Designing Empathy Into Your Brand
Who says profit and customer care don't go hand in hand? It is only when you are empathic to your customer, that you will be able to offer genuine solutions to them.
In a world where so many things are uncertain, the need for brands to position empathetic messaging across every touchpoint is more apparent than ever. Beyond the novel coronavirus, no global event has ever created such a unified experience of dread and anxiety in recent history worldwide; much more than 9/11 and the 2008 Recession.
As individuals, communities, entrepreneurs, and corporations scrape through uncertainty together, one of the few things that remain clear is how customers now choose to exercise their purchasing power with brands that embody authentic empathy.
Various studies consistently indicate how consumers now expect companies and employers to be especially considerate of their workforce and their customers. This kind of sensitivity or understanding should be applied to marketing and communication efforts as well.
Creatively utilizing resources
The intentional act of businesses caring for others can be demonstrated in multiple forms. Any company that can help and give aid to their workers is expected to do so. A Kantar study says that 3 out of 5 people better relate to enterprises who are making a difference. Furthermore, businesses that are unable to make a significant financial impact on society are expected to look after their staff at the very least. The Kantar study expressly dictates that consumers expect brands to maximize human resources while putting their welfare first. Businesses that are capable of not laying employees off will clearly be better placed once the pandemic dies down. Additionally, brands that make an effort to retain their staff are likely to be more well-received by their customers versus businesses that let go of their employees (despite impressive lay-off compensation packages).
One prime example of a company that’s stepping up this season is design powerhouse and online learning resource, The Futur. Offering a vast selection of learning courses at reduced costs, leaders behind the creative brand hope to keep people productive and inspired while at home.
Outside the creative space, several brands are restrategizing to accommodate present times better. For instance, some car manufacturers like F1 are mobilizing their technology to come up with medical supplies. In-house establishments are implementing strict social distancing measures; meanwhile, financial institutions are extending credit lines. Context is everything, and brands that display thoughtfulness and understanding are more able to connect with audiences.
For instance, the period underwear brand, Thinx, does a tremendous job incorporating inclusivity into their overall message. Whereas conventional feminine brands refer to their market solely as women, Thinx’s tagline is “underwear for women with periods,” acknowledging that not every individual who experiences monthly periods identifies as a woman.
Not only does this positioning speak to women of all gender identities, it also appeals to those who put a premium on sustainability. Overall, Thinx is sensitive, socially aware, and multicultural—traits that are critical in capturing an era that celebrates diversity and politicizes differences.
Furthermore, a more familiar example of a brand that effortlessly tickles our fancy is Angkas. Ride-hailing apps aren’t foreign to the Filipino market, but never has there been a transportation service that speaks to its customers so organically and comedically.
Angkas’ application of memes skillfully humanizes their business and positions them as “the funny one” in the friend group. Among the long list of lessons marketers can learn from the motorcycle-hailing platform, timing and sincerity take the cake. Since lockdowns were implemented, they’ve been vocal about trying to extend as much work as they can to their riders.
Their transparent concern over the welfare of their workforce, supplemented by the language they use to communicate, is a branding strategy that works well both for them and their customers.
Making a difference that counts
There are moments in history that demand more sensitivity than others, and there are eras that pose a lot of threat in erasing mankind. During times like these, it is an ethical imperative for brands to not only reference a crisis in marketing but more so to practice authentic empathy, making sure that voices are continuously listened to and that no one is taken for granted.
Only when businesses choose to act with compassion can brands resonate profoundly and powerfully with audiences. In a landscape where buying power is erratic, the ideal connections are best fostered when you meet your audience where they shine the brightest and hurt the most.
When you connect with your customers and offer them genuinely meaningful solutions, you can create not only patrons but also believers of the world you create.
Today’s health crisis is a real opportunity to make a difference and step up, and this reality is even more valid for businesses. If your brand objective is to create a mark in your community, you will have to pull through much more authentically and compassionately.
At the end of the day, brands that empathize are brands that resonate.