Consider television advertisements that you’ve seen for fragrance products, such as Axe deodorants and body sprays, Calvin Klein colognes, or Chanel perfumes. Some of these commercials entice would-be buyers with the promise of an exciting and glamorous lifestyle, others portray an image of coolness, stylishness, manliness, gracefulness, attractiveness. Almost universally, they seek to appeal to the emotional desires and ambitions of the target audience.
Of course, the power of emotion extends far beyond the world of fragrances; branding experts regularly employ emotional techniques to plug items ranging from soft drinks, to jeans, to automobiles. By connecting your brand identity to the emotional aspirations of consumers, you too can convey a potent message. But you’ll need to begin with a solid understanding of your customers’ emotional drivers.
What motivates your customers?
Every one of your customers is a unique individual, and each may have h/er own reasons for seeking out what you offer. Nonetheless, you’ll often be able to identify emotional drivers that many share.
As part of their research into customer emotional connectedness, published this month in Harvard Business Review, analysts Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, and Daniel Leemon compiled a list of High-Impact Motivators that includes the following:
• A desire to stand out from the crowd, which businesses can leverage by emphasizing the uniqueness of their brand.
• Confidence in the future, and a feeling that the best in life is yet to come.
• Freedom and independence, and sovereignty over one’s own decisions.
• Success, defined by the sense that one’s life and endeavours have meaning.
• Belonging, as in being part of the “in” crowd, and/or perceiving oneself to belong to something greater.
• Thrill/excitement, and the associated pleasure or buzz.
• Environmental protection: the belief that one’s purchasing decisions are either helping to prevent (or at least, not further exacerbating) the degradation of the ecosystem.
Other common emotional drivers are the desire for love, financial security, the admiration of one’s peers, and the wellbeing of one’s family.
Identify emotional connections.
Existing customer and market data, surveys, and social media can all offer valuable insights here.
If your customers have liked or favourited your business or its products on social media, there is a good chance that these individuals would welcome updates, including information on special deals and limited-time offers. Surveys provide a means for you to learn about the emotions associated with particular customers and their shopping behaviour. (Questions like “Do you place greater value on individuality, or social acceptance?” or “Do you consider (X) a good brand?” can yield enlightening insights.) By aggregating basic customer data points—such as age, profession, gender, and transactional records—you can develop a profile of the kinds of customers who most value what you have to offer.
Emotionally connected customers tend to be lucrative ones.
Typically, your data will reveal that a minority of your clientele consists of regulars and comparatively big spenders. The research of Magids, Zorfas, and Leemon suggests that there is substantial overlap between your most frequent or lucrative customers, and those who feel emotionally connected to your business.
By reaching out to your most emotionally connected customers first, and striving to forge stronger connections with your borderline-emotionally connected customers, you can give your business greater staying power and a competitive edge over those that overlook this factor.