I wrote this back in 2012 for Under30CEO.com. I believed this back then and I believe it even more today…if you’re not striving to create an emotional connection between you and your customer, you will lose in the end…period.
If you’re not creating emotional bonds with customers in the 21 century, you’ll lose.
Don’t think emotional bonds apply to your startup? Hate to say it, but you’ll lose.
Traditionally, marketing has a bad reputation in the eyes of consumers. From annoying radio commercials that interrupt the latest Katy Perry song to emotionless billboard ads. Consumers can smell “marketing” from a mile away.
And they’re not taking it anymore.
For years, marketing has been a push mechanism. Traditional push marketing:
- Billboard ads
- TV commercials
- Radio ads
- Non permission direct mail pieces and email (Commonly referred to as “junk mail” by consumers)
Sound familiar? It’s all push.
The worst part about it is it’s not inspiring. It doesn’t make people rave about your brand. There’s no emotion. It’s forgettable.
But now, things have changed.
We’re in the dawn of emotional bond marketing. Where the true winners will be the ones who make their customers (and potential customers) fall in love with their brand.
I’m looking at you Google, SEOmoz, and Wine Library TV. Oh ya, and Apple. What? You thought I was going to leave out the master of creating emotional bonds?
Is creating an emotional bond easy? No. Does it pay off in the end? Absolutely.
Gone are the days when you can send an email blast and get nearly every email opened. Gone are the days when you can buy a billboard ad and people driving by would look at it.
They’re too busy texting.
Now the only true way into your current and potential customers’ hearts and minds is to create an emotional connection so powerful that they can’t help but rave about you.
Also known as evangelists.
Tools like social media make it easier than ever to do just that, if it’s used the right way.
Sadly, push tactics have found a way to infiltrate the social landscape.
It’s now your mission to start pulling rather than pushing.
How? By using lessons from social media.
Before you roll your eyes and think “great, another social media post,” I don’t mean get a Facebook page and start sharing stuff.
When I say social media lessons I mean take the best practices that are well known in social and apply them to every area of business.
Best practices like:
- Talk with the customer and not at them.
- Figure out how to help your customer even if it’s not using your product or service.
- Actually create something that’s worth talking about (I’m looking at you billboards and commercials).
- Break down the walls of your company and allow your customers to peek inside.
For example, people love sharing photos. Especially hilarious photos. Why aren’t more businesses trying to use photos to humanize their dull, uninspiring companies?
Don’t think your audience would like funny photos that are relevant? Well…unless your audience has absolutely no personality or finds it offensive to smile, your audience is human. Humans like entertainment.
If you’re a startup, this is a prime time to take advantage of the tools that are out there.
Your thinking now needs to shift from “what social network do we need to be using to share content” to “what can I learn from social media that I can apply to other areas of my business (i.e. advertising) to create those emotional bonds.”
Ladies and gents, the game is changing.
The name of the game going forward isn’t about getting new customers anymore. That’s the easy part. Most people in the 21 century (especially in the technology industry) want to be first to try something new.
Now, the new playing field is customer retention. That’s a lot harder don’t you think? The surefire way to retain people is by creating a deep connection with them.
Having said that, I leave you with this…
You have a golden opportunity to humanize what has traditionally been faceless and emotionless, brands.
You have a choice to make. Either follow the path that leads you to forgettable or take a completely different path that will cement your brand in the minds and hearts of people everywhere.
So the question is, do you want your brand to be forgettable or are you ready to gown down the path of brand transformation?
Emotional bonds will win. Are your creating them?