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Your Brand and Emotion: The Key to Customer Loyalty

July 3, 2014

Most of us recognize the impact of emotion in our personal lives.  Where would we be without a rich treasure of memories, all of which are triggered through emotional connections?

My mother is 101 years old and will probably go beyond 102 (we’re counting on it).  She’s very much emotionally alive and “in the moment.”  However, watching her memory fade makes me realize how important our memories, linked to our emotions, are to the fabric of our lives.

Our business world is properly filled with both logic and analysis and dollars and cents.  We make decisions based on the bottom line, the “net net,” a balancing of the “pros” and “cons.”  Albert Einstein was thinking logically when he said “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”

Yes, there are some of us who consider emotions to be soft, unpredictable, and ineffective with logic as the ultimate victor.  And yet as business leaders, we need to motivate if we are to effectively lead teams and engage customers to turn them into repeat visitors.

Why Is Connecting Your Brand to Emotion a Key to Success?

Emotion can positively impact your Brand’s sales in three ways: customer motivation, memory, and loyalty.

Warmth and Competence are key to The Human Brand.Customer and Staff Motivation

Over 80% of our judgments are based on the combined perceptions of warmth and competence (Wojciske’s findings influenced the book titled The Human Brand by Malone and Fiske).  Competence relates to performance, but warmth relates to a willingness to be comfortable and to trust someone else, whether it’s an individual, a company, or a brand.  A sense of “warmth” allows people to connect and engage.

The Emotional Link to Loyalty

If emotions are tied to our connection to and engagement with a brand or company and our free-to-smile (2)remembering relates directly to events for which we feel a strong emotion, then a customer’s loyalty will be stronger after an emotionally positive and memorable event, like great food and a wonderful experience at a restaurant, whether it’s quick service or fine dining.

Want more?  Gallup’s recent article, “Customer Satisfaction Doesn’t Count,” declares that “If you don’t make an emotional connection with customers, then satisfaction is worthless.”

Their research demonstrated  that customers don’t buy strictly for rational reasons—much more important is engaging them on an emotional level.  And businesses that optimize this connection outperform competitors by 26% in gross margin and 85% in sales growth.  And, according to a recent Mori study, emotionally engaged customers are many times more likely to repurchase and recommend and less likely to shop around.

Building Memories

boy-and-dog (2)

Whether it’s something funny, romantic, warm, wonderful, or just the feeling of connecting with someone or something (or equally negatively charged events), we remember experiences that have an emotional element to them.  In fact, the latest brain science indicates the level of emotion makes events more memorable, even over an event’s personal significance to us.

We are learning that pleasant emotions tend to fade more slowly than negative ones, giving us more reason to quickly and aggressively redeem an occasionally negative customer experience with a more positive one.

Positive memories are not only more memorable but also bring back more detail.  That fix of a customer problem will be remembered much better than the original problem, and it will help your customer feel connected to your brand.

The Logical Conclusion to the Importance of Emotion in Your Brand

Your customers want to reward you for creating ways for them to feel connected to and engaged with your brand, big or small.

Great service is one answer, and so is a special atmosphere or an occasional surprise (an amuse-bouche in the fine dining world).  Or a special menu or promotion to give a loyal customer another reason to return? Or an extra smile for a loyal customer? What’s your way of building customer loyalty?

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