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.
How to be authentic?
Creating authentic brands starts by hearing and understanding the needs of their customers.
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.
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.
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.
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.