The New Science of Customer Emotions

The New Science of Customer Emotions

This month, Harvard Business Review published a piece on the science of customer emotions. There is a huge opportunity for companies and brands to create an emotional connection with their customers. Companies need to approach the emotional connection as a science rather than just guesswork. In our post, we explore some of the key insights from the article.

The Science of Customer Emotions

A recent study found that connecting with customers on an emotional level can pay off more for businesses than generating new customers. In fact, emotionally engaged customers were found to be 52% more valuable than highly satisfied customers when it came to increasing revenue and market share. An example of a company that does this phenomenally well is Starbucks. Starbucks connects with their customer emotionally in a variety of ways. It all starts with their package, the cup. The cup is a symbol to the world and to yourself that you are drinking the best. A trend that caught on in previous years was customers started to create and draw on the cup. They made the Starbucks cup their own creative canvas. Starbucks embraced this and it ultimately led to incredible engagement and connection with their customers. See a few of the notable designs below.

Identifying Emotional Motivators

Emotional motivators are the actions, thoughts, and expressions that drive consumer behavior. Sometimes consumers can’t even tell you what their emotional motivators are because they are unaware of them. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Identifying and measuring emotional motivators is complicated, because customers themselves may not even be aware of them. These sentiments are typically different from what customers say are the reasons they make brand choices and from the terms they use to describe their emotional responses to particular brands. What’s more, as we’ll discuss, emotional connections with products are neither uniform nor constant; they vary by industry, brand, touchpoint, and the customer’s position in the decision journey.”

This is one of the key reasons that Package InSight exists. Eye tracking does not necessarily tell us an emotional connection, but it does share insights that consumers are completely unaware of at the shopping aisle. The technology and data allows us to examine all of the functions and designs of a package through a consumer’s eyes.

Emotionally Connected Influencers

The study identified 25 significant emotional motivators, such as a desire for self-expression or to protect the environment. These motivators were found to vary drastically between industries, brands, and individuals. A four-point strategy was developed to help companies to identify and invest in existing emotionally connected customers.

1. Targeting Connected Customers

Conduct surveys to identify flourishers, the elite of emotionally connected customers. Flourishers exemplify ideal customers. Leveraging their emotional motivators for your product can increase flourisher activity and turn existing customers into flourishers.

Flourishers spend twice as much annually on a product than average customers. They also shop twice as often and are less price-sensitive over a product they are emotionally invested in. They are more likely to recommend products to a friend than any other customer.

2. Quantifying Key Motivators

Conduct surveys to identify the key emotional motivators for flourishers. We believe we can understand how packaging plays in with key motivators through eye tracking and qualitative surveys. We are able to key into what people think they want in a package and compare that to what their eyes believe they want in a package. Ultimately, we are tapping into the subconscious of consumers to reveal the “unseen.”

3. Optimize Investments

Examine every customer touch point for ways to enhance key emotional motivators. This includes optimizing customer experiences within stores, online and social media, merchandising,  advertising, and especially your packaging.

4. Systematize, Measure, and Learn

Make emotional connections a key part of your business strategy. You have to consistently track performance, and adjust accordingly.

Why Does This Matter?

It’s imperative for managers to adopt and champion this new way of thinking to see success. HBR says it best in this excerpt:

“Embracing an emotional-connection strategy across the organization requires deep customer insights, analytical capabilities, and, above all, a managerial commitment to align the organization with the new way of thinking. It’s important that marketing not hoard the strategy as “its” domain (although the function can and should use emotional connection to demonstrate the direct financial impact of its spending). Instead, marketing must partner with other functions, teaching and socializing emotional connection.”

Companies that are taking emotional motivators seriously are seeing huge success. With this framework, it doesn’t have to be a mystery instead it can be a science. Contact us today to learn more about how we can optimize the emotional motivators of your packaging with our innovative and iterative package design research process.

For the Full Article:
Scott Magids
Alan Zorfas
Daniel Leemon

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