Emotional loyalty marketing: 3 tips to help keep emotions front and center

During the Loyalty Academy conference earlier this month, there was a lot of chatter around the impact personalization has on loyalty marketing. In fact, I recently was interviewed on this topic to share my thoughts and insights on how we view and implement personalization strategies here at Epsilon.

We help clients develop 1:You communications and experiences with their customers. 1:You is a holistic customer experience strategy that focuses on personalization with the best choice for individuals across all touchpoints or interactions. And understanding the role of emotions in your 1:You (or personalization) marketing is essential for success.

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— Personalizing the loyalty experience

There are multiple stages of emotions that customers progress through as they are becoming brand loyal. I’m not going to focus on the specific stages within our model here; instead I’ll explore some tips and tactics on how you can keep emotions front and center during your marketing planning and beyond.

Data is your best friend when it comes to understanding emotions

As marketers, we tend to think within our own data set. There are emerging data points that can be used as emotion indicators, and machine learning plays an integral role. For example, companies like Disney have developed emotional data capture methods of being able to detect when viewers display emotions, such as laughter, during their movies. The emotions displayed on the viewers’ face are detected through an algorithm which is then translated into actionable data. When these behavioral data points are integrated into a marketer’s data set, you’re on the path to fully understanding your customers’ emotions and gaining a 360-degree view.

Being brand empathetic wins customers over

Loyalty is not linear, and it has emotions. Your members (customers) react when they sense you’re empathetic to their wants and needs. When they see the human side of your brand, they can relate. And they’re able to sense your brand’s Big L Loyalty: the approach to loyalty that focuses on the human experience. Being true to yourself and your brand is critical in forming the trust bond with your customers. While there are so many examples of brands who show brand empathy, one that forever stays with me is Procter & Gamble’s ‘Thank you Mom’ campaign that was launched during the Olympics. The campaign reflects all the mothers who spent countless hours taking their children to practices and competitions and helped them ‘win’ during their setbacks and instills in them determination and to never give up. As a mother of three children, this instantly hits home for me and connects me to the Procter & Gamble brand.

Understand ‘the biology’ of loyalty

From our research in developing the stages of emotions, we discovered there are loyalty-inducing chemicals that are released in the brain during each emotional stage. For example, we all know that Dopamine is the ‘feel good hormone’. This chemical is produced in the ‘reward center’ of our brain and alerts us that our needs are about to be met. Knowing the emotion this chemical triggers is helpful while loyalty marketers are entrenched in their loyalty emotional marketing planning. If efforts are focused on inducing these chemical triggers, marketers win.

As you’re evaluating your emotional loyalty marketing capabilities, think about how your technology infrastructure can support these efforts. Platforms like Agility Loyalty help marketers to achieve their 1:You strategies and create ever-lasting loyalty relationships. Loyalty is filled with emotions. It’s people that  create the emotional elements while the technology fulfills on them.