Connect Emotionally to Boost Sales
Does your brand or business have an emotional connection with at least some of its customers? If so, that’s a very good thing. A new study of retail chains showed that while just one in five consumers felt they had an emotional connection to a retailer, those that did were far more valuable as customers and as brand evangelists.
The study, conducted by market research firm Motista, surveyed a large sample of U.S. consumers and asked them about major online and brick and mortar retail brands like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Gap, Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Walmart, and others. The survey revealed that only 18% of consumers reported an emotional connection to a retailer.
These emotionally connected customers were highly desirable from the retailers’ standpoint. Compared to customers who were merely familiar with a retailer and “satisfied,” they were four times as likely to shop first at their preferred retailer. They were twice as likely to respond to direct mail. Significantly, nearly four out of five became evangelists, and were 50% more likely to push the brand to their friends and family.
Social and Mobile Connection. The most striking differences were seen in the social media and mobile spheres. Emotionally connected customers were four times as likely to follow their brands on Facebook and Twitter, and an amazing ten times as likely to shop their retailer’s website on a mobile device.
How to Build the Emotional Connection
There’s no single way to build that connection with consumers. Zappos did it by surprising their customers with shipping upgrades while at the same time making the ordering and return process painless. I’d say I have an emotional connection to Amazon, and it’s not due to brilliant branding but rather superb execution: their website has lots of helpful information, the ordering process is simple, delivery is fast, and problems are rare. Apple has build strong emotional connections with its customers with a combination of innovative design and working to convince its customers they are a special group (see Revealed: How Steve Jobs Turns Customers into Fanatics).
Reader Participation. Do you have an emotional connection with a brand or retailer? What helped build that connection? And have you seen examples of brands doing this successfully, even if you aren’t yet a convert? Leave a comment!
I’d say I have an emotional connection to Google. It comes from the amazing utility of their products, but most importantly, the fact that they give it all away for FREE. It makes me feel like Google is really on my side trying to make my life better.
Of course, most brands don’t have the luxury of giving their products away like Google does, but creating a sense that their on the consumer’s side is a great way to foster brand loyalty.
Great example, Jacob. I, too, feel that way about Google – despite a lingering suspicion that they know way too much about me.
Great article. Just goes to show how powerful building an emotional connection with your customers can be.
“I’d say I have an emotional connection to Amazon, and it’s not due to brilliant branding but rather superb execution” – I agree. I love Amazon not because they make me feel good but because their supply chain is just awesome and their prices the best.
I think that customers end up with an emotional attachment to ecommerce sites like Amazon, not only because of their excellent execution, but also because they offer a feeling of safety. That’s very important.
Good summary thanks. And a good link back to the earlier post – the comments alone are worth it!!
Amazon and Apple Are at the top of my list. Apple for the reasons that you mentioned but also because of the quality our their products – I know in can trust them to always deliver. The same with Amazon. They make it too easy to spend my money with them, which I do willingly. These two companies out of the hundreds I’ve purchased from make me feel comfortable and in control.
Another would add to the list is B&H Photo, for the same reasons. They helped me enormously when I was looking for a camera, and they delivered on the promise.
I think it’s interesting that the performance of a brand or company shapes our emotional attachment, likely more than advertising and marketing, or even personal contact. Customers seem to bond with companies they trust. Conversely, a company that runs brilliant emotional branding campaigns but fails to deliver a matching level of service won’t build that bond. United Airlines is one such example. Over the years, they have had brilliant ads, ranging from the movie-quality ad I wrote about in It Pays to Schmooze to many clever animated ads with mini-stories about weary travelers returning to hearth and home, always accompanied by their familiar Rhapsody in Blue theme. The unpleasant realities of their actual service (and that of most other major airlines), though, offset any positive emotional bonding that might otherwise occur.
Very interesting … and I’ll add my name to the list of Amazon fans. I have confidence in their system and (yes) safety and the couple of rare occasions I’ve had to return something the service was jaw droppingly efficient.
I can support this research with a recent anecdote to demonstrate the dramatic impact emotional engagement can have on sales http://www.servicebrandglobal.com/2011/08/its-not-what-you-do/
I agree with you on the Amazon connection. I had such a fantastic experience with them recently when my Kindle malfunctioned. I had just recently received it as a gift when the screen went all weird, leaving me unable to read my freshly downloaded books. I contacted a representative via chat and the first thing she said was, “I’m so sorry to hear your Kindle isn’t working.” That simple very human apology was so reassuring.
Then they sent me a new one – no inane questions, no gift receipt required. And when the new Kindle showed up 1 day later it already had my name on it. And while I understand logically that Amazon doesn’t care about me as an individual, I feel emotionally that they have my best interests in mind. Which is a direct connection to my wallet.
At PeopleMetrics we found a model for creating this type of emotional connection it can be found on page 9 of our Most Engaged Customers Study http://goo.gl/cwGWX. And Amazon embodies this model perfectly – starting with a strong offer and ending with genuine employees.
Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing.
[…] can either relate to, or react strongly to, and the emotional connection will boost your sales. A 2011 study by market research firm Motista found customers who felt emotionally connected to a brand were four times more likely to buy from […]