As a consumer, what drives you to buy a product from company A instead of company B?
Is it because company A's product is far superior to that of company B?
Maybe company A delivers it to your doorstep quicker?
Or maybe it's because of a less tangible reason--maybe you love company A's message, such as its decision to donate 1% of its top line revenues to those in underserved communities or countries.
In today's hyper-competitive landscape, it seems increasingly difficult for companies to differentiate themselves from the crowd.
The fact of the matter is that people are making buying decisions based on emotion. As entrepreneurs and investors, we see this happen all the time. In fact, we argue that emotion drives most buying decisions these days.
You might have noticed a trend in companies appealing to your emotions.
Why are they doing this?
It is simple. People don't buy your product. They buy your story. And stories that are an emotional win. People want to feel good about the products that they purchase. Gone are the days when having a superior product or impeccable customer service gives companies a competitive advantage. Customers already expect an extremely high level of service, and that is why you need to differentiate by tapping into emotions.
Customers are increasingly purchasing products based on emotion.
Shoppers, especially millennials, are increasingly factoring in their emotions to the buying process. Why? Customers' expectations are higher than ever before--like we already mentioned, they are used to getting the best product, fastest delivery, and most accommodating service. This has translated to customers being influenced by a company's brand and actions outside its core business.
If you don't know that shoppers demand transparency, you likely live under a rock. Customers are concerned with things like the environmental footprint of a company's supply chain, how its foreign laborers are treated, or whether or not they assist underserved communities.
While some customers have long been concerned with this level of transparency, the importance of these issues has skyrocketed as the majority of customers--led by millennials--now factor such considerations into their buying decisions.
How can you differentiate and tap into the emotions of your customers?
You may think that the answer is obvious. Your company's mission must tell a story that appeals to customers. If customers see your company's dedication to fair labor standards, they'll be much more willing to engage with your brand.
You are right but are likely missing an even more important consideration. Your company's mission must tell a story that appeals to your employees.
What is less clear--but equally as important--is the effect that your emotional appeal has on your own workplace culture.
We have seen our fair share of different company cultures--the good, the bad, and the ugly--and we can attest to the importance of having a story that resonates with your employees. When they are on-board with the mission, they'll work harder to convince customers to join as well.
Having a clear story and mission that appeals to both your customers and your employees, will make you stand out. The customers will see that your mission is more than just a statement, and this can be your competitive advantage. If your employees are emotionally invested and your culture integrates your story, then your company is truly transparent.
Conversely, if your story appears disingenuous, and it is obvious that your employees don't have a vested interest in the company's mission, customers see the true colors. And that will translate to them not buying your product.
If customers don't see that your company (including your employees) are practicing what you preach, they will move on. With fewer and fewer ways for companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors, you must learn to stand out. And one of the best ways to stand out is to build a brand that taps into customer emotions.
When you let emotions get the best of your business, it is good for business and will help to gain loyalty while setting yourself ahead of the pack.