GROCERY WARS – “CONNECTNG WITH CONSUMERS ON AN EMOTIONAL LEVEL IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS”!
When CPG brands connect with consumers on an emotional level, there is in most cases a strong anticipated ROI. For instance, “Within a year of launching products and messaging to maximize emotional connection, a leading household cleaner turned market share losses into double-digit growth”. (The New Science of Customer Emotions, Scott Magids, Alan Zorfas, Daniel Leemon). Yet, despite success stories and today’s consumer having so much choice, many CPG companies are leaving money on the table by failing to connect with their customers on an emotional level. So, what is an emotional connection, what are the four steps to connecting emotionally, and what is the value of an emotional connection?
What is an Emotional Connection?
“Consumers Shop Rationally, They Purchase on Emotion”. These were the words of my branding mentor and instructor Mr. John Torella – Senior Partner with JC Williams Group. From my perspective, this sentiment is the first commandment of Branding.
An emotional connection is a bundle of subjective feelings that come together to create a bond between a consumer and a brand. An example of an emotional connection is that of a watch. Rationally, all watches tell time. Yet on an emotional level many consumers would not buy a watch from the Dollar Stores. The emotional connection is not as strong in a discount store as a watch purchased from a jewelry store.
Four Steps to Being Emotionally Connected
Companies that create and sustain an emotional connection with customers will reap strong financial benefits as consumers exhibit a strong brand loyalty. CPG companies that gain this advantage via emotional connection typically follow the following four (4) steps:
- They understand and comprehend the value of building their brand’s emotional connection.
- They identify the precise emotions that drive the most profitable customer and prospect behaviours. Brand investments are focused directly on these critical emotional drivers.
- They test and implement change to these critical emotion detectors.
- Monitor these emotional connections over time to ensure they are generating the highest return from their investments.
What is the Value of an Emotional Connection?
Emotional motivators vary across customer segments. What motivates one purchase from another is hard to distinguish because customers themselves may not even be aware of them.
Although brands may be liked or trusted, most fail to align themselves with the emotions that drive their customers’ most profitable behaviours. Brands that deliver a seamless customer experience at every touch point, whether in-person or online, and have little to no barriers to purchase are the ones that maintain repeat sales and loyalty. In a study undertaken by Mr. A. Zorfas and Mr. D. Leemon, they found customers whom they term “Emotionally Connected” generate anywhere from 30 to 100 percent greater annual value to the brand, than those customers who merely perceive the brands functional benefit.
Apple is a strong example of a brand that has an emotional connection with their consumer. In 2015, Apple’s new worth was $733B dollars. Seventy percent (70%) of their net worth ($513B) was attributed to unaided awareness, service satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy purchase intent from their customers.
THE WORTH OF THE BRAND
What is the Impact for Small Business?
With the CPG market as competitive as it is, brands – small or big can no longer stay relevant relying on products functional benefits and price promotions to connect with consumers. In the past, that would have proven difficult for small business. But yet, due to social media, this new technology has leveled the playing field for small business to compete with Brand icons. Those small brands that embrace social media, engage with their customers and connect on an emotional level with them will be the big winners. Those who don’t will be looking from the outside in and will keep asking themselves the same question, “Could I Have Become the Next Apple”?