August 08, 2019

The Emotional Edge - How Does Your Business Leave People Feeling

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In 2018 a Pew research report stated that the buying power of the Millennial surpassed that of the Baby Boomer. Newsflash! Millennials are thinkers and they think with their heart. The future outcome of your business will be intrinsically linked to your business’s ability to understand the power of an emotional signature. What is it? What does it do? How to use it for your benefit. 

Having an emotional edge is invaluable with 75% of the labor force being Millennials It has long been understood that people buy with emotion and they validate with cognition. Do you have any idea what "feeling" people are left with, after making a purchase of your goods or services? No, we aren't talking about a brief online survey, or stay on the phone to answer a few questions about their experience. We are talking about the emotional signature your company leaves with your customers. 

Be sure of this; if you are not aware of the emotional signature your business is leaving, it's still happening and the larger the organization, the more your company is vulnerable. There are several reasons it is important to understand emotional signatures. To start with you are spending time, human resources, and of course, capital to acquire customers. With an intelligent understanding of your companies’ emotional signature, you can lower your customer acquisition cost and very likely increase the lifetime value of each customer as a result of resales and an increase in organic referral due to turning customers into raving fans.

To create a better understanding of the emotional signature, I recommend the book How You Leave Them Feeling by Jesse Ferrell. In the simplest sense, this signature is defined as the way you impress people emotionally.

Engineering your emotional signature can provide you a significant edge with your competitors. It can also create a sticky factor that keeps those clients coming back. The greater the lifetime value of each client means that generally, you will be able to make your initial customer acquisition cost go down as well. One of the significant byproducts of a strong intentional design of your emotional signature is that your employees will generally rally around it, be proud of it and help propagate it. It includes a higher level of employee engagement and likely is accompanied by a robust cultural vitality. 

The key to using your emotional signature in a way that it is a "win-win" starts with an employee-centric process and ask them to answer what could be some tough questions. How do they feel about your product or service? Are they excited about the sales process? Do they think your marketing is a proper representation of what the customer receives? Would they buy what you are selling? How and what they would change?

Once you have collected this data you can begin to build some assumptions. Use those assumptions and test them with your actual clients. You must be willing to ask the questions. Are they excited about their experience with your company? Do they look forward to interacting with your employees? Are they proud to share with others? Conversely, are they telling you they are irritated when they are done experience with your company? Are they disappointed? Or even thinking about bringing their business elsewhere? You must know the cold hard facts to help engineer the best possible outcomes. 

Utilize mechanisms that are innovative that allow your clients an opportunity to share what they feel. Identify the best clients and have localized town halls to extract the hallmark elements of their experiences with you. Incent online participation in feedback forums and give things away of significant value for their participation. Have regional managers look for things that just jump off the page with significance by having client appreciation events.

Once you have compared your best client’s insights with your employees feedback you have the basic components to help you deliberately create your formula for your emotional signature. This will, in turn, create the opportunity to experiment with new initiatives so you can see how your clients respond. You can begin to ask people how they are feeling as they complete transactions with you and see if their feedback matches your goals. 

An article like this is not intended to give you all the answers, frankly, it's designed to spark you to curiosity and begin to ask questions and lots of them. Be ready to listen and dig deep. If you want to take a cue, head to YouTube and search SAP Clive Owen "feelings advertisements". When one of the world’s largest agencies are paying attention to the consumer's feelings, you can be sure you and I would do well to do so. 

Iconic logos and enduring brands were useful and now more than ever your edge in business will be defined by the experience people have with you. Make sure you know how you leave them feeling.   


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