Is empathy enough in a world where everyone speaks kindly?
Associate Vice President & SPD
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand another person’s feelings and experiences. And it has been the cornerstone of some of the greatest marketing campaigns.
This year everyone’s life got disrupted, and brands found new meaning in empathy. But when every brand is talking about how they understand and share customers’ feelings, very few expressions of empathy break out of the pack to get noticed, appreciated, and talked about.
So we should ask ourselves the question: Is this definition of empathy enough in today’s world? Or does it need something more? The answer might lie in understanding what really differentiates those few brands that did get noticed for their empathetic displays during lockdown.
Whether it was LVMH making and distributing free hand sanitizers, or Mahindra indigenously developing ventilators… Whether it was Rebook, Nike, or Cult.fit helping people stay to stay active at home… All of these brands expressed their empathy by taking the initiative to genuinely help either society in general, or their customers in particular. They translated empathy into action, in the same way that we ourselves would act in our personal lives to help someone we feel empathetic towards.
We sometimes forget that customers expect brands to behave like people do. So while empathy is still about understanding another person’s feelings and expressing authentic emotions – for brands, that emotional expression should be paired with genuine action that enables better lives for customers. Or the question will always be raised: “Is empathy without genuine action just faking it?”