Does your brand demonstrate emotional intelligence?
Do you believe that consumers are buying your brand or that they are buying into your brand?
If you are one of those retailers who find it difficult to repeat the once prosperous growth and success, you need to rethink your strategy by shifting your focus from product to your customer.
Of course a great product matters, but you shouldn’t forget that in the experience driven market of today, brands achieve growth when they deliver exceptional customer experiences. It’s not just the products consumers want, it’s the experiences they demand.
Every brand can offer a customer experience however, there’s a difference between an amazing experience and simply a simply satisfying one.
That’s why you need to take into account that when you create experiences, you create emotions because every experience, good or bad, triggers a response.
But it goes further than that.
Just as we work in our intimate relationships, the greater the experiences you offer to your customers, the further you develop and maintain a deep, honest, trusted, and long-term relationship.
Relationships matter an awful lot. They are a crucial key differentiator with your competitors.
It’s here that you can harness the power of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to offer great experiences and build a true sense of intimacy with your customers.
In a nutshell, EQ is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.
So what are the key traits of emotionally intelligent brands?
Emotionally Intelligent Brands
There are five qualities by which emotionally intelligent brands can be identified:
1. Self-awareness is all about knowing who you are and having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses. You need to be highly introspective to uncover your brand personality. Consumers nowadays care more about who you are than what you sell. No matter how good your product is, your business will be mediocre if you rely on the functional side alone.
2. Self-regulation means that you are able to filter out self-interest and anything else that may frustrate, not show respect, or spoil customer satisfaction. This means that your brand has to maintain its integrity, that it won’t let impulsive behaviour and wrong decisions take over and antagonise your customers.
3. Motivation allows you to position your brand on the market with a specific goal in mind that is related to your customers’ expectations. Does your goal include a human element or is it more functional? Do you have your customers’ interests in mind or just yours? Do you know how your product will make their lives better? These are the sort of questions you need to answer in order to formulate your goal clearly and to consistently work towards achieving it.
4. Empathy - possessing empathy is crucial to your brand success. You need to take the time to understand your target audience. It’s about knowing what your customers need and why they need it. When you understand their emotions, their fears, desires, and beliefs you will know whether the value you offer goes toward solving a problem or fulfilling a need. Such an understanding helps to manage the relationship with your customers but at the same time it also allows you to better facilitate their purchase decision-making process.
5. Social awareness is critical for brand success. It implies that your brand message is communicated in a way that is thoughtful, authentic and human. As consumers are forcing brands to be more socially aware, you will do well to take a moment to leverage social awareness by understanding what your target audience expects before they purchase from you.
Many brands are very excited about the use of technology, such as artificial intelligence. As much as technology is revolutionising your ability to connect with customers by designing personalised and relevant services to your target audience, the need for truly personal human-to-human connection won’t go away any time soon.
That’s why when different retailers start using the same technology, knowing your customers on a human level becomes your competitive advantage. And to achieve this level of understanding your brand needs to develop a high level of emotional intelligence.
After all if we say that a brand has a personality, the brand will have or lack EQ. The most successful brands such as Amazon or Apple, share common denominators, and one of those is the presence of emotional intelligence.
Zana Busby is a Business & Consumer Psychologist, author of the book Life Equilibrium and a Director at Retail Reflections