[Read Time: 3 Mins]
Howard Schultz, the brilliant mind behind one of the most recognizable brands in the world started with the company as its Marketing Director. Schultz vision and execution of how Starbucks positioning in the market undoubtedly played an integral role in the company’s success. In his 1999 bestseller “Pour Your Heart Into It,” Schultz shared an insight that might be more important than ever before. “In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart.”
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Schultz was onto something. Starbucks has made something as simple as a green straw mean much more than just a tangible item and has built a brand-driven empire that has spread from a single store in Seattle to over 20,000 locations in 62 countries across the globe. So what can you learn from this corporate behemoth that has managed to create, nurture, and maintain an emotional connection with their team & customers while also sustaining continual growth? How does a brand build a relationship with customers that provokes emotion, creates organic brand ambassadorship, and drives brand loyalty?
With those questions in mind, I’ve provided three (3) pivotal yet straightforward ways you as a leader can build an emotional connection between your brand & target audience just as Howard Schultz did.
(1) Consider the Experience
If you have read any of my previous articles, you know I’m a firm believer of the importance of positioning. Comprehension of where your brand is positioned in the market provides the confidence required to understand what is most important to your target customers, and this will equip you with the tools necessary for developing emotion filled communications.
For example, ask yourself the following questions. Am I using the right marketing mediums to connect with my target audience? Am I speaking in a way that is easy to understand? Am I communicating why my product or service solves a problem in their daily life? How easy have I made it for customers to connect with me to share their experiences with the brand?
These factors matter. Remember that small things add up to big decision influences. Customer experience plays an integral role in developing an emotional connection between you and your target audiences.
(2) Be Authentic
Another effective way to build an emotional connection is to be authentic. We live in an age where consumer trust is no longer freely given; it must be earned. Customers hold brands to a higher standard these days and are expecting more for their loyalty. Consumers can easily notice when you’re pursuing a real connection with them as opposed to pushing for a sale. Authenticity goes a long way, and real transparency in your communication can build up emotional capital with customers that lead to financial capital for your business.
(3) Share Your Story
The story behind your brand is another powerful tool that can help establish an emotional connection. This narrative has a lot to do with who you are as a leader, and the reasoning behind you creating the brand you have. Sharing your story provides an excellent opportunity for planting a seed of connection in the minds of your customers, giving them a reason to be emotionally invested and to care for your brand. After all, you can never create an emotional connection without the second party being emotionally invested.
If you have not done so already, I encourage you to take a look back at your story and think of moments you can share with your audience that build a case for why establishing a relationship with you is worth their time and emotional investment.
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According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the universal ways to maximize customer value is to invest in creating and then strengthening emotional connections. Researchers have found that a positive emotional experience increases the likelihood of future purchases by six-times. Customers who see their interaction with a brand as emotionally positive are also twelve-times more likely to recommend that brand to a friend or family member.
When it comes down to it, people decide which brands they support based on how that brand makes them feel. Are you leading a brand that people want to connect with? Ensure your communication strategy emphasizes that all verbal & visual representations of your brand authentically reflect your brand personality. Once you master these things, you will find that your customers’ emotional connection to your brand will soar, and you will have established a foundation that will provide both intrinsic and monetary value for your business.