How do you build a brand? Often, businesses focus on their value proposition, appeal or look, and the design of their products. When they struggle, they get help from a full-service ad agency whose expertise allows them to understand their business and craft gorgeous, engaging messages.
But one of the best strategies is to delve deeper into a powerful human emotion: empathy.
What Is Empathy?
The word empathy is derived from the Greek word empatheia. Em means “in, into, or among,” and pathos, which implies “conveying” or “feeling.” Empathy is a trait that allows a person to understand or feel what the other is going through. Put it simply, empathy is the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes.P
Why Is Empathy Important to Marketing?
Imagine that you’re selling toilet paper, and your product is the most luxurious, softest tissue available. What do you think would happen if you told your customers, “We make the best toilet paper in all of human existence!” (I’m not quite sure what that would even mean, but let’s go with it.)
You would probably come across as pompous and full of yourself. On the other hand, if you said something like, “We understand that finding the perfect toilet paper is important to you, and we’re here to help,” you would sound much more empathetic.
When it comes to marketing, empathy is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. It allows you to connect with your customers more intimately, making them more likely to trust and buy from you. Studies have shown that businesses that can build an emotional connection with their customers enjoy higher customer loyalty and a greater return on investment.
Empathy also makes your brand relatable to your target market. People are more likely to buy from a company they feel understands them than one that seems indifferent or hostile.
Lastly, empathy helps you understand the needs of your customers more effectively. In the process, you can create a more consistent message throughout your marketing campaign, develop products and services that solve consumer problems, and provide superior customer service.
How Can You Be More Empathetic in Your Marketing?
Building an empathetic company doesn’t happen overnight. But these tips will help you achieve it:
1. Research Your Customers
You cannot connect with your customers if you don’t know who they are or what they want. Understanding your audience is especially important if you’re developing an empathic business brand. This type of brand is focused on understanding your customers’ needs and adapting to meet them.
According to author Stephen Covey, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” When it comes to empathy marketing, that means knowing what makes your audience tick and putting their interests above your own.
2. Engage With Your Customers
Once you understand your customers better, the next step to developing an empathic business brand is to engage with them. This does not mean simply using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
It means talking to people interested in what you have to offer. Engaging with customers could be as simple as asking their opinion on a new product or service, or it could be more involved, like hosting a focus group or survey.
3. Be Flexible and Adaptable
One of the hallmarks of an empathic business brand is its flexibility and adaptability. As customer needs change, so must your business. If you’re not willing to change with the times and roll with the punches, your business will quickly become irrelevant.
A great example of a brand adapted to changing customer needs is IKEA. Unlike other furniture stores, which sell you products and services and leave it at that, IKEA encourages its customers to assemble their furniture in-store. This simple change has opened up IKEA to a whole new market of customers who wouldn’t have considered buying furniture from them before.
4. Show Compassion and Concern
One of the most important things you can do to show that your business cares about its customers is to express compassion and concern. This could be as simple as sending out an email or social media post reminding your customers that you’re here for them, even when things are tough. It could also involve reaching out to help customers going through a difficult time.
5. Practice Gratitude
The last thing you can do to develop an empathic business brand is practice gratitude. This means being thankful for the customers you have and recognizing that they are the lifeblood of your business. It also means being grateful for the opportunities your company provides its customers. A great way to show gratitude is by thanking customers for their business, either in person or through social media.
Developing an empathic brand can be a challenge, but it’s well worth the effort. By understanding your customers and engaging with them, you can create a connection that will keep them coming back to you time and time again.