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Brands need to deliver on multiple levels of empathy

Brands need to deliver on multiple levels of empathy

Kirti Rampal

Account Director

Kantar, Insights Division

Consumers are facing a flux, a new normal that is marked by a negotiated restriction, one that balances the fear of disease with the courage to normalize. Times like these call for brands to be more empathetic than ever. Brands need to deliver at multiple levels of empathy:

Cognitive Empathy: Understand and offer. Acknowledge the fear and panic people have felt, and also acknowledge consumers’ desire to mitigate these feelings. Design solutions that can help manage psychic stress: for instance, the reassurance provided by Zomato’s contactless delivery system. Brands can also help to manage fear by offering innovations that fulfill the glaring needs of health, nutrition, or immunity – Viroprtek’s sanitizer spray for surfaces, and Mother Dairy’s turmeric milk for boosting immunity, are both successful examples of this.

Emotional Empathy: Be positive and meaningful. With reopening, a new sense of courage and determination to fight back the pandemic has emerged. Brands need to infuse this spirit in both their tonality and their offerings. They need to touch the lives of consumers in a meaningful manner, and in turn create positive memories. Brands need to be seen as partners who stood their ground alongside consumers during the pandemic. A good example of this is when Barilla pasta partnered with Roger Federer to play tennis on the rooftop with budding Italian players. The goal of such communications is to inspire a sense of hope and optimism in consumer – while weaving a positive image for the brand.

Compassionate Empathy: Connect and deliver. Brands need to be visible and talk directly to consumers. They need to empathize with not just the consumer but the community as well.  Purposeful marketing can be used to build the right emotion and image for a brand. Think of Perfetti’s Alpeliebe “Salute the Heroes” campaign, or Coca Cola’s drive to provide hygiene kits for frontline warriors. The undiluted consideration and intent of a brand could go a long way in building trust and love.