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Empathy as a Marketing Tool

Author: ADMIN
Jan 28, 2024

During the peak of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, water purifier brand Kent launched an ad for its bread maker with the line “are you allowing your maid to knead atta dough with hand”. The ad received massive backlash on social media for depicting domestic helps as coronavirus infection carriers. The company was then forced to withdraw the ad and issue an apology.

This is a classic case of implementing marketing strategy without taking empathy into account.

Empathy is the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.

Why empathy
Remember the old adage, ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’ – similarly you can attract a lot of people to your website/product/service but you can’t force them to engage or trust you. That can only happen through empathetic marketing.

Empathetic marketing entails seeing the world through the user’s point of view. It helps you place the customer at the centre of your marketing strategy and work outwards.

Empathy is believable when it creates authentic connections between brands and users. You have to build trust and organic relationships throughout the customer journey.

What can be done?
First, you must acknowledge that your audience comprises of humans who come from diverse backgrounds with diverse experiences. So while designing strategies, focus on its implications – social, religious, political, etc.

Oscar Wilde’s saying, “what is worse than being talked about is not being talked about” no longer works in the era of social media. Once you earn a bad name, you will lose customers, followers, money and everything else you put to establish the brand.

Second, take into account new realities. Say for instance the pandemic has changed the way people experience the world, there is fear, loneliness, and uncertainty. Mould your messaging according to the changes. Let me give you a simple example.

Soon after the outbreak of the pandemic there was fear surrounding executives delivering food items. But brands were quick to adapt. They launched no-contact delivery, provided data on the app on the vaccination status of the delivery person, provided the executives with masks and other protective gear so that you did not just read about the changes but also saw them.

Third, keep it real and personal. Try to create a ‘connect’ between the brand and the customer. Look at Uber for instance. The entire act of getting into a stranger’s car has been personalised through effective story-telling. They have added details of the driver in the app, his name, qualification, how long he has been driving to form a connect between the driver and customer.

At MensenTock Communications, we strongly believe in being human and humane. Our expertise in public relations, allows us to help brands build lasting images and relationships with their customers.

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