By Victoria Page


Much of our behavior as human beings is driven by emotion, and emotion spurs action. For instance, decision making. Think about the average consumer’s relationship with technology—interactions may be voluntary, and when they’re not, they’re inevitable. We’re bombarded with brands everywhere we go whether or not we’re looking.

As a company, building trust with customers is obviously important. However, forming an emotional connection with them is a multi-faceted approach that goes beyond building trust, and the benefits speak for themselves. (See more about the importance of building a digital branding strategy inclusive of emotional engagement in my previous post.)

Even in the present-day technological age, wisdom of the past is not obsolete, and should be applied to today’s marketing strategies. For example, “word-of-mouth” marketing remains a timeless way to promote your business, and could be considered our original social media “platform”. In today’s world of social media, we are forgetting the concept of “quality over quantity”. We’re so busy trying to gain virtual “likes” and followers that we forget we have to actually connect with them emotionally to maintain those relationships. Customers are much more likely to tell a friend about a positive experience with a brand they feel emotionally connected to.

According to a study by Motista, emotionally connected customers:

  • Spend up to 2x or more with their preferred retailers
  • Stay with a brand for an average of 5.1 years vs. 3.4 years
  • Recommend brands at much higher rates: 30.2% vs. 7.6%

Consider the well-known Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid when forming emotional connections with your customers. Evolve your business by fulfilling some of the most evolved needs depicted in his model. It’s human nature for us to want to belong to a group and be respected by others, which can be achieved by identifying with a brand. Once a customer identifies with a brand, the consequent opportunities for choice and customization within that brand appeal to the human need for spontaneity and creative expression.

A common mistake in marketing that inhibits increased emotional connectivity is the assumption of a narrow target demographic. Consumers can be emotionally connected to a brand regardless of their generation, and with the technology that exists today at our fingertips, marketing strategies need not be so narrow-minded. A brand’s engagement with customers can and should be personalized depending on the market, because customers’ emotional motivators vary. Be genuine and consistent with your company’s values in your efforts to understand potential customers and their motivations.

Consider another model that stands the test of time in relevancy: Aristotle’s modes of persuasion. Think about logos, ethos, and pathos from a marketing perspective.

Most businesses utilize reliance on the logos and the ethos in their marketing strategy, and that gives them a presence, making consumers aware of them. While a combination of all three modes is most effective, pathos, an appeal to the emotions, is often overlooked. A pathos reliance is the mode most likely to generate a reaction, an impression, and most importantly, an emotional connection.

Referring to some of the tried and true concepts of human psychology is helpful in figuring out how to reach your customers on an emotional level. Fostering emotional connections with customers is a journey that starts with a customer’s initial discovery of a brand, and doesn’t necessarily end with a single purchase, but extends through brand loyalty.

by Victoria Page