Emotional Connections & Financial Outcomes

As a brand strategist for more than 30 years, I have been on a quest to find a marketing tool that can appeal to customer emotions to motivate behavior and create positive outcomes for businesses. We have used a number of different approaches over the years that work. Recently, however, I’ve found an entire discipline of marketing research that allows companies to create new value using emotional connections as a science and a strategy.

One of the things I’ve learned is that for most brands, building emotional connections has always been more centered around guesswork than science. Over the last few years, big data has proven overwhelming to marketing executives and CEOs. Even today, there is still a lot of confusion as to what really works and which efforts are able to produce desired results.

The body of research that’s been done over the past eight years by analytics companies like San Francisco-based Motista and Kansas City-based mPath Discovery shows that it’s now possible to measure and strategically target the emotions that drive customer behavior.

Motista has shown “emotional motivators,” provide a better gauge of customers’ future value to a firm than any other metric, including brand awareness and customer satisfaction.

Companies in the financial services, banking and credit union space are now using a detailed understanding of emotional connection to attract and retain their most valuable customers. This new science combines anthropology, psychology, big data and creative design. The end result has been to make emotional connection part of a broad strategy that involves every function in the value chain, from product development and marketing to sales and service.

Emotional marketing isn’t a new concept, but our agency has been fine-tuning it to better measure and define a customer’s emotions and behavior. Then we use our data to craft unexpected and creative ways to connect with customers and influence their behavior.

Motista has developed a lexicon of emotions that use 300 emotional predictors of customer influence used to connect customers with a brand. We’re using similar technologies and data science at Sagon-Phior and it’s becoming a basic tool for initiating all of our brand marketing campaigns.

What we’ve found is that this new metric of emotional connection helps brands align with customer motivations by finding the best way to fulfill deep, often unconscious, desires and behavior. A recent report by Motista indicates that emotionally connected customers are 52 per cent more valuable, on average, than those who are merely “highly satisfied” with a product.

Combining emotional marketing strategies with big data analytics and predictive models appears to bring clarity, discipline, and rigor to companies’ long-held desire to connect with the customer in more emotionally compelling ways.

I have learned through years of experience that emotional marketing and emotional connections are not a mystery–they can become a new source of real competitive advantage and growth, especially in the financial services industry.

Glenn Sagon is a brand marketing expert based in Los Angeles. His branding and marketing agency, Sagon-Phior, uses emotional marketing technology and predictive intelligence to help banks and credit unions accelerate growth and membership. 



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