No sane person will argue the power of emotion – especially during the holiday season when we’re bombarded with even more headlines and events vying for our attention and affection. At one end of the spectrum we have the inescapable geo-political chaos that unfortunately dominates much of our media and throws us into fits of rage (no matter what side of the fence we sit on), but at the other end, we can enjoy wonderful seasonal treats, like the John Lewis Christmas Advert which can’t help but put a smile on our faces and make us feel all warm and sentimental all over.
It’s one of the most hotly anticipated marketing campaigns of the year in the UK, doesn’t feature a product or logo and makes no reference to promotions or price. 10m views, 99k likes in under a week on YouTube, plus endless free press and TV coverage. A marketing masterclass that defines the power of emotion. What John Lewis has achieved, and what their competitors try to emulate, is their ability to create an immediate emotional connection with millions of consumers that will be remembered and shared. Looks like mission accomplished (again!).
As a loyalty marketer working with a wide range of brands, much of what we do is create ‘earn and burn’ propositions, programme rules, tiers, member engagement… all the things that help our clients deliver better customer experiences and build loyalty. But these same elements also provide a very effective construct to help brands channel the emotional drivers that customers value: recognition, integrity, joy, status, belonging and surprise – extending far beyond any holiday season campaign.
In our own research and research from other respected organisations, we’ve found a strong correlation between emotional engagement and commercial performance. Capgemini also identified that consumers who are emotionally engaged spend up to two times or more on brands they are loyal to, promote their favourite brands to friends and family, and have a higher propensity for brand recall and purchase! However, worryingly, in the same survey only 15% of consumers reported brands do a good job of emotionally bonding with them. This is a massive opportunity for those companies that get it right.
Taking time to better understand what motivates your customers and moving beyond transactional, rational loyalty propositions and programmes may not seem like the most pressing thing on your priority list for 2019, but they should be!
Written by Ian Hutchieson, Director, Channel Loyalty