Predictive intelligence company Motista, which helps brands forge an emotional connection with their customers, released a report last month examining the emotional engagement efforts of 50 top U.S. brands.
The results suggest that brands seeking a strong emotional bond with customers today must offer consistent experiences across a variety of channels and specifically seek out emotional connections through distinct strategies tailored to that purpose.
Leading the 50 brands ranked by Motista were such companies as BMW, Disney, Panera, and Marriott. These leaders embody a combination of best practices in emotional engagement—such as Panera’s commitment to omnichannel consistency and Marriott’s customer-centric user experiences—and the repository of goodwill that a brand can build up over years through touching products like Disney’s or high-quality, prestige products that command the wide respect of consumers like BMW’s.
Some retailers with relatively low emotional engagement scores, such as Amazon and Walmart, seemingly succeed in spite of their poor emotional resonance with consumers. While price and convenience likely account for this success, the report cautions that only brands at the very top of their industries in categories like price and convenience can fall back on those metrics to overcome a lack of emotional strength.
The key to improving emotional connections, the report seems to suggest, is personalization and targeted marketing efforts. The stronger and more expansive companies like Amazon and Walmart are, the more smaller brands must carve out a niche and make all of their customers feel coveted. It’s that connection that may keep customers coming through brick-and-mortar doors at a time when Amazon delivery is only ever two days away.
Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa.