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2020 has been a wild year for everyone. Competition has been fiercer than ever. And while some businesses are trying to get on their feet, others are ramping up marketing spend to recoup revenue. Consumers, too, are re-examining where they spend their money.
Customers are 3 times more likely to purchase and recommend your product or service if they have an emotional connection with your brand. And these days, that emotional connection is more important than ever.
The brands which thrive the most will be those that can forge emotional connections with their customers, that will foster retention and loyalty. With that in mind, we asked 22 experts "how to create emotional connections with your brand".
The 22 experts gave answers that revolved around these 6 areas:
- Tell Authentic Stories
- Remember the Human
- Embrace Personalization
- Be Real
- Understand your Audience
- Nurture a Relationship
Let's see what they shared:
Tell Authentic Stories
Nike tells authentic stories to create emotional connections with their brand
1. Be vulnerable; talk about the real struggles
By Adam Enfroy, AdamEnfroy.com
Brands need to hone in on their own hero's journey and tell a compelling, emotional story that connects with their audience.
On My Story page, I don't brag about professional accomplishments. Instead I go deep into my life's story and speak to the real struggles I faced that got me to where I am today. People crave authenticity, and brands need to tell true, vulnerable, human stories.
2. Find a story people can identify and relate to
By Nikola Baldikov, Brosix
Humans are social creatures, and storytelling is an incredibly effective tool to build emotional connections between people.
We have an urge to feel connected, part of a larger group, and seeing ourselves in someone else’s story allows us to do just that. Businesses who tell an engaging story that people can identify with will go a long way to building strong emotional connections with their customers.
If you can connect with people through the story you tell about your business- from the founding story, to the mission and values, to way you do business- you’ll have them hooked.
3. Create trust and forge real connections with verifiable testimonials
By Tope Longe, Biteable
Video marketing is one of the most effective ways to make an emotional connection with customers. I'd use the example of a testimonial video to illustrate how video marketing can help businesses make an instant emotional connection with their audience.
Anyone can write a blurb praising their product, take a picture of a stranger, and stick them together. Video empowers businesses to take word-of-mouth marketing to the next level.
A video is harder to fake. It shows a real person, willing to associate their face and name with a brand. It creates trust and helps forge a real connection between the viewer, the person in the video, and the company.
Remember the Human
Frank Body has a very human, relatable brand
4. Communicate with your customers in a personal and human way
By Phil Forbes, Packhelp
Handwriting always triggers a feeling of 'something special'. As time consuming as it may be, a handwritten note that says 'hey [name], thanks for choosing us' shows that someone took time to learn your name, write it on a card, and deliver it to you. It takes all of 13 seconds to do so, but is a massive step in making a personal, human to human connection.
5. Unveil your humanity to customers
By Vartika Kashyap, ProofHub
Show your customers the human side of your business.
Focus on creating content that tells authentic stories about your people and your brand, and how you are working to find solutions to the challenges that your customers face in everyday life. Whether it is interacting with your customers on social media, taking support queries or putting stories about your brand out there - be authentic, and let your human side come in front of your customers.
This is what we at ProofHub emphasize when creating content for our project management software; and it has worked pretty well.
6. Show interest in your customer's life
By Roger Vaughn, SwiftCloud
Ask open questions about THEIR goals. For example - when I was a mortgage banker, and people wanted a loan, they didn't care that much about the loan - it was just a tool to reach their goals.
As soon as they started talking about the house they were buying, or why they needed the cash, etc - they transferred that enthusiasm to me. At the beginning, it's best to assume clients don't care one bit about us. That's harsh, but a good place to start. After they associate you to how you'll help them reach their goals, they then transfer that love and emotion to you.
7. Know their pain points and show that you care
By Hugh Beaulac, MC2
One of the best ways to create an emotional connection with your customers is to know their pain points and show that you care about them.
Here at MC2, we know that our customers have neither time nor desire to finish their homework. Back in 2019, we collected a list of homework memes every student would love. The post went viral and it became the most visited page. The best part? Visitors felt understood, so they were more likely to choose our service over competitors.
8. Interact with your customers
By Iris De Geest, Survey Anyplace
To create an emotional connection with your customers, it's important to show that you care about them. In a human relationship, you show engagement by asking how the other person is doing.
You'll probably take it a step further by responding in the form of a new question, advice or confirmation. That's how you build partnership, loyalty and trust. With an assessment you can ask your customer the right questions and reproduce a human conversation on a professional level with your business.
Your customers will feel heard, especially if you give them useful tips and tricks, tailored to their specific situation. And you? You have gathered important data about your customer, that you can store in your system and use to nurture the emotional relationship with your customers!
9. Just be human
By Joyce Chou, Compose.ly
The key to building an emotional connection with customers is simply being human. Being human means being empathetic toward your target audience and showing that you understand and can relate to their challenges.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this more important than ever.
Compose.ly experienced this firsthand in early 2020, during the coronavirus’s initial outbreak in the U.S. A number of our clients understandably fell into difficult situations and sought to terminate their contracts early. But our team was understanding and adjusted the early termination penalties to better align with the pandemic’s extenuating circumstances.
This decision has helped to enhance customers’ relationships with Compose.ly. Our B2B content creation platform has continued to grow because our customers feel validated and cared for—and are happy to share this with their own colleagues.
Sephora‘s Beauty Insider engages customers on a personal level
10. Personalize your communication with customers
By Arusik Ghambaryan, The Crowdfunding Formula
People make their purchases emotionally, then justify them with logic. So, I’d like to share with you 3 juicy tactics that we use in our email marketing to achieve this:
- Personalization: Everyone on your subscriber list is different, and your email should sound like it touches each of them personally.
- Sending birthday emails: Research shows that companies that send out personalized offers on their prospect's birthdays get 324% more revenue per email than other email campaigns.
- Dark mode in design: Marketers have to keep a close eye on some micro-optimizations so that every email in their campaign is equally accessible in both light and dark modes as design = emotions and emotions = design.
11. Personalize each person's experience with your brand
By Altynai Ibraimova, Growave
Personalization is the key. In our case, we did this by customizing Growave for each of our customers. We realized that the needs of your customers are as various as their businesses are, which is why it is crucial to be able to adjust to them.
As a result, the personalized experience we strived to give them has helped us to not only make a better product but also foster a long-lasting connection between our customers and our brand.
So to all businesses out there I would strongly recommend to put as much effort as you can in creating a personalized experience. This can mean improving your customer support, tailoring the product to each client or just simply sharing your customers' stories on your blog.
Halo Top says what we’re tall thinking: we want the whole pint
12. Engage with people authentically
By Keller Tiemann, Leadsurance
The best way to emotionally connect with customers is to engage them authentically. Some good ways to be authentic when engaging with customers is to take a moment to talk about general aspects of life rather than 100% business topics.
An example is the simple rapport-building tactic used by many salespeople at the beginning of a phone call. Ie: mentioning the city your customer lives in and asking them, what brought them to that city?
Learning why they moved to a city could open up doors to talk about their family or recreational hobbies, and both of these topics would help to create an emotional connection with customers.
13. Be honest with your audience
By James Rose, Content Snare
So many brand messages and conversations are watered down out of worry that someone will take it the wrong way.
If you are honest with your audience, including any strong, relevant opinions that you have, you'll build stronger, emotional connections. Sure, some people might not like it, but the ones that do will remember it.
Despite this I still often catch myself watering down my writing. Then I remember how many people have reached out to say thank you in the past, because of honest opinions that have saved them time or headache. That's always a good motivator to tell it like it is.
14. Have a friendly attitude
By Andre Oentoro, Breadnbeyond
When it comes to emotional connection building, I rely heavily on our genuine customer-friendly attitude.
We talk to them like an old friend so our brand and the customers can open up a new level of understanding and connection.
Of course, in the business, we need to be professional and probably use respectful or appropriate language. But, we noticed, it doesn’t mean that we have to totally abandon our authentic human self.
Giving customers a delightful experience with our customer-friendly attitude is probably one of the main reasons why they keep coming back for our service.
15. Use well-timed humor
By Mehdi Hussen, SalesHandy
I have always found humor to be a good way to create an emotional connection. Humor creates great recall value. A well-timed humorous post can brighten up the user’s day. And it will stand out from the crowd.
I won’t forget the ads that Coke and Pepsi played against each other for Halloween. It is pretty old, still fresh in my mind.
Understand your Audience
16. Identify your audience's emotional triggers
By Valerie Frolova, Snov.io
Building an emotional connection with your customers might be extremely hard, especially when the audience is diverse. So we suggest identifying your customers’ drives and adjusting your approach to every client at all stages of the sales funnel.
What emotionally motivates your target market? Do they want to succeed? Do they want to feel secure? Or do they want to be perceived as special?
Identify concerns, pain points, and common values. Identify when in the sales funnel you’re more likely to make an emotional connection. Also, personalize your approach based on what you’ve found and appeal to your audience’s emotions. And most importantly, ensure that the solution that you offer is valuable to your clients and can address their pain points.
17. Build an empathetic brand culture
By Vineet Gupta, ProProfs
At ProProfs, we have always strived to build an empathetic culture by keeping customer pain points at the forefront.
For instance, our Help desk tool is designed keeping the same philosophy in mind. Customers hate the idea of waiting and to tackle this problem our users can prioritize every support ticket for better and faster responses.
18. Understand your customer
By Amanda Thomas, Konstruct Digital
The first step in building a campaign that creates an emotional connection is understanding your customer and what their triggers might be.
When developing your customer persona, it’s important to identify:
- Pain Points
It’s usually with anxieties and desires where the opportunity to create emotional connection exists.
Once anxieties and desires are identified, campaign creative can be developed aligned with that.
We’ll typically A/B test campaigns on both sides of the spectrum to find which resonates the best and results in the most successful campaign. Focus groups can also be helpful in ensuring your emotional connection is hitting the right mark.
19. Know the psychographic build of your target market
By Joe Robison, WhatsTheHost
A brand must understand the psychographic makeup of their customers; not just age, gender and ethnicity but wants, beliefs, interest, desires, affiliations, and more.
Smart companies are building brands that encourage and inspire. The best example of this is Nike. They don’t advertise its latest running shoe - instead, they feature everyday athletes doing their best.
This is aspirational marketing, where a better future is shown, with the model person that could be a stand-in for their target consumer. Peloton ads are a great example - showing slim, beautiful, successful people riding their exercise bikes.
At a lower level, even upstart brands can do much better building an emotional connection with customers by truly focusing on what they want, and what their desires are - to be healthy, to look good - rather than the product itself.
Nurture a Relationship
Lululemon’s free yoga classes builds customer-brand relationship
20. Always ensure stellar customer support
By François Mommens, Linkody
I believe excellent customer support is paramount. That is why as the founder, I am also the person providing it. With new customers I generally answer using the same tone they use in their question. If the tone is professional, or on the contrary relaxed, I will model my tone accordingly.
I believe this helps build a connection by fulfilling an initial expectation. As the conversation evolves, the tone can become more personal.
21. Know how your product solves the needs of your target audience
By Angelina Harper, Really Simple Systems
It is important to understand how your product is helping users to solve their needs. With that in mind, you can create a specific way of communication on social media channels, in your emails and on your website.
It is not important to focus just on words for creating an emotional connection, so you should think about the way you are using visual branding, packaging, etc. Remember that every little effort like a simple thank you note also counts.
22. Stick to a consistent communication theme across different platforms
By Denise Langenegger, Instasize
We build stronger emotional connections through consistent visual design.
When brands use a theme to communicate across different platforms, they are one step closer to creating a long-lasting relationship with their audience. A campaign that is recognizable in terms of colors, text styles, and tone is bound to get more reactions from your target audience.
It is also important to pay attention to the visual elements that your audience is naturally drawn to.
For example, if you want to target the travel-loving market, incorporating map elements, compass illustrations, or even passport stamps into your borders will incite a longing for travel, thus capturing their attention.
To build an emotional connection with your audience, remember to pick a consistent theme and let meaningful visual design do the talking.
Bonus: Don't Try to Be Everything All at Once
by Drew Cheneler, SimpleMoneyLyfe
Consumers are becoming far smarter and are demanding authenticity. Brands can no longer 'fake it to they make it.' But instead, they need to find their strengths, exploit them, and evoke emotions across their entire brand. It is easy to tell the difference between an authentic brand versus a brand that keeps pivoting their messaging strategy in hopes of connecting with their target market.
Once you identify your brand voice and strengths, it is easy to add persuasion, evoke an emotional connection, and market to consumers. Brands that are real and can back up their claims, will connect with their audience, share compelling stories routinely, and will maintain their competitive advantage.
That's a wrap!
Nike tells authentic stories to build emotional connections with their customers. And Frank body uses a relatable brand persona to engage the emotions of their audience.
Aside from being world famous companies, these two brands have one thing in common and it's the use of emotional connections to grow their business.
You can do the same, as the experts have weighed in on how you can create emotional connections with your customers to stay afloat in such tough times. So here’s a quick recap of what the 21 experts shared on how to create emotional connections with your customers:
- 1. Be vulnerable; talk about the real struggles
- 2. Find a story people can identify and relate to
- 3. Create trust and forge real connections with verifiable testimonials
- 4. Communicate with your customers in a personal and human way
- 5. Unveil your humanity to customers
- 6. Show interest in your customer's life
- 7. Know their pain points and show that you care
- 8. Interact with your customers
- 9. Just be human
- 10. Personalize your communication with customers
- 11. Personalize each person's experience with your brand
- 12. Engage with people authentically
- 13. Be honest with your audience
- 14. Have a friendly attitude
- 15. Use well-timed humor
- 16. Identify your audience's emotional triggers
- 17. Build an empathetic brand culture
- 18. Understand your customer
- 19. Know the psychographic build of your target market
- 20. Always ensure stellar customer support
- 21. Know how your product solves the needs of your target audience
- 22. Stick to a consistent communication theme across different platforms
For more, take out the time to look at our other ideas in our expert roundup series.