Perhaps the most important lesson we learned at this year’s Digital Summit Boston was how best to deliver “content with empathy.” In a world where people scroll an average of 300 feet in social media content per day [NetNewsLedger, Jan 2018], it’s crucial for brands to stand out by delighting and inspiring their audiences. Successful brands are relatable and go the extra mile to help and guide others so they develop a sense of ownership and empathy towards the brand.
One of the most inspiring Summit seminars on empathetic marketing was delivered by the opening keynote speaker, Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes. Ann gives a big thumbs up to brands who know how to create content that doesn’t “look” like marketing. Brands that take the time to create content that educates instill a deeper value in those customers. They also breed an army of brand ambassadors spreading the word about positive experiences.
Scott Brinker (Hubspot VP Platform Ecosystem) said that while data is important to marketing, brands that deemphasize data and emphasize people in their digital advertising have 7x more success.
As an example of empathetic marketing, Ann Handley used the brand, Blue Bottle Coffee. Based out of Oakland, CA, Blue Bottle Coffee sells a variety of items including whole bean coffee, ground coffee, brewing equipment, and coffee subscriptions. Their educational content goes above and beyond other coffee offerings. Blue Bottle Coffee made a series of free videos that teach viewers the science behind coffee beans, how to choose the right ones, how to properly taste coffee, and how to adequately use coffee equipment in their own homes.
What We Learned: Blue Bottle Coffee wanted to inspire customers to brew coffee at home. To increase importance of home brewing, they created premium video content to educate their customers. They shared product info throughout the video and instilled brand loyalty in viewers. Good marketers see what their customers need and then find creative ways to fill the void.
Inspire Through Change
Other Digital Summit Boston seminar leaders who shared inspirational content focused on brands who turned their messages back to the customer. This is an idea that is already evident in one of our own clients, Sweet Paws Rescue.
Sweet Paws is a non-profit animal rescue in Essex, Massachusetts. They specialize in the rescue of dogs and cats from Mississippi, Alabama, and Massachusetts. Their brand mission is: Saving people. One dog at a time. While their job is to rescue animals, their mission also shares the benefit of animal ownership for the people who adopt them. Sweet Paws is the perfect example of a non-profit using empathetic marketing strategies that inspire. Their brand focus on mental and emotional health is relatable and shows life improvement through purchase.
What We Learned: The Sweet Paws mission shares a commitment to animal rescue as well as a commitment to the well-being of its adopters and foster parents. Find ways to show that your product can improve someone’s quality of life. Post blog posts on health studies, share testimonials from past customers, or create videos that tell stories of customer betterment.
Empathetic Marketing Strategies: A Time to Kvell
Smartphones have opened up a new world of digital content strategy for brands. As a result, finding relatable and creative ways to make unique experiences for audiences has never been easier…or more difficult. There is so much competition, but there is also so much technology available. The thing that will set your brand apart from others is the empathetic content you share.