Advertisers have long known that emotions have the power to loosen customers’ purse strings, but in other aspects of business, emotions haven’t played as favorably.
Recent research and empirical data are changing the way companies think about emotional engagement with customers. Following are three examples of how leading businesses are incorporating emotions into customer engagement strategies.
Strategy #1: Connect with Purpose
In 2013, Deloitte Chairman Punit Renjen became concerned about the sentiment of distrust in business lingering from the financial crisis. He decided that companies needed to strengthen trust with customers by instilling a sense of purpose that is bigger than simply achieving profits.
“What companies do for clients, people, communities and society are all interconnected,” says Renjen. “A culture of purpose ensures that management and employees alike see each as a reason to go to work every day.”
Defining a clear culture of purpose establishes a more meaningful relationship with customers because the focus centers on the company’s mission and vision. Renjen believes customers who are ordinarily skeptical of business can be motivated by a company’s clear concept of purpose.
Strategy #2: Make it Personal
Research about the power of emotions in the customer experience is now being conducted by leading brands, like The Corporate Executive Board and Google. These two firms partnered to explore the role of emotion in B2B marketing and sales activities.
Their Finding? After surveying 3,000 B2B buyers from 36 distinct brands, CEB found that emotions trump rational motivators by a two-to-one ratio.
In fact, the report found that “B2B buying is very personal.” Specifically, if a product or service offers clear personal benefits to the individual buyer, such as the ability to become a better leader, fit in with colleagues, or simplify his or her life, then the buyer will be twice as motivated to buy.
According to the research, products that offered personal value such as professional or self-image benefits achieved a 42.6 percent increase in commercial outcomes (a category that includes purchase, premium payment, and advocacy). Products with purely functional benefits, however, only achieved a 21.4 percent increase in commercial outcomes.
“Not only do emotions matter in B2B buying, but they actually matter even more than logic and reason.”
Strategy #3: Design a Better Experience
Sir Jonathon Ive, the Apple products designer responsible for the design of every Apple product and service update since the iMac believes that good design is rooted in emotions.
In a recent interview with the London Evening Standard, Ive credited customers’ emotional experience with the very success of Apple’s products.
"I think that people’s emotional connection to our products is that they sense our care, and the amount of work that has gone into creating it," said Ive.
While businesses have long derided emotions of being un-businesslike, it seems that this mindset will need to change in order to keep up with the times.