Creative advertising is an effective way to build a client base, and one of the tools today's companies have is building an emotional connection with customers. In a world where social media makes the average consumer feel very connected to large corporate brands, an emotional connection can prove incredibly valuable to fledgling businesses.
Big Brands Already Rely Upon an Emotional Connections
Building an emotional connection with customers isn't just an activity for small businesses. Billion-dollar international companies use this strategy often, and they're experts in making people believe that a giant corporation has feelings and cares about their well-being.
While corporate responsibility and other generous activities may mark a business as particularly sensitive to the needs of its customers, there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Big business thrives on sustainable customer relationships that last years and build brand loyalty.
An article published by Forbes reveals:
"To create valuable, sustainable customer relationships, great brands don’t sell customers on contracts—they seduce them with connections. Impactful, memorable, emotional connections lead to true brand loyalty."
The article goes on to describe efforts by airline Virgin America to build loyalty with its customers. The company has a goal to provide each customer with an "unforgettable experience," and they've built a reputation on providing an exceptional flying experience with their customers.
What's incredible is that the airline doesn't always offer the lowest fares, and yet repeat customers don't seem to care. By promoting a culture of caring about the customer, Virgin America has built a fiercely loyal customer base with a true, emotional connection to the company.
Purchases are Made with Emotions
Appealing to your customer's emotions might actually offer better results than providing simple facts and figures about a product. One article from Communico Ltd. reveals:
"Most think that customers make buying decisions with a rational approach, analyzing details like features and financials. Not true. Over 50% of an experience is based on emotions. Emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions and behavior. And, they impact behavior far more than technical or functional factors."
Even if someone says they're not an emotional person who bases purchases and decisions off the way he or she feels, tugging at the heart strings is still an effective technique.
Establishing an Emotional Connection with a Brand
There are many ways your business can boost emotional connections with customers. Often, these methods don't require a hefty investment, and they're valuable at any stage of a company's growth and development. Here are some things to consider as you develop a strategy for winning the emotional hearts of your customers.
Focus on long-term relationships instead of quick profits.
Some people form emotional connections very quickly, and others take time to build a rapport with other people. The same is true for businesses, so it's important to consider these efforts as a long-term strategy. Don't lure customers in with a quick sale and then fail to follow up with reasons your customers should shop at your store in the future. Essentially, don't put revenues ahead of relationships.
Engage the customer's emotions with personal attention.
A large behemoth of a company still manages to tug at the heart-strings of its customers. How does it accomplish this feat? One method is to provide individual attention during each transaction. This might mean using humans to route calls during customer service incidents or using a greater number of sales associates in a retail store to improve the customer-to-associate ratio.
Make sure the customer is at the top of every list.
When we think of large corporations, we often think of stock options and profits. However, companies that grow yet keep the individual customer at the top of every list of priorities often do better than their competitors. Everything about the company should focus on pleasing the customer.
An article on Entrepreneur reveals:
"…the owner of coffee shop Java Man in Hermosa Beach, Calif., has realized many patrons visit while walking their dogs. To create an emotional bond, the owner provides fresh water in bowls, thereby making coffee customers extremely happy that someone cared enough to also give their thirsty dogs a drink."
Another interesting example of this approach is Wells Fargo, which doesn't have a sky-high reputation (banks rarely do), but does tell the customer that the company does value them. Their website says, "Our success depends on how much our team members care for their customers." That's a definitive statement of a company's dedication to its customers.
Respect goes a long way.
There's no question that a company must respect its customers if it's to build rapport and appreciation, but the same is important for the company, internally. For example, the management team should show employees the same respect those employees show for their superiors. It's only after a company creates a culture of respect within its ranks that it can deliver that respect to its customers.
Change, Listen, Interact, and Update
As you develop a plan for securing the hearts and minds of your customers, it's important that you continue to think about what your customers want. Don't build a healthy brand relationship only to sabotage it by not listening to the customer. Adapting is essential in modern business because tastes, opinions, and beliefs change, particularly when you consider that your loyal customer base ages even as you add new, younger customers to the mix.
Social media offers businesses an exceptional opportunity to build brand loyalty and an emotional connection, and it's also a terrific option for soliciting opinions and information from customers. Asking customers about their experience with your company also builds loyalty because customers love knowing that their opinions count. Everyone has a voice, and getting to use that voice is a very satisfying experience.
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