We, as humans, are emotionally driven beings. We desire a sense of security, belonging, identity, and purpose. Those needs drive our emotions, and as a result, our emotions drive what we purchase. In a recent Level Up episode titled, “The Psychology of Why We Buy,” Jordan Kraus, a Client Success Partner at Lev stated, "Consumers are primarily using emotions, their personal feelings, their experience with the brand, rather than the facts associated with the product, like brand attributes, and features of the product.”
Brands who are able to meet consumers where they're at emotionally are more likely to build long-lasting relationships and loyalty and increase the likelihood of continual patronage. In this article, we’ll discuss current trends within the B2C space and how you can utilize personalization and visual storytelling to better connect with consumers.
Authenticity is King
Consumers want to purchase from companies and causes they believe in. They are more likely to interact with brands that prioritize authentically ethical, social, and environmental ways of doing business. For example, simply changing your logo to the colors of the Pride flag during Pride Month doesn’t make your company an LGBTQ+ ally, especially if you are just using it as a sales tactic.
More and more consumers want businesses to put their money where their mouth is by truly supporting and donating to causes they believe in. According to Salesforce’s 2022 State of Marketing Report, 88% of customers expect brands to demonstrate clear and strong values. If your messaging is just lip service, they will take their business elsewhere. In Adobe’s 2022 Trust Report, 55% of 12,000 global consumers who were surveyed said that they will never give a brand their business again when their trust is broken.
So, be intentional about how your organization makes an impact socially and environmentally. Follow through on your values, and clearly communicate them in a way that authentically represents your audience and your brands.
Visual Storytelling Increases the Likelihood of Conversion
Video continues to be overwhelmingly popular with consumers. According to the Pew Research Center, YouTube is still the most popular social media platform by a large margin. We believe this is because engaging stories spark strong emotional connections. As people, we connect with characters and tales that move us; that make us sad; that encourages us to laugh. In fact, there’s even evidence that chemicals like cortisol, dopamine, and oxytocin are released in our brains when we hear stories.
According to a recent Harvard Business Journal article, “Cortisol assists with formulating memories. Dopamine, which helps regulate our emotional responses, keeps us engaged. When it comes to creating deeper connections with others, oxytocin is associated with empathy, an important element in building, deepening or maintaining good relationships.”
It’s no mistake that the top ten 2023 Superbowl commercials either tell an emotionally driven story or demonstrate how your life could be different with the products they are selling. Engaging stories don’t just help people retain and remember your brand, but also works effectively in building stronger relationships.
Consistent Personalization Builds Stronger Relationships with Consumers
Consumers want to be viewed as more than a number, and they want the advertisements and communications they receive to reflect that. People want to be treated like people and they expect brands to do just that by customizing the solutions and content they are sent.
But personalization isn’t just a one-and-done job; it’s a continuous evolving process that brands must keep experimenting with. Frequent experimentation and expansion of use cases is key as 83% of customers say they are more loyal to companies that provide consistent experiences. Of course, there are a few tactics you can consider implementing to build your own authentic customer experiences.
Next Steps to Building Stronger Consumer Relationships
Connecting with consumers means everything in the B2C space, but building an emotional connection is easier said than done. Though if you and your team work at it consistently, your consumers will notice and reciprocate.
Here’s a few ways you can elicit strong emotions from your consumers authentically and begin to build trust with your consumers:
Start personalizing - no matter how small it may be
Invest in video
Be consistent - Relationships aren’t built in a day
1. Start Personalizing - No Matter How Small It May Be
Personalization is a journey, not a destination. Small steps can snowball and lead to huge positive outcomes for both your business and your consumers.
Here are some small steps you can take:
Segment your email communications. Your segments do not have to be overly complex when starting out. Simply creating email lists based on demographic information is a huge step forward in ensuring your consumers aren’t inundated with irrelevant communications. From there, you can begin to consolidate customer data into one centralized location to overlay differentiating information, such as engagement and purchasing history, and contextual data, to further provide personalized content and offers
Embrace opt-in forms. When in doubt, ask your customers what information they care about most. The information you ask them may depend on your industry and the products/services you offer. This data will help further enhance your segmentation and customer journeys by providing further context into what your segments want from their interactions with your brand
Build an aspirational personalization wishlist. You do not have to reinvent the wheel when building out your personalization strategy. Begin listing out personalization ideas you’d like your team to one day implement. And if you don’t know how to build it, someone will, and you can partner with them to turn your vision into reality.
2. Invest in Video
You don’t need the latest and greatest cameras and sound equipment. Smartphones can record in 1080p. What you need is a willingness to try and experiment. If the rise of TikTok has shown us anything, it’s that there’s authenticity and an intimacy to amateur video productions. Just ensure that the videos you produce tell a compelling story that speaks to your audience’s values.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some video ideas you can use to begin:
Reach out to loyal consumers to create testimonials that visualize how your product/services have improved their lives
Highlight the many amazing things employees are doing to further your values and cause
Create tutorial videos that demonstrate how to utilize your products and services
3. Be Consistent - Stronger Relationships Aren’t Built in a Day
According to a study done by the University of Kansas, it’s estimated that it takes between:
40-60 hours to form a casual friendship
80-100 hours to transition from an acquaintance to a friend
200+ hours to become good friends
In a similar vein, you can’t expect consumers to trust you instantly. It takes repeat positive interactions to form trust between your organization and your audience.
So, remain consistent in personalizing your customer experience and being authentic to the values you share with your audience. Looking to expand your personalization strategy? Read our guide on Next-Level Personalization to discover how you can personalize your customer experience to ensure it drives impact and builds trust with your customers.