
Suddenly, brands were more supportive of each other. Let’s not forget that it was Burger King that encouraged consumers to eat at McDonald’s.
I think this was the biggest benefit of the pandemic: the fact that there was not so much talk about consumerism and numbers, about targets, but rather about emotions, well-being, a global cause that united us all equally.
The messages were also much more supportive. Nike had a campaign in which it invited its customers as content creators. Another heart-warming campaign made by Amazon was The Show Must Go On.
Many more human messages came to light and the hearts of the brands were opened. For a while, we got out of that very strict paradigm of numbers. As Simon Sinek says “Stand for people. Not a product or service or metric or number. If we stand for real, living, breathing people, we will change the world.”
Finally, brands initiated conversations about what is important to their consumer and how they can give them hope and confidence. Brands started finding their true purposes.
In the end, I believe people in companies have become more humane. They realized that they could get out of the shell and out of the strict standards of sales and be true with their own emotions. Don’t you think?