5 Telltale Signs a Brand Lacks Emotional Intelligence and Why Consumers Care

5 Telltale Signs a Brand Lacks Emotional Intelligence and Why Consumers Care The post 5 Telltale Signs a Brand Lacks Emotional Intelligence and Why Consumers Care appeared first on The Network Journal.

5 Telltale Signs a Brand Lacks Emotional Intelligence and Why Consumers Care

A 2023 Emotional Intelligence Market study citing “heavy growth” of US$49.93 billion by 2027 exemplifies the extent to which mastering “EQ” versus IQ is taking brands to exciting new levels of success, and why not embracing EQ can result in opportunity loss or, far worse, become an outright brand buster.

This as today’s highly discriminating and demanding marketplace seems rife with substitutable solutions. Be it B2B or B2C, today’s consumers often have alternate options and they know it.

Although there is tremendous buzz advocating the power and efficacy of emotional intelligence in modern marketing and branding, there is little consistency and clarity on fundamental best practices—fundamentals that, when further honed and refined, can result in highly sophisticated and emotive brand building that wholly resonates with the intended audiences.s

Equally important, that same clarity is needed on pitfalls that can impede progress as a brand seeks to engage and truly connect with the hearts and minds of their intended audience, not just their wallets. Doing so breeds the kind of loyalty that can sustain consumer relationships for a lifetime.

Martha Marchesi, CEO of JK Design, a creative agency with a powerhouse roster that includes Johnson & Johnson, Philips, Priceline, Prudential, ADP, and Tiffany & Co., provides insights on five telltale signs that a brand may lack emotional intelligence and how to ensure EQ is employed effectively in marketing strategies:

Lack of empathy in messaging. An emotionally intelligent brand demonstrates empathy by understanding and addressing the emotions, concerns, and needs of its customers. A brand that lacks empathy may come across as cold, indifferent or out-of-touch in its messaging, which often creates a disconnect between the brand and its audience. This can lead to a weakened brand image and outright customer dissatisfaction. Egregious cases of being emotionally “tone deaf” can cause a brand to be publicly “flamed” on social media and elsewhere.

One great way to show empathy in brand messaging is by addressing common and specific customer pain points related to productivity, financial, processes and support. Another approach is storytelling that highlights relatable customer experiences, such as cost savings, productivity, efficiencies and customer support. These types of tactics can create a tighter bond with the audience.

It’s also imperative to ensure that empathy is conveyed in an authentic, believable way that will resonate with the intended audience. One easy way to achieve this is for public communications from company executives, or that represent the brand as a whole, to display vulnerability, which fosters relatability and trust.

In the post-COVID marketplace, there has been a profound and pivotal cultural shift toward empathy and engagement that is requiring business leaders and companies at large to enhance these kinds of EQ skillsets to meet new expectations. Another effective method to demonstrate empathy is to utilize genuine customer testimonials, stories and case studies that articulate those first-hand brand experiences.

One-size-fits-all communication. Emotionally intelligent brands tailor their messaging to different customer segments. Brands that rely on generic, cookie-cutter and impersonal communication may not resonate with, or address, their audience’s specific needs.

EQ-enlightened brands consider more targeted messaging. For example, if your brand serves both young professionals and retirees, separate, targeted messaging and visuals for each group are in order. Try, however, to discern what, beyond demographics, makes those in your customer base distinct so that you can use language and imagery that will resonate on a more individual level.

Before crafting audience-specific messaging, a brand must first understand what makes each segment tick. What are their values? What inspires them to action? What notoriously upsets them? A full profile of each customer category must be developed and continuously honed so that your brand’s messaging keeps pace with evolving sensibilities and cultural shifts.

Overemphasis on features, not benefits. Emotionally intelligent brands understand that customers care more about the benefits of a product or service—the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) factor—than its nuts-and-bolts features. Brands that focus too heavily on product attributes and technical specifications should shift their focus to how those features will improve customers’ lives.

Use clear and concise benefit statements related to, for example, a product’s usability, safety, environmental responsibility, affordability, and durability, or statements that a service will save you time, make you more efficient and productive, enhance the quality of your work or make an experience more enjoyable. Cite as many user benefits as possible to make an unequivocal case that your solution is THE solution.

Another tried-and-true approach is to create relatable scenarios that show how clients or customers have specifically benefitted from working with your brand. It’s even better if these use-case scenarios include metrics data and analytics. By leading with the various ways the product or service can truly impact and enhance the lives of its users, your brand can forge stronger emotional connections than by simply touting features and attributes.

Disregard for customer feedback. Emotionally intelligent brands actively seek, value and actually utilize customer feedback in sustained efforts to improve their products and services and fine-tune future messaging. Brands that dismiss or outright ignore customer feedback may struggle to develop a loyal customer base.

Endeavor to prioritize incorporating customer insights into brand strategy. Do this by conducting regular informal polls, more formal customer surveys, actively monitoring social media channels or even hosting focus groups.

Positive or negative customer feedback provides powerful market research. Beyond merely collecting and cataloguing the data, EQ-driven brands take concerted action on each viable data point. This includes sharing those insights with all applicable internal teams and other appropriate stakeholders to ensure they all have an accurate “temperature” and cohesive understanding of the organization’s key performance indicators (KPIs) at any given time.

Inability to convey brand values: Emotionally intelligent brands embrace and effectively communicate their core values and beliefs. They, figuratively, wear their brand values as a badge of honor and let those ideals serve as the company’s marketing communications North Star.

For example, brands can showcase their commitment to sustainability through green initiatives, which customers are made aware of through public communications and discourse. Demonstrating how values are being upheld can be detailed on a brand’s web site, via citations in public relations, social media, on and offline advertising, direct email and newsletters, signage, and other marketing communications (MarComm) efforts.

Highly EQ-equipped brands exemplify their values by actively participating in charitable events that align with their values.

While the expression certainly need not be overtly impassioned or “over the top,” brands that fail to express their values or purpose in some identifiable way may need to reassess how they communicate their mission. A good first step is to clearly define and articulate your brand values internally. From there, integrate those values across all marketing channels with consistency, ensuring a cohesive and authentic message at every possible customer touchpoint.

Emotional intelligence is key to any marketing strategy. It should be upheld as your brand’s North Star from which to craft your story, develop inspired positioning and brand architecture, empower your sales force, create engaging content, collaborate with your creative team, transform the typical e-commerce experience into a story-driven customer journey, measure your results and so much more.

By making impactful and authentic emotional connections with your audience and continuously fine-tuning that approach, you can drive results that create even unforeseen advantages and help you to achieve, even exceed, your goals.

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