How do you make an emotional connection with your customers to create an authentic relationship and increase brand awareness?
Telling Customer Success Stories is one very effective way.
We all love stories. Stories that engage, arouse emotions, and create memories, even bring tears or a smile are very useful in drawing customers in and creating meaningful connections.
Creating an emotional connection
The other week when doing some research into creating an emotional connection I found a brilliant, standout story used by Google in India that shows how to do this. It was used in a 2013 ad campaign. So powerful, I found tears welling up in my eyes as I watched it. I am sure I will never forget that story.
The ad tells the story of two friends separated by the India-Pakistan partition and brought back together 60 years later, thanks to Google Search. The story told in Hindi, draws you in, connects with your emotions and creates those subconscious memory tags. With memories of partition still raw in the eyes of Google’s target market the connection with Google Search is very real, authentic and connects you emotionally to the Google brand.
You can watch the ad on YouTube using the following link Google Search: Reunion
This is a great example of how to create that special emotional connection with your brand.
I would love to hear what you think.
The value of emotional connection
Looking back as a last century, old-world banker, where relationships mattered, and you lent money on the person and the numbers were secondary. It is easy to see why people didn’t rush and change banks over a difference in interest rate, fees or some other transactional problem. There was a deep emotional connection passed down through the generations. Dad had got his start at the Bank, or the Bank had stood by him when business had got tough. Remembering unlike today, credit was once rationed, and the assistance was really valued. I can recall deep, very proud family relationships going back more than 80 years.
In business, there were genuine relationships with your Bank. Your Bank Manager was actively involved, with regular visits, reviews and in providing help and advice as the business grew or struggled through downturns and recessions. The relationship was frank, honest and not always easy. Customers were not always happy, yet they remained loyal and patient. It is easy to see how these emotional connections mattered.
In “An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction,” August 29, 2016, a Harvard Review Case Study by Alan Zorfas and Daniel Leemon the value of emotional connection is well explained. I encourage you to read it as it explains it way better than I could ever do.
Of interest were the many examples of businesses that had made significant improvements in sales performance based on the emotional connection with the customer experience. It wasn’t about the transaction itself, or even the customer’s satisfaction in the interactions. Instead, the emotional connection established with the customer was shown to be the most powerful way to improve customer value.
How you engage is important
There are many ways of creating that emotional connection. One way could be through regular communications, newsletters and blog posts. Sharing authentic customer stories, containing flaws and challenges makes it easy for customers to relate and connect emotionally. After all, we all have our faults, and it is easy for the customer to see themselves in the story.
Think about how you engage. Are the communications all about you, or do they add value? Do you regularly survey customers to find out what they want, value and need? Do you encourage interaction? How do you get the customer involved so they feel invested in your brand?
Simple things like Birthday Cards, Christmas or Happy Holiday Cards, or Thank you for your business cards as corny, or as old fashioned as they may sound build an emotional connection and loyalty hooks. It shows you are thinking about them and care. And, I am not talking about those cards that go out and contain an offer. I am talking about old fashioned, hand-penned cards, with a personal note that is sent out with a stamp.
In business, you achieve an emotional connection with a smile. Taking a personal interest in the customer and relating on a personal level. Have a genuine conversation. Add value. Provide extra information. Offer a solution to a problem, advice, or an introduction. When something goes wrong, provide constant updates and feedback while providing a better than expected outcome.
Think about your onboarding processes for new customers. How do you handle the post-sale follow-up? Or, complaint handling? Is it a digital experience? Does a human get involved and provide feedback, follow up and get the problem resolved? Is there an interaction that shows you care? Do you follow up with a gift or something special? How do you stand out as different from your competitors? Do you have a relationship with your customers? Or, is it purely transactional?
Emotionally connected customers are twice as valuable than highly satisfied customers
In the research, Zorfas and Leemon found, “On a lifetime value basis, emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers.” They discovered these customers buy more, return more frequently, and are less price-sensitive. They were found to be more likely to refer customers and to listen to marketing communications and advice. In other words, all the main profit multipliers were shown to improve with resultant improvement in financial performance.
If the customer feels special and unique, they are going to feel attached and become very loyal. Make them feel part of a select group or tribe. Create a connection with regular newsletters and communications. Highlight successes and other news. Include stories about your customers. Glorify customers who have referred business to you. Give early insights into product and service changes. Give them productivity and self-improvement tips. Offer special group discounts and invites to events, Etc., Etc.
After all, having an emotionally invested customer will pay dividends for years to come.
The power to emotionally connect with customers is in your hands. You can focus on the transaction and most do. However, I would encourage you to think about how you as a corporation or business owner emotionally connect with your customers? How do you make it feel personal? How do you show you care? How do you make them feel special and that they belong? Do this and you will be well rewarded.