Are you wondering how a person can have empathy for a brand, a product or a service given neither has a beating heart, a head full of emotions or metaphorical shoes to walk in? 

Cutting to the chase, brands are living, breathing personalities…or at least they should be.  Although emotional connectivity fuels these brand personas, they are guided by insights and data about their unique consumer audience.

Creating brand empathy today is everything.  In terms of protecting and building brand equity, it’s more than just producing snarky 140-character messages or celebrity-clad selfies that break the internet. It’s about creating a standard for a more authentic brand experience across all touch points.  It’s about understanding your customer and knowing how to communicate with them.  It’s about delivering those incredible ‘you get me’ moments to your consumers.  It’s not hype-centered but emotionally centered.

What’s more?  Empathy sells. A recent study of 880 campaigns found that emotional campaigns outsell informational ones by 19 percent.

If consumers feel indifferent or emotionless about a company, the cause is usually the brand strategy or the lack thereof.  Maybe the brand is too solely focused on product-based marketing efforts, such as having the cheapest price, offering coupons and rebates or ‘pay to play’ advertising.  This creates a weak consumer-brand relationship that is simply transactional.

As brands become more and more integrated into our everyday interactions with social media, mobile platforms and online content, consumers have become more selective about what companies they associate with and pledge loyalty to.  Brands without an emotional connection can find themselves in serious trouble.  As consumers, we are not just persuaded by the “price” of a product.  We are moved by the benefits of the product and perceived personal value; that’s often our reason for purchasing.

At the end of the day, brand empathy, much like person-to-person empathy is open to scientific interpretation.  Whether it’s a visceral trigger or cognitive reaction, what remains indisputable is that brand’s that foster meaningful, emotional engagement and a tight-knit consumer community have a much greater likelihood of sustained customer loyalty.

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