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Empathy is a concept that brands must embrace to better connect with their customers. Empathy is defined as understanding another individual or group’s perspective through the demonstration of compassion.
Empathy is a two-way process. The process involves observing, engaging, and empathizing with the people you are designing for to understand their experiences better. Once you know their experiences, you are in the position to make a product that is more meaningful and relevant.
Empathy is a communication skill that goes beyond understanding. It means taking the feelings of others into account to create products and services with meaning and purpose. This can be expressed through copy, content, marketing materials, design concepts, designs processes, or product building materials outcomes.

1. Authenticity

It’s also important for brands to maintain authenticity, especially when it comes to connection and empathy. When a brand sounds genuine, it builds trustworthiness, leading to higher brand positivity values.

This is especially important in today’s marketplace, as customers are looking for brands they can trust. When a brand maintains authenticity, it helps build trust and understanding between itself and its customer base.

How to be authentic?

Creating authentic brands starts by hearing and understanding the needs of their customers.

Be honest

Honesty is one of the key traits that make a brand authentic. When you are truthful, customers feel like they can confide in you and believe that what you say is true. This builds trust and leads to a better connection with your customer base.

Be Relatable

Yes, honesty is important, but it's also important to be relatable. When you are able to connect with your customers on a personal level, they feel like you understand them and that you care about their needs. This builds trust and leads to a stronger connection with them.

Be Human

Create a personal connection with your customers. This means being real, likable, and relatable – both on an individual level and as a brand. When you are human, customers feel like they can connect with you on an emotional level. This leads to greater loyalty and brand positivity.

Be Transparent

Be open and honest with your customers about what's going on behind the scenes. In doing so, you demonstrate trustworthiness and transparency – two traits that are extremely important to authentic brands. This builds confidence in your customer base and creates a strong connection between you and them. Being transparent means being open and forthcoming with information. When you are able to disclose all of the details surrounding your brand and products, customers feel supported and appreciated. This builds trust and leads to loyal customer base.
Some examples of brands that are truly authentic include Airbnb and Nike.

Airbnb is an authentic brand.

Airbnb is an authentic brand. The company prides itself on the idea that they provide travelers with a sense of community and create an authentic experience.

Additionally, Airbnb is extremely transparent with its customers from the moment an account opens, reviews are posted publicly, and long-term guests who stay for more than one month have their information shared to ensure the privacy of both hosts and travelers.
Additionally, Airbnb is extremely transparent with its customers from the moment an account opens, reviews are posted publicly and long term guests who stay for more than 1 month have their information shared to ensure the privacy of both hosts and travelers.

Nike is an authentic brand.

Nike sells "the product, not the dream." Their slogan is "Just Do It," and through the many Nike ads, they focus on real athletes retracing their favorite plains, representing a friendly voice. Their logo is also supposed to represent Nike being an underdog, which shows how passionate it is about sports.

Additionally, they are open with their customers as they describe everything to a tee. They have giveaways and public posts on Instagram and Facebook about what goes on in their facilities, from the employees getting their rewards for late shifts to the music being played when Nike products go retail at local stores.

Harms of Inauthentic Branding

They lack qualitative authenticity and fall short of the true essence of their brand ideals. Inauthentic manifests itself in various forms, such as over-advertising or aggressive corporate social media footprints, to name a few.

These are often found on social media and can be easily identified by their lack of sincerity and authenticity. Many of these companies spend money in an endless effort just pushing out useless ads, hoping or asking you to “like” them or follow them because they have millions more ‘followers.’

A company that chooses not to be authentic with its audience will slowly lose consumers’ trust, ultimately resulting in loss and profitability. When a company does not accurately describe its products or itself, it can confuse both inner and outer customers, increasing the chance for future issues such as price cuts or product defections.

This forces companies to potentially lose market share because they do not have a clear message, making them less appealing to consumers.

The Pepsi Mistake

In 2017, Pepsi released a controversial ad in which Kendall Jenner handed a cop a Pepsi during a protest. This has been viewed as an attempt by Pepsi to create an ad that would appeal to the younger generation and their desire to be associated with the “cool” or “interesting” people. However, this ad has been seen as a failure.

What people perceived as Pepsi’s attempts to “politically correct” the ad in order for it to be successful has alienated different groups, creating a negative response. For example, those who believe that police brutality and resistance of innocent citizens is wrong could see portraying them with a soda can as inappropriate.

Also, activist groups have labeled their protest against this off-brand association an act of violence towards oppressed people in America. In addition to heavy criticism, the ad has led Pepsi sales to drop by 5%.

The key to being an authentic brand is being truthful, relatable, and open about your operations. When you are able to communicate with customers transparently, they’ll know that you trust them and understand their needs. This builds trust, which ultimately leads to a faithful customer base.

1. Storytelling

Successful brands are those that tell compelling stories and messaging to show empathy. Brands are becoming main characters in their own stories, vocalizing their story, sharing the experiences of these stories with customers, and allowing them to participate in shaping the narrative.

Strong storytelling helps create memorable experiences for consumers that can reinforce customer relationships and create advocates for your product or service to connect with customers on an emotional level and make them feel like they’re a part of the story. This amplifies your reach and impact, leading you to success as a brand, creating loyalty and involvement in the brand, ultimately resulting in increased sales.

Case Study

Lipton Iced Tea

An example of a brand story is the iced tea brand Lipton, which has been around for over a century. The story of their development and marketing strategy is most notably known as the "Songs in the Can" campaign that began in 2005.

As part of this comprehensive movement to connect with customers on an emotional level, they tell stories about how people who drank iced tea during events at ballparks would sing along to U2's Song Inside Your Head jingle from the recently released album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

This incredible feat pushed the campaign forward with customer engagement and support of Lipton teas, adding consumers that had never heard about Lipton into their brand for years afterward.

How to tell stories?

The best way to connect with your customers is by telling stories that reflect their lives and interests instead of selling them a product. Know your customer. Don’t make assumptions about how they’ll react or what stories will resonate with them. Get to know the people who buy and use your products and services, then find ways to connect with them on an emotional level. Don’t rely on gimmicks or tricks that will ultimately lose your customers’ interest. Deliver on what you promise, and be consistent. Create a sense of community around your product or service.

Inspirational Personal Stories

These narratives inspire us to change the way we think about ourselves or our lives by demonstrating how someone who started from a similar situation achieved incredible things. Sometimes this is done by showing how the character in a story goes through hardship and eventually becomes successful, sometimes for good or bad.

Lessons and How To's

When executed well, life lessons stories teach us something new about ourselves and the world around us, often providing insights that we can apply to our own lives with the brand.

Comedic Tales

Frequently, humorous content is the key to tapping into people's emotions and getting them to share your story with their friends. By entertainingly telling relatable stories, you'll encourage customers engaged with your brand to keep coming back for more.

Awareness Raising Stories

These narratives demonstrate the importance of an issue and how you're helping make a difference. To reach consumers more emotionally and draw them into buying one's product or service, some brands call for staff members with significant experience as writers.

3. Active Listening from Product Feedback

Build empathy with your brand by listening to understand what they want and giving it to them in a way that makes sense for them. Generate more interest in your brand’s products or services and cultivate customer loyalty.


Customer experience surveys are an effective way to get Feedback from your customers. Posting online surveys about brand experiences can be very effective since over 50% of people who participate only have tweets reviewed, even less than 3x. You rank your website traffic over time. The all-time best way to use online reviews can be or is getting an email from a customer possible thank you note after a fantastic experience with what your company has provided for their business, letting them know about awards and recognition, or asking if it was the experience that pleased them or not.


Interviews are another effective way companies get Feedback for their brand—interview in person or over the phone. If not, send a simple email about their experience with your brand.

Research Social Media Responses

Research social media responses through hashtags or influencer review responses. If you want to respond to a customer’s tweet about their experience that may be unsatisfactory, then simply send a message.

Focus Groups

Obtain Feedback by holding a focus group. Just make sure the questions in it are very relevant to what you want.

Customer Service Calls

Customer service calls will almost always gain more interest than standard call-in numbers since they involve face time with the customer first before getting them an agent, so that’s one way you can use online Feedback for your call-in number. Try to set up a specific time for this, and then post the calls on the spot, such as the second Saturday of every month from 10–12 PM EST or any day of the week during business hours that are convenient for potential customers calling in with their problems.

Offer Rewards

Reward to leave messages on customer service and social media pages. Show some appreciation for those who left comments or thank them. Rewards are typically a coupon, free products, discounts etc.…

Listen to them, take their feedback seriously, and make changes where necessary to keep them coming back for more. Be sure to use customer feedback when creating your content.
It will help you produce better material, but it can also be a valuable way to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

4. Engage in Social Media

As a brand, you can show empathy by being open with your audience, communicating your values, and being authentic consistently. Sharing your values will help your audience understand why you are the way you are and allow them to take a more informed stance.

Brands that use Twitter to Engage with customers

Twitter is a great platform for brands to interact with their customers. Companies can post tweets about product updates, customer service experiences, and more by using the microblogging site.

Wendy’s is leading the way with its funny tweets. Wendy’s has gained over 3.7 million followers on Twitter alone due to its brand personality. All their tweets are funny, and they tweet in several different languages.

Brands that use Youtube to Engage with customers

Youtube is a great platform for brands to interact with their customers and potential customers. By creating engaging videos independently or with influencers, companies can share information about their products or services in an easy-to-watch format.

Brands that use Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat to engage with customers

Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are very popular social media platforms for brands to interact with their customers. Social media communication leads to a better brand perception and can help in many ways like, boosting customer loyalty and enhancing the business results.

How not to build empathy with your brand
The way your brand treats its customers defines how they will think of you; it is important to take this as an opportunity to carry out reflection on what a great company you are.

No Pandering

It's important to be genuine, communicative and transparent with your customers. However, being overly sensitive or pandering to certain customer groups can backfire.

No one sided Connecting

It's important not to rely too heavily on digital mediums such as social media when building empathy with customers – human interaction is key in developing a strong relationship. Balance is key.

Don't Lie

Online brand communication should reflect the core of your business values and personality. Don't overdo it or lie about things that are not within your character's purview or even company policy.

Be Respectful

Truly consider all others as people first, including customers in every online discussion on whatever platform you choose to use; this is what building empathy means – listening and hearing both sides without making assumptions or general.

Building a brand with empathy is essential for any business looking to connect with its audience on a personal level. By telling engaging, authentic stories that resonate with their target market, businesses can foster trust and create lasting relationships. Additionally, by actively listing their business on various social media platforms, they can reach a wider audience and create more chances for word-of-mouth marketing.