Empathy: The Next Level of Brand Engagement
The commencement speech at my MBA graduation was about the importance of honesty in the Banking and Financial sector. Instinctively, I wondered where Marketing was on this honesty scale – one being dreadfully dodgy and ten being glass transparent.
Honesty translates into being straightforward, sincere and truthful. It is that often- elusive trait that shines bright, dispelling uncertainty about an individual or organization. In these times of heightened engagement, integrity is chiefly crucial to success: brands that walk their talk not only experience soaring profits, but also customer followership. The more I ruminated over the role of honesty as a brand differentiator, the noun “empathy” strongly reverberated.
Platitudinously speaking, empathy is defined as “the identification, and understanding of another person’s situation, feelings and motives. It is a thoughtful gesture that shows consideration.” Empathy, in my opinion, should be championed as the next level of brand engagement. A classical example of an empathetic brand is Apple.
Asides from being aesthetically alluring, there’s a seamless and conspicuous trait of empathy associated with all of Apple’s products – my possession of four Apple screens (iMac, MacBook, iPhone and an iPad) is proof. They are easy to use, and most of all, bereft of exasperating technological clutter. In short, there’s a deliberate effort to make the user experience pleasantly uncomplicated.
Genuineness attracts customers, but what retains them, and cultivates the cult like followership that Apple has? It’s empathy! Empathy fortifies the umbilical cord of trust organically pre-established by honesty.
Imagine a new crop of compassionate pharmaceutical companies whose mantra is people before profit.
Imagine insurance agencies rushing to the aid of their clients in distress promptly.
Imagine the banking industry devoid of hidden fees, and undisclosed service charges.
Imagine the possibilities that exist in a world where companies are sensitive to the concerns of the people they claim to serve.
Imagine the potency of empathy in business.