Empathy in Marketing

Empathy VisionConsider how you make a decision to purchase a package of pasta or rice at your local supermarket. (If you don’t buy pasta or rice just choose a different product that you do purchase).

You may choose the product based on price. Or you may choose the package based on where it sits on the shelf or how the packaging looks. Maybe you have a coupon for it or just saw an ad for it on television. One way or another, if you are introspective about your decision making process you will usually find a strong emotional component to your decision. Maybe you feel that you must save money so the lower price is a significant factor. Maybe your mind tells you that the blue package is much more attractive than the red package…and so on.marketing puzzle

Almost every product on the market or coming to market is going to be marketed to you with emotion. But what makes one company better than another when it comes to choosing all the right pieces for the emotional marketing puzzle?

Consider these two logos:


What emotions does the silver logo inspire? What about the multicolored logo?
What do they bring to mind?
Obviously the emotions that you feel about each product will not be the only factor in your decision making process but each company has spent millions of dollars, euros, pounds and bats to make you feel positive feelings when you see their logo.

From my experience more people have positive feelings of loyalty to Apple than they do to Microsoft. Why is that? What makes Apple products so popular? Certainly they are extremely good at building technology but the factor they do better than most companies is that they use empathy to know their markets. They know what their customers want, not just in a technology product but in their lives and then they build the technology around that knowledge. They know what makes you feel good and makes you feel like using their products. They know that if you feel good about their products that you will even spend more for their products than a comparable product from Samsung or Microsoft. Most people who buy a Samsung phone are not loyal to Samsung. Most people who buy an iPhone feel loyalty towards Apple.

How does Apple accomplish this marketing and branding miracle? I submit that a major factor is their empathy for their customers. Empathy that goes beyond traditional market research. Is this a strategy inspired by Steve Jobs or is it part of the Apple corporate culture? Personally I believe that this was one of Steve Jobs’ most powerful talents. Empathy. Will this strategy continue now that he has passed on? So far it does not seem to. Time will tell.


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