3 Ways to Develop Deep, Emotional Connections With Your Target Market

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From tn.com: “Mattress buyers are paying mostly for bad TV commercials, retail markups, sales commissions, and wholesaler’s profits.”

I had just bought a mattress a couple months ago, and the frustration was still fresh: how could these mattresses be worth thousands of dollars?

That’s when I saw it on my way to meet friends. It was a small billboard with a simple, blunt, curt message: “Mattress stores are greedy.”

It instantly resonated with me. This company that I had never heard of, Tuft & Needle—a startup that produces high-quality, less expensive mattresses—had just instantly built a deep, emotional connection with me.

The experience prompted me to think once again about a critical marketing question: how can any brand large or small develop deep, instant, emotional connections with their target market?

There are many ways to do this, but let’s look at three ways, using Tuft & Needle as our case study:

1. Touch on a common ethical/moral objection
The reason that I took time to pull over to the side of the road that afternoon was not a Tuft & Needle rational benefit communicated on the billboard. It was purely for emotional reasons.

I was drawn to Tuft & Needle simply because they were touching on my recent frustration with mattress prices. They understood my frustration. They “got” me.

I was fascinated with how powerful the resonance was.

It was as if Tuft & Needle were sitting next to me, listening to my complaint, and sharing in my ethical objection to high mattress prices, which seemed like price-gouging.

스크린샷 2016-01-02 오전 12.48.08

2. Be sensitive to aesthetic style
The second thing that drew me to the Tuft & Needle billboard was the aesthetics. Aesthetics and design trigger the emotional centers of the brain.

As a marketer myself, I’m very sensitive to design quality and style. The Tuft & Needle billboard was minimal and easy to read. But it also reflected recent trends in design that resonate with their target market.

Never underestimate the power of good design, and how it impacts the bottom line.

3. Understand the relationship between rational solutions and emotional solutions
To successfully create strong emotional connections with your target market is critical. But it is critical to remember that when people think about buying your product or service, they always make an emotional decision first (for example, I made a decision to learn more about Tuft & Needle because of the emotional impact), and a rational decision second (when I began to do research on the concrete rational benefits of Tuft & Needle, such a sleep quality and price).

when people think about buying your product or service, they always make an emotional decision first, and a rational decision second.

This phenomenon that people make an emotional decision about a brand first has been shown to be true in multiple studies.

What this means in practical terms is that, yes, you must impact people emotionally. But you must follow that emotional impact with a strong rational justification. It is dangerous to deliver emotional impact that is not backed up later with strong rational justification.

TO SUM THINGS UP
So how do we start the process of building a brand that has emotional impact?

First, you must clearly define your target market personas. Do your homework. Do the research. What kind of emotional impact should you deliver?

To know, you must put yourself in their shoes, understand their needs, wants, and desires, and also be absolutely sure you are solving a real problem for them.

Then you’ll be on your way to impacting people like me like the Tuft & Needle billboard when I stopped to think more about their message.

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Three Ways for Brands to get it REALLY RIGHT after you get it REALLY WRONG

The power of making good on a bad brand experience is PROFOUND.

We know this from recent research, which shows that people respond with tremendous good will when a brand gets it REALLY WRONG, and then turns around and gets it REALLY RIGHT.

CASE IN POINT.

I recently decided to try something new, and bought a pint of Arctic Zero “Cookie Dough Chip” (which I had never tried before). Unfortunately, for a premium-priced ice cream pint, it was really bad. Almost no cookie dough. And tasteless.

Not a good experience to have when you try a new brand.

I though they might want to know, and I messaged them on their Facebook company page about this experience. Soon thereafter, a representative got right back to me, apologized, and explained that the batch from which I had purchased my pint had problems that could be traced back to a factory mistake.

Facebook - Arctic Zero

OK. Fair enough, I thought. She then asked for my address so that they could make it right with a coupon.

This week I received a hand-written apology along with a coupon for a free pint (see main image).

Everyone knows this to be true: when you make an honest mistake, you should apologize quickly and make it right. This kind of behavior builds tremendous trust and goodwill with family, friends, and neighbors. Interestingly, however, it is no different for a brand — whether consumer or service-oriented.

Arctic Zero impressed me with their integrity, their willingness to completely come clean, and then make sure I had another try at their ice cream.

Let’s learn from Arctic Zero and how they handled this so well, and apply the lessons to our own brands:

THREE WAYS for Brands to get it REALLY RIGHT
after you get it REALLY WRONG

 

1. BE EMPATHETIC.

Admittedly, I was a bit frustrated when I messaged the Arctic Zero Faceboook page. But the representative who responded was perfect. She did not mirror my frustration at all. She EMPATHIZED with me, and even mentioned that she also would be unhappy if she had spent money on a pint of premium-priced ice cream that was not good.

2.  BE PERSONAL.

Contrary to what I expected, Arctic Zero did not act like a huge, hermetically-sealed corporate structure at all. The representative, Michelle, was very personal and distincly un-corporate as she handled my situation, not only in her response to me on Facebook, but also in the hand-written apology and free coupon.

3. BE QUICK.

Arctic Zero reponded quickly to my issue. And within a week, I had a free coupon for another try. And to add to the goodwill, they have massively differentiated themselves from other companies by sending me a hand-written apology, something I have never experienced.

Apply the above three rules to your own company, life, and relationships, and you quite simply cannot go wrong.

Well done, Arctic Zero. You are now very prominently first-of-mind among ice cream companies who ACTUALLY care about your brand experience.