Brands that have cultivated an emotional connect with their consumers have shown huge recall value over competing brands
By Gaurav Mehta
Let’s be honest. We, human beings, are hard-wired to be lazy. We would feel rather than learn. We would quickly make a decision rather than focus on the real issue we are trying to solve. Behavioral economics says that human beings make more decisions based on instinct and irrationality than on logic and analytical thought. This behavior determines how we decide, consume, buy, engage with brands as well. Emotions are a key driving force behind most buying decisions. Brands that have cultivated an emotional connect with their consumers have shown huge recall value over competing brands. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how fear, anxiety and panic can impact everyone’s life. At such times human beings need to feel comforted, energized and motivated. Any brand that helps the consumer connect with these states of mind has a better chance of forming a deeper relationship with the consumer.
In times of crisis people want to be seen and understood. They are extremely sensitive to tone and motive. By creating content that evokes empathy, a brand can more likely see consumers taking action – sharing, responding and even prompting change within their communities. An emotional connect can take your customers beyond brand loyalty to the ultimate measure of a compelling brand: brand advocacy. A powerful content touches emotion deeply and establishes an honest connection with the audience.
Importance of Storytelling
Experience is an emotional, mental and physical reaction to a moment. As such, the storytelling format is equally important for content to make an emotional impact, as seen in the ‘Ek Gaadi Aisi Thi’ campaign by CarDekho. Since the story of “Tank Se Takkar” was 55 years old; people needed to see the uniforms, weapons and tanks to feel a deeper connection. The emotions of the story were heightened since all major receiving senses (sight, aural) were in play.
By using genuine human emotions, brands also project a more human face to the consumer. This is critical since due to less human interaction; we don’t get the human touchpoints of the brand that we got at retail stores, car showrooms etc. That’s the big downside of customers having embraced digitally-enabled journeys and experiences. Making a brand more human begets a deeper relationship, which a transactional brand/advertising cannot hope to achieve.
Today, when the consumer has unlimited choices, the real equity will be driven through emotional union which becomes more authentic in a world traumatized by the pandemic. People will remember brands for their good acts in a time of crisis, particularly if done with true heart and generosity. This forms goodwill about the brand. Feel-good content that alleviates anxiety and promotes positive messaging will go a long way in enhancing the brand.
The pandemic has also accelerated the consumption of customized content on various digital-enabled platforms. Now when one has multiple channels of receiving multiple communications/content, brands need to heighten the attention span of the consumers while they are consuming the communication. This also reduces media investments since less frequency can still generate the same kind of education and encoding. As digital-first customer behaviours are accelerating, delivering the basics combined with empathetic, connected, and innovative, cross- and omnichannel experiences are now a necessity.
Sharing of content among communities
All communication chases the holy grail – going viral. Social sharing or going viral is based on only one thing. The person who’s sharing the content needs to be proud of the content. Sharing is a reflection of a person’s value systems and a bit of reflected glory that they intend to garner from their social circles. If the content is empathetic, informative, relevant to the current situation and also authentic, the chances of owning it and becoming a medium of sharing it within communities become higher. Human emotions are fundamental to us as human beings, which helps a bigger mass to share since there is a common value system between the content and the person’s ethos.
In such times of uncertainty, emotions can bring a strong ray of hope and brands can create more effective marketing through motivating content and impactful storytelling. The highest recalled brands are tied to positive emotions, often evoking high levels of warmth, inspiration and pride in viewers which will last not only in today’s scenario but will also survive in the time of times to come.
The author is chief marketing officer, CarDekho