By Clarity Insights,
Clarity Insights is a strategic partner to the nation's leading data-driven brands.

In the current environment, customer experience (CX) is much more complex than many organizations realize. While taking a look at basic metrics like purchase history and rising revenues can be telling, there is a deeper level that companies should seek when analyzing CX. Enter an emotional connection with the brand, which is now more important than customer satisfaction, according to Harvard Business Review.

What motivates an emotional brand connection?

Customers that have an emotional connection with a brand are more engaged, spend more, and are more valuable for the company than those who are not. A study completed by Customer Thermometer also found that 65 percent of people have felt an emotional connection with a brand, and more than 90 percent of these experiences are positive. 

Harvard Business Review researched hundreds of brands across a variety of industry sectors and discovered that there are specific motivators that can drive an emotional brand connection. These differ depending on where a customer is in his or her journey, as well as the industry in which a business operates. However, quantifying and measuring these elements can give brands insight into cementing a more emotionally-motivated connection with the consumer. What's more, research shows that fully connected, satisfied customers are 52 percent more valuable than those without such a brand relationship.

Researchers discovered certain high-impact motivators that can signal an emotional brand connection. These include a desire on the part of customers to:

  • Be seen as unique and special, to "stand out from the crowd."
  • Have confidence that the future will be improved from the past, and have a mental image of the future.
  • Feel a sense of well-being, freedom and thrill.
  • Feel like they belong and are affiliated with a group of relatable people.
  • Feel secure and successful.

These come as part of 300+ emotional motivators identified by researchers, which experts noted are often unconscious desires for customers. In this way, customers may not even fully realize these needs. However, appealing to these can create the kind of emotional connection that goes beyond simple customer satisfaction.

"There is a deeper level that companies should seek when analyzing CX."

"Although brands may be liked or trusted, most fail to align themselves with the emotions that drive their customers' most profitable behaviors," HBR contributors Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas and Daniel Leemon wrote.

A main challenge here occurs when brands don't utilize available customer data to their advantage. Although 95 percent of businesses listen to their customers on a regular basis and 84 percent request client feedback, only 29 percent of organizations incorporate this information into their corporate decisions, reported.  

Measuring an emotional brand connection: Numerous variables

The process of measuring the motivators of an emotional brand connection includes the following steps:

  1. Analyzing customer data sets to identify emotional motivators. This should be done according to specific customer categories, as emotional motivators can differ depending on the type of customer category.
  2. Leverage statistical modeling to compare emotional motivators with purchase behavior. This can help highlight transactions that came as a result of specific motivators, like a desire to feel a sense of freedom, etc.
  3. Analyze current and potential motivators' value to help identify the strategies that can be used to achieve an emotional brand connection.

It's important that analysts keep in mind the differentiating variables that can impact their customers' emotional motivators. For instance, HBR researchers found that the desire to feel creative is a driver for shoppers at a home furnishing store, whereas fast-food chains saw an emotional connection when customers feel "revived and refreshed."

"Because brands differ in how well they align with their customers' motivators, each may have a different starting point in any effort to strengthen emotional connections—and that point won't necessarily relate to conventional measures of brand perception," Magids, Zorfas and Leemon wrote.

Businesses must solicit and engage with as customer feedback to improve CX.It's important that brands listen to their customers and utilize their feedback to better their experience. 

The payoff of an emotional connection

According to businesses in several different industries, establishing an emotional connection via customer analytics has considerably benefited their overall brands.

One financial service provider designed a new credit card to appeal specifically to Millennials and their identified emotional connection motivators, including desires to protect the environment and "be the person [they] want to be."

The bank ensured that messaging and features of the new credit card and connected services aligned with these elements. The result created the fastest growing new credit card the bank had ever seen - use of the card by the target customer segment increased by 70 percent, and new accounts grew by 40 percent, as reported by HBR.

Successes aren't unique to the banking sector - one retail company reduced its customer attrition by 4 percent, boosted customer advocacy by 6 percent, and saw a 15 percent rise in the number of active customers. What's more, making an emotional brand connection driven by customer analytics enabled the retailer to achieve a 50 percent increase in same-store-sales growth.

Partnering with an expert

Given the number of variables involved - as well as the fact that many main emotional motivators are unconscious elements that may not be reported by customers - analysis here certainly comes with unique difficulties. One of the best ways to spur success is to partner with an expert that can help gather the right data and build models that will best illuminate a company's unique emotional brand connection motivators.

To find out more about this process, contact the experts at Clarity Insights today.


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