More Than a Feeling: The Role of Empathy in Marketing

One of my favorite marketing strategies is empathetic marketing. Brené Brown defines empathy as feeling with people (SOURCE). Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, and it plays a pivotal role in creating marketing content that resonates with your desired audience. Empathy is the key to memorable storytelling, and storytelling is critical in the work we do at TealHaus–in fact, it is one of our core values.

Empathetic marketing isn’t about manipulating emotions, or neglecting data to focus on feelings. It involves researching and knowing the emotional makeup of an audience to create messaging that speaks directly to their hearts. Using empathy is especially important for an organization’s online presence. Social media posts and content that are inspirational or humorous have a higher performance rate and have increased engagement.

Content that strikes an emotional chord is more likely to be remembered, shared, and acted upon. In 2020, Edelman’s Trust Barometer report found that 83 percent of people wanted connection and empathetic support in what they were going through (SOURCE). While we’re no longer in the throes of a global pandemic, the desire for human connection and feeling seen remains. 

Organizations that consistently demonstrate empathy in their marketing efforts are perceived as more compassionate, trustworthy, and people-centric. Empathy not only informs communication strategies and brand voice, it also informs service development and innovation. When you shift your perspective and look into another person’s experience you can more accurately and creatively problem-solve and meet the client’s needs. 

Truly understanding someone’s experience or how they actually feel about something is the first step in strategic empathy. A lot of times, what people want and what people say they want are two different things. When empathy is being practiced, it’s easier to differentiate between what someone says versus what they mean. Storytelling is one of the best ways to demonstrate empathy and understanding. 

At TealHaus, we prioritize our clients’ stories to better convey their understanding and passion for the work they do. Sharing real stories about how your work affects people creates real connection. 

Empathy isn’t another trendy marketing term. It’s a powerful approach to reach people in a way that is simultaneously meaningful and effective. By prioritizing understanding and compassion in our marketing strategies, we create work that not only meets the needs of our clients but also engenders lasting relationships based on trust, loyalty, and shared experiences. We encourage our team members to show empathy and celebrate with them when they do because we believe it is a key ingredient in storytelling.

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