Empathy as a brand strategy in 2018

Our Trending 2018 report is a guide to what’s driving consumer behaviour in the next year. With Foresight Factory’s latest data and innovative case studies, it’s a resource full of inspirational and actionable content to support future-ready business planning. Humanise is the first action in our report that we’re inviting brands to adopt. The explanation is simple: as we explain in the Engineered Empathy trend, brands are expected to demonstrate emotional warmth and to empathise with their customers. Emotional intelligence is a skill that brands will be expected to perfect. How? By prioritising human interactions across all touchpoints (from chatbots to in-person service) and by capitalising on new tools – from big data to facial tracking devices and biometric monitoring – to engage customers with emotion-sensitive interaction.

 

Empathy is an uMarmite Tasteface app, an example of Engineered Empathy, Foresight Factory Trending 2018nderestimated value. As global citizen consumers in increasingly polarised times, we as much as our consumers, are looking for warmer interactions. But this is not about that fuzzy feeling, it’s a core commercial expectation. 58% of consumers consider socialising by IM as important as face to face, with a sizeable minority of 25% believing that it is more important. It’s clear that online is the place to be for important conversations. Leading the way are innovations like chatbots and real-time emotional tracking, which enable brands to reflect the consumer’s values back at them – with the caveat that they do so with authenticity, transparency and permission.

A number of brands are applying emotional upgrades to their offers: Consider Marmite’s TasteFace app that invited customers to upload a video of themselves eating the product. Using Microsoft’s Emotion API facial recognition technology to tell if the user’s face shows enjoyment or disgust, the results were easily shareable across social media channels. Using Microsoft’s Emotion API facial recognition technology to tell if the user’s face shows enjoyment or disgust, the results were easily shareable across social media channels.Sharing emotions have been further facilitated by Apple, with iPhone X owners now able to use “animojis”: customised, animated emojis that use the device’s FaceID functionality to track the user’s facial movements, enabling them to “share and express whatever you want to express”.

 

How can brands act?

The functional attributes of a brand are still critical, such as commitment to value, location and quality – but to really stand out from competitors in 2018 and beyond, companies will need to satisfy emotional needs of their customers. Using metrics to measure emotional impact of any given product, commercial process or service interaction has on a customer will form a strong basis for a truly consumer-centric business.

 

 

Interested in finding out more? Download the sample Trending 2018 report and uncover case studies, sector implications and Foresight Factory consumer data.