Empathy: A Brand’s Secret Weapon

by Dr. R. Kay Green

For brands, reaching consumers has simultaneously never been easier or more difficult. While the rise of social media has made it easier to connect directly with your target audience, the influx of information has made it harder to be seen, and consumers are only getting more discerning by the second. In fact, consumers are becoming less trusting of brands as a whole.

New brands might find the idea of trying to break into the scene overwhelming. How can you possibly stand out among the other voices as a trustworthy entity that consumers actively want to engage with?


The answer is simple: empathy.

In a world that is getting increasingly more cynical, empathy — or understanding and sharing feelings — may be seen as radical. For brands, however, nothing can be more powerful. When done right, empathy can help you transcend the usual “untrustworthy brand” stereotype and can enable consumers to see their relationship with your brand as a friendship based on mutual caring and respect.


Now, there are two important steps to empathy as a brand:

  1. You must encourage people to empathize with your brand, and
  2. You must show that you, as a brand, empathize with your consumer base.

Encouraging people to empathize with your brand is simple enough. When developing your social media strategy, take time to consider your brand voice. Think of your brand as if it were a person. What sort of voice would it have? Are you going for a more casual tone, or a more formal one? Either one can be suitable, as long as you are consistent.

The more you present your brand as an entity, the more relatable it will be. You can also focus on the community behind your brand — the employees and clients that make it possible.

Social media is your chance to let consumers see “behind the scenes” at how things are run in your business. And if you take the time to portray yourself as a passionate, approachable business, people will respond and empathize with your brand as a result.

However, having your consumers empathize with your brand is not enough. To truly foster a connection, you must show that you empathize with them, as well.

There are a few simple ways to establish this. To begin, you should always respond quickly and courteously to any consumers who reach out to you with questions or concerns. Let them know that you truly care about how they feel — that you do not just want to fix their issue; you also want them to be pleased with the service. This will show that you care about their feelings.

Once you have established yourself as a brand that will actively listen and take into account consumer concerns, you can take things a step further. Reach out to your community. Perhaps create a fundraiser or do some charity work. Show that you care about all of the people around you, not just the people who buy your product.

If you take steps to portray your brand as one that genuinely cares about people and their feelings, consumers will respond to it. And you will be able to build a genuine connection with your current followers and reach out to new ones.




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