How many people do you think will be getting a Valentine card this year, who don’t really deserve it?
Looking beyond a person’s failings could be said to be the very definition of love. And, this is one of the reasons why – as a business – having an emotional connection with your customers is critically important to long-term success. Because, it protects you.
When many marketers talk about emotion, they are usually focussed on the emotional hook that gets someone to notice you in the first place. In The Logic Sandwich (chapter 3 of Watertight Marketing), emotion is clearly mapped to the maintaining customer loyalty too. There are lots of reasons for this. One of which is that you cannot logic someone out of love.
Anyone who has ever tried to reason with a friend in a bad relationship will know this is true. “Hey honey, that man’s no good.” you’ll say, “I know, but I love him.” she’ll reply. You can list off all the logical reasons why she should leave, but it is very unlikely to change the way she feels.
An emotional connection increases cooperation
As a customer of a business, how you feel about them can radically alter the way you respond when things get tough. If you like and trust them, you’re likely to becooperative and forgiving. If you were forced to go with, say, the cheaper option against your instincts – then, you are almost waiting for them to go wrong so that you can stand cross-armed, eyebrow arched, saying: “You see, I told you it didn’t feel right.”
In very many considered purchases, the customer relationship is a complex one. Perhaps you’re delivering a multi-million pound piece of software, or a delicate programme of change. Let’s be honest, things will go wrong at some point. The business that says mistakes never happen is simply untested. The ones that are able to show that they deal well with the inevitable bumps in the road are much more believable.
Having an emotional connection with your customers will make these bumps easier to ride. Customers will be much more willing to forgive you, and work with you towards a solution. Whereas, in a scratchy, uncomfortable, relationship – small issues are often blown out of all proportion.
That’s not to say that if you continually let a customer down (or a partner for that matter), that the logic won’t eventually win out. But having an emotional connection will definitely buy you some time and space to work on putting things right if you need to.
An emotional connection reduces competitive pressure
It also helps to keep the competition at bay. If someone is feeling loved and respected, and the relationship is working well – it’s unlikely they’ll look elsewhere.
The same is true of your customers. A competitor will have to work extremely hard to get them to switch out of a relationship with a business that they feel emotionally connected to.
Of course, the opposite is also true. If your marketing materials and salespeople sold an amazing dream that your buyer connected with, but your service simply doesn’t match with that expectation, the sense of disappointment will be magnified. You will have burst their bubble… and that’s exactly when a competitor could charge in on a white horse and whisk them away.
This is why maintaining that emotional connection, through things like a consistent written and visual style, and the way it feels to work with you all the way through the sale and into service is essential. If there’s a mismatch, it’ll feel a bit like someone switched the groom on your wedding day.
So, even if your products and services are the most logically superior of the lot, you cannot afford not to also work on creating an emotional connection with your customers.
© Bryony Thomas – The Watertight Marketer
Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing
Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.