A recent PR Daily Post recaps the results of a new study by Customer Thermometer that speaks to the power of emotional consumer connections. Put simply, creating these connections can lead to big pay offs for brands. This includes a willingness for consumers to pay substantially more for products from companies that foster feelings of goodwill.
While creating strong emotional connections with brands can certainly pay off financially, they can also have a big impact on a brand’s reputation. It’s part of building an organization’s “trust bank” – a concept we focus on with many of our clients at Linhart PR. Brands with a stronger and deeper “trust bank” are better equipped to weather challenges or crises. That’s because consumers are more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt and remain loyal, even in the midst of a potentially reputation-damaging event.
The “trust bank” is built through emotional connections that make consumers feel good about a brand, and this must be done in a persistent, consistent and insistent way. Three practical ways of doing this include:
1. Champion a cause. Brands who stand for something and support a cause or issue in an authentic way show consumers that they have a heart. Supporting these types of businesses make consumers feel good, and who doesn’t like to feel good while making a purchase? TOMS is a classic example of how doing good can be good business.
2. Stay on message. Fostering loyalty and likeability takes time. For this reason, it’s important that brands have strong and consistent messaging that is shared across their channels. The more a brand says something (as long it acts accordingly), the more consumers associate that brand with the message. This idea is exemplified in Nordstrom’s unwavering dedication to customer service – and the legendary stories that go along with it.
3. Be real. It sounds simple, but many brands – especially the biggest ones – have lost the ability to be/sound/act human with consumers. As our firm’s founder Sharon Linhart famously says “people do business with people they like.” This principle requires that brands not only act like people, but likeable people. Brands that engage in dialogue with consumers win here. Jet Blue does a great job of this on social media.
The bottom line is that we buy from and are loyal to brands we feel good about. Creating emotional consumer connections takes work, but is worth the effort.