Love in the Age of Covid
Building a brand that customers love could earn you over 280% more revenue per customer. That seems like a pretty good return on investment.
Back in 2018, an agency specialising in customer relationships conducted a study on the impact of emotional connection on spending and how long 100,000 customers stayed loyal to retail brands. The findings tell us a lot about how important relationships are. And it put a value on those relationships!
“Satisfied customers” spent an average of US$275 per year and stayed with the brand for 3.4 years on average. “Emotionally connected” customers spent US$699 p.a. and stayed with the brand for 5.1 years. That’s an increase in spend per customer from US$935 to US$3565 (280% higher) as a result of their level of emotional engagement with the brand.
More than just satisfied customers
Every marketeer knows that a brand is more than just a logo: it also includes the customer’s (or employee’s) thoughts, feelings and emotions towards the company, its products and its symbols. A satisfied customer is the minimum: you are aiming for loyalty and devotion.
Imagine a coffee shop barista (bear with me). On your first visit he delivers a good cup of coffee with polite efficiency, so you go away satisfied. On the second visit he might remember your order, and you feel a relationship starting. After a week of daily visits you exchange small talk and maybe know a little about each other, and he might know if you are running late, feeling stressed, or smiling more than normal. And if he had a bad day on your 100th visit it is more likely you would be concerned than angry. You have an emotional connection.
We can’t all play golf
The coffee shop has an easy job building emotional connections: customers visit regularly and have face-to-face human contact over a product that is designed to give pleasure. But we don’t all have it so easy. Your touch points might be limited. Maybe yours is an annual purchase, a digital subscription or a product only used in negative situations. You might not have a tangible product at all, so the customer may not have any “physical evidence” to remind them of how great your service was.
Lengthy sales lunches and meetings at the 19th hole were already a thing of the past when COVID-19 erupted. Now we need to be smarter in our relationship building, and how we develop an emotional connection with customers.
Sharing the love with branded merchandise
Branded merchandise will help you build an emotionally connected audience. You need to choose wisely and deliver it thoughtfully.
We have three key questions that you can ask yourself when choosing a gift.
- Who is it for? Think about gender (yes, it makes a difference), age, job role, culture/ethnicity, lifestyle, location, and other demographic details. What do they value? And what do they consider to be “good quality”? What fits into their lifestyles?
- Will it be useful? The added value of corporate gifts comes from being used regularly, so your brand is seen more often. This is why pens continue to perform well, because most people see them as useful. But you need to choose your product to suit your audience’s work or home lifestyle.
- How does it fit my campaign? Is the product the right level of quality? Does it suit my brand and the product I am trying to promote? How will I get it to the end user? Financial services clients tend to focus on emphasising trust and reliability, whereas retail youth brands want to hit current trends. Make sure the product you choose will reinforce facets of your brand.
This could be the start of a beautiful relationship
There are three key moments in the life of a gift. Think about each of them when you choose, and it will help you build a stronger connection with each gifting opportunity.
- The Moment of Delight: The start of the customer’s relationship with a corporate gift is the moment you give it to them. Create a memorable moment, and give the customer then thrill of excitement and anticipation. Nice packaging, gift boxes and other design features will cost a little more, but can turn a humble pen into a birthday present!
- The Relationship: You have set everything up to succeed. Quality and usefulness are now important to deliver the benefits. If you have chosen right then a lot of the recipients will use the gift regularly, seeing your logo/messaging, and remember you fondly. Each time the product is used it will reinforce that connection to your brand. This is why pens offer over 1000% better ROI than digital advertising impressions.
- The Break Up: At some point all good things must come to an end, but it is better to end well. The average length of time that a person keeps a promotional gift varies depending on the product and person. For example, plastic pens are retained for 6 months on average, caps for 9 months, and so on.
When you can’t be there
At the time of writing, events and meetings are largely cancelled or restricted, reducing your options for building emotional connections with staff and customers. Take the opportunities you can to give a gift, and start building the connection. At BrandHK we now also offer delivery services for any volume of campaign: from 10 hand-delivered gifts to a 10,000-unit marketing campaign. This includes packaging design, mailing list and postal management worldwide.