Customer emotion: at the heart of branding strategies
Published on : 11/10/2017 in Customer loyalty, Marketing & CRM By : Laëtitia Baret Tags :

Customer emotion: at the heart of branding strategies

Chatbots, artificial intelligence, process automation, big data, selfcare…These are all incontrovertible proof that we are living in the era of technology. What place is left for emotion in this technological mix? Are we doomed to live in a world of reason, productivity, devoid of any feelings?

It would appear that the technological shift initiated some time ago has become a source of concern. Consumers feel a need for reassurance, a need to bring the human factor back. The same applies for Customer Relationship Management! Last week I attended the Customer Relationship Excellence reward ceremony, hosted by AFRC. This ceremony was dedicated to “Emotions above all”…

Customer emotions: all brands want it… But how can they achieve it?

In his book The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio explains that the depth of memorialization depends on the intensity of a feeling (I encourage you to read a very interesting article on this published by the Harvard Business Review France Customer Relationship: it’s the feeling that matters). If I am terrified of snakes and end up face to face with one, chances are, I will remember this experience for a long time! The same goes for intense anger, intense joy or deep sorrow. Brands have certainly understood this. They leverage this to ensure consumers remember their brand. Because, yes, the path to purchase is mainly rational, however, emotions do have a part to play.

To achieve this, they rely on a wide array of well-known Marketing techniques.

Sensory Marketing, for example, is used to target consumers’ senses to create emotion (diffuse an attractive scent of fresh bread near the bakery and confectionery aisle of a supermarket, or entrancing music in a clothes store to push customers to buy).

Communication messages, too, have evolved: they play on customers’ emotions. In a previous post, we discussed the issue of the trend of “Marketing imperfections”. Recently, Volkswagen, which found itself embroiled in controversy amidst the emissions scandal, engineered a large-scale advertising campaign, posting large billboards all around soccer stadiums featuring the slogan “no world champion is infallible”. Was this to rehabilitate Volkswagen amidst its legal issues, or out of compassion with the French national football team which was facing controversy of its own at the time? The story does not say.

Another technique which plays on customer emotions is Community Marketing. Some brands excel in this field, such as Harley Davidson, for example, which has built and sustains a community of consumers through rallies, goodies and other initiatives which foster a sense of belonging to this tribe of bearded bikers 🙂

How can you convey emotion in your relationship with your customers?

In Customer Relationship, emotion can be conveyed at each step of the customer journey. In stores, of course, the ideal place to “stage” an experience. Fortunately, that is not the only place you can achieve this!

Emotion can be conveyed through a mass email campaign, for example. Segment your audiences as finely as possible, choose your words carefully, tailor your content. Organize events to build your community, develop a sense of belonging. Train your teams. What better feeling for your customers than to hear a smile at the other end of the line?

Customer emotion: a new skill?

In the run-up to the E-DEAL CRM Day, an event we host every year for our community ;-), I had the opportunity to talk to several Customer Relationship experts. Many of them underlined the importance of the human factor in Customer Relationship Management. Even with the most advanced technological developments, Customer Relationship Management is, and always will be, a relationship between two human beings. At a time where customer service is relying more and more on chatbots, what role will human advisors play? And maybe “emotion” is the way to go… Advisers are there to deliver emotion to your customers, and share a moment of friendly, human interaction. In short, the weapon of choice to build loyalty… as long as it is used wisely!

Have you ever given thought to the customer emotion you deliver? How do you convey it?

 

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