Whether consumers love the brand or just the person/people who represent them, it is becoming more important than ever that brands start acting with human emotion. There has never been more of an emotional connection between brands and the people that buy into them than now. According to a Global study done by Edelman, 87% of people want meaningful interactions with brands but unfortunately only 17% believe brands are delivering those meaningful interactions.
Well, not just your product. For too long, consumers have been lied too, cheated on and treated as just another dollar bill in the till.
Much like any long-term relationship, consumers are looking for something deeper -- something more meaningful and human. Honesty, integrity, commitment are all the attributes consumers are looking for in the way brands should act. When brands don’t act with love and care, consumers react violently. This is because today's consumers have learned not to trust everything at face value. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg.
But in strong contrast they also react positively when brands do the right thing. Company behaviour during tragedies and extreme events are scrutinised under a microscope. Every action a brand makes, both good or bad, is noticed instantly and critiqued.
Image from Nike
In the aftermath of the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, Nike was very quick in responding the right way. They did two very important things. The first thing they did was to react like a human being, and the message they sent felt more like it was coming from a family member than a Billion Dollar brand. They firstly grieved… poignantly, with respect and without inserting their own corporate narrative into the picture.
They were completely in sync with what was going on with society and matched them at the heart strings. Then they did something even more important: Nike pulled all its Bryant related merchandise to limit profiteering from his death.
If a customer went in search of Kobe Bryant products online, they were redirected to a memorial page. This type of bold action takes a lot of foresight, as the loss of immediate sales from Kobe Bryant merchandise will be made up tenfold in the years to come from loyal and new adoring fans.
Companies and their brands must realise that they are no longer simply in the business of transactions and making money but need to have an emotional quotient reflective of the the world they live in.
So, the next time (while you are) defining a brand’s purpose or planning your next marketing campaign, think less about “show me the money” and more about “let the love shine through."