CCF was recently quoted in a Forbes article about leveraging empathy to build a successful brand. For us, it’s less about empathy specifically and more about connecting emotionally with the audiences we are intending to reach. According to Super Coach Tony Robbins, there are six core human needs: certainty, variety, significance, love & connection, growth and contribution. The first four define the needs of the personality, and the last two are the needs of the spirit.
Tap into any one of these core human needs and you’ll increase your odds of building favor with your audience. But why? As Rebecca Vogels points out in her Forbes article, “Your brand…has to resonate on an individual level.” For you, the marketer, this becomes a powerful platform to build a meaningful relationship with your audience. By recognizing how they feel and what they need, you are positioning yourself to bring the conversation to a personal level. In other words, speak to them directly and they’ll know that you really do understand.
Putting a happy face on a bad situation doesn’t make it better.
As Vogel states, you also need to be real. In today’s world it’s too easy to sniff out a poser, and brands that are caught can face brutal consequences—oftentimes in the social space. Being honest with whatever situation your consumers are facing and offering them a solution with a genuine and trusting voice will position you to be seen in favorable light.
One big mistake? Talking too much about your product, and not enough about what you stand for. Too often marketers are tempted to talk about themselves, overwhelming their audiences with functional benefits that either don’t vary or barely vary from their competitors. Those functional benefits don’t build loyalty unless they connect to one of the six human emotional needs. Take Chrysler’s Hemi engine for example. I’d argue that most don’t know what a Hemi engine really is or what it does. But it does tap into significance and certainty. It’s big, bold and powerful – significance. It’s big, bold and powerful – certainty. The Hemi, by the way, stands for Hemispheric…did you know that?
More recently, and on a much larger scale, Nike celebrated the 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” tagline by leveraging Colin Kaepernick and the powerful message of “Believing in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” The question here isn’t what emotion Nike tapped into, but rather, which one did they not? Regardless of how you feel about Kap, the effort behind the campaign is working. Nike’s stock is up 10% since July and +5% over the past month, and according to a Bloomberg report, the company generated buzz worth $43 million in media exposure through the new campaign.
You don’t need a big budget to connect emotionally
Not every brand has a seemingly unlimited budget to spend on a new ad campaign, so if you aren’t Nike, don’t fear…you do not need a big budget to connect emotionally. In fact, in many ways it’s more important for smaller to mid-sized brands to leverage the power of emotion. It’s a faster route to loyalty, especially if you don’t have the resources to hit your audience with frequency to gain top of mind awareness.
As an agency, we used to call this process discovering the brand’s “emotional touchstone.” Today, we refer to as The Connector. We’ve leveraged it successfully for big brands (Belvedere, Johnsonville) and small brands (Red Gold, Explore Minnesota Tourism, MNsure). If you’re interested in finding your brand’s emotional Connector just give us a call, we’d love to talk.