An effective marketing message has roots buried deep in human emotions. When brands inspire happy, sad, afraid/surprised, or angry/disgusted feelings, consumers remember and often take immediate action in response to their emotions. A moving picture on social media or a powerful political stance might be enough for some companies, but you these four simple tactics could increase consumer affinity for your brand.
1. User Experience
The most effective user experience involves looking for moments where design can positively affect a person’s emotions. Details like form submission acknowledgments, status updates, or intuitive interfaces can build trust between the end user and your brand. (Machine Design) It’s important to base your decisions on data, rather than assumptions about your end user.
In Analyzing usage: Visualizing end-user workflows to drive product development, Pierre Montagano suggests conducting research with questions like “Where are my end users coming from? How do users behave in a platform? What drives engagement? And what creates disengagement? How do I make my platform more efficient for users?”
A moderate increase in Customer Experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues. (Temkin Group)
One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes applies to almost every interaction I have in life, including when I’m creating something for a client.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Focusing on how people experience your brand dramatically impacts the emotions consumers feel for your company and how they share those feelings with others.
2. Individual Conversations
You may have thousands of customers, but even treating one person poorly is the quickest way to build a bad reputation, particularly with the prevalence of social media. Thankfully, social media also presents an incredible opportunity to have positive interactions with a customer in a way that humanizes your brand.
67% of consumers used a company’s social media site for servicing. (Sprout Social)
When you can help solve a problem someone is facing, other people notice your excellent customer service whether through seeing your Twitter responses or by hearing the satisfied customer describe the interaction. Today, referrals exist in digital spaces as well as a client dinner. LinkedIn reports that 76% of B2B buyers prefer to work with recommendations from their professional network. Leveraging a strategic investment in a solid social media strategy can have a positive impact on your bottom line as you begin to build these authentic, positive moments with individuals.
Keith Grossman, global chief revenue officer at Bloomberg Media shared the moment he recognized the power of individual interactions with AdWeek: “I realized that if you humanize your brand and show the consumer base that you care about them it’s a far better place to be in.”
3. Cause Marketing
in 1983, American Express Travel Services first coined the term “cause-related marketing” to describe the marketing tactic leveraging charitable efforts to improve a company’s reputation. Connecting your company with a meaningful purpose has a big impact the cause you support and on how consumers perceive your brand.
77% of consumers feel a stronger emotional connection to Purpose-driven companies over traditional companies, 79% say they are more loyal and 73% are willing to defend that company. (2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study)
In “The Triple Win of Cause Marketing,” author Michael Guld illustrates how an individual feels positively about participating in cause-related campaigns. “Consider… a bank’s campaign featuring a picture of a woman with the headline, ‘I opened a checking account and helped find a cure.’ For every new checking account opened… the bank would donate $100 in the customer’s name to the charity of [their] choice. Bank customers feel good about making a difference, the bank builds their reputation as a good corporate citizen and the non-profits receive additional funding they otherwise would not have had.” (American Salesman)
When selecting a nonprofit to tie with your brand, be sure to consider not only what causes you are passionate about but who your customers would like to support, the reliability of the organization, and the relationship to existing brand messages.
The number one issue in the eyes of all young Americans surveyed was Civil Rights/Racial Discrimination (29%), followed by Gun Safety (22%), Immigration (21%) and Climate Change (21%) (2018 Cause and Social Influence’s Influencing Young America to Act)
Cause marketing doesn’t have to be restricted to monetary donations. Members of the Nova Creative volunteer on boards and donate expertise in addition to a financial gift each season. Your options are endless as long as your message is authentic.
4. Company Culture
Intentionally positive company culture has the potential to reduce turnover and attracting new talent, but it also reassures your customers that your engaged employees committed to being the same energy to their projects. While you might think of company culture as fun office parties and silly social media posts, the tone of everyday office life is set by the leader.
“Culture is set in the boardroom, not through HR,” says Amy Schabacker Dufrane, CEO of HR Certification Institute. “But HR can make sure that company culture stays at the forefront of every discussion and is modeled at every level. The old adage that culture eats strategy for breakfast is really true.” (Workforce)
If you are already participating in a purposeful cause marketing campaign, you could bring the same principles internally for your employees. An easy place to start could be within an existing framework like the United Way’s Workplace Giving program.
Turnover dropped by 57% in employee groups most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts. (Benevity Engagement Study)
Refining and maintaining your brand’s personality can easily be lost in the day-to-day rush of deadlines and meetings, but your business could be missing out on an opportunity to reduce expensive turnover costs and build a better reputation with your clients.
Looking to improve your brand’s reputation? Start by understanding your audience with a persona exercise.