How to Express Brand Empathy

People feel vulnerable now. Many have to live their lives in the digital cloud, often not by choice.

Just like a human, a brand has to learn how to be + have at every level of social evolution and crisis.

We think that to do this well involves a trait called Brand Empathy.

Empathy means putting yourself in another’s shoes and truly identifying with their situation.

There are a few things to keep in mind for a brand to manifest brand empathy.

1. Curate your content based on current events or trending topics

Guinness shifted its focus away from celebrations, and leaned into a message of well-being and lifting each other up with the hashtag #wewilltoastagain. In these delicate moments where no place feels safe, a brand has to be present with empathy in order to stay connected with its audience.

How Guinness changed tack is a good example that the nuances of your brand personality are more colorful and delicate than ever.

2. Make goodness your brand ally

In 21st century marketing, marketing is no longer about creating illusions and beautiful gleaming things and people. Today, a consumer cannot associate with or be bought into a brand without ascribing to the underlying value that the brand stands for.

To a certain level, as human beings, we all want to prompt change in both ourselves and/or the world to make it a better place. A not-too-difficult way to do it is to associate ourselves with the content we consume.

Adobe did what it does best. It used its creativity to honour the people who continue to keep the world turning.

Top fashion brands like Prada, YSL and Gucci pivoted and re-tooled their manufacturing facilities to produce face masks in response to the shortage caused by COVID-19.

But, let us also be clear, association with goodness or the right value is not overly trying too hard to tap into a cause or make a social impact.

3. Touch that void

Okay, “touch that void” sounds a little elusive.

We are breaking it down. This involves a few aspects:

First, figure out who are you really targeting i.e. your niche audience. Mass appeal is not the way to go here.

Second, seek to educate or entertain, or simply be kind and care enough for your niche audience.

A google consumer insights report showed that millennials with their heavy use of technology are actually self-starters and doers; they do not merely love to take and pose selfies. Another consumer report (consumerclarity.com) says that the millennial generation is not interested in businesses that are driven by the bottom line without a greater good component.

Third, build an authentic relationship.

Listening and creating trust do not happen instantaneously. This is a furious nod to the age-old adage that content is king. Content needs to be valuable, which goes back to our second point. Content also needs to be consistent, so that we can give something for our niche audience to rely upon.

Dove displays empathy with its audience with its 2013 “Real beauty sketches” campaign. The ad sought to evoke an emotive response with its powerful underlying message that you’re more beautiful than you think. It depicts women’s struggle that the concept of beauty is passively found and seek to promote positive self-esteem.

Empathy has taken on a new level of priority! As human contact becomes restricted, we shouldn’t forget the importance of the human touch.

The team at Fenzo believes that creativity fuelled by empathy creates a double win, for our clients and their target audience. Let us help turn your brand into a good read, and make it harder for people to put it down!