'Fake it till you make it' is a phrase that should not describe your marketing strategy. In this day and age, consumers require more from a brand than just a product — they want the experience. Customers may forget what they purchased from you, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

According to Noah Fenn, "despite the accuracy of data, empathy is still the greatest tool in a marketer's toolbox." Basically, data can never take away the power of a true connection between a brand and its consumer. And the more real connections you build, the more opportunities will arise for consumers to advocate for your brand — allowing you to boost your brand presence even more.

If a consumer needs to purchase an essential product, they will buy it regardless of sentiment because it remains a dire need. But, these days, there are so many options available to clients. So, despite their needs, consumers will search for a brand that not only provides their necessities but also gives them that fuzzy feeling! 

Getting you a little emotional is media update’s Jana van der Westhuizen here to show you why applying sentiment to your marketing strategy is an integral part of understanding your audience and selling your brand.  

Get on board and let's get sentimental — here are three reasons why brands should actually care:

1. Sentiment drives revenue

The question that every marketer needs to be able to ask and answer is, "What does your consumer really want?"

Knowing the answer is ultimately the first step in changing your viewpoint to a more customer-centric approach. Let's be real — every marketer wants their commerce to increase and their revenue at a competitive advantage in the industry, but this should not be all that matters.

Connecting with your consumer should be a top priority; you need to capture their attention and break through the noise of the millions of ads and campaigns that the industry offers. Once you have created a lasting impression and proved to your audience that you can relate with them (while also providing for their needs), your consumer will stick with you. But more on customer loyalty soon …

A great example of a brand that connects with its audience, while still doing business as usual, is Lush. Its advert series 'How It's Made’ features employees in a simple environment, explaining to consumers exactly how products are made and what consumers can expect. 

This is smart — by integrating your employees into the marketing mix, you create a human connection, all while still proving to the consumer that what you are marketing is of good quality.


2. Sentiment creates brand loyalty

Yes, to sell, sell, sell is always the main goal for any business; but having consumers that will show support for your brand is worth more than the one-timers that will not return. When a brand establishes trust and solid communication with its audience, it automatically helps it to:
  • clear up any blurred lines and policies. When you are direct about what your values are, and where your brand is heading, it helps to resolve any unanswered questions that your consumers may have.
  • know who your audience is, what their preferences are and how they view your brand. With listening tools, you can get data that determine the sentiment your consumers have towards your brand messaging. With this information, you can adjust your communication strategy to provoke emotion from your audience and grab their attention.
  • relate with your consumer to create a realm where your users will form part of your brand community. We all know that everybody wants to feel part of something bigger than just themselves.
Having brand loyalty will help you to create continuity in your consumer trends as they will not choose another brand. This rings true because the moment a consumer associates your brand with good feelings, they will always come back for more. 

An example can be seen with Coca-Cola's 'Share a Coke' campaign. It invited users to join a 'community' by feeling a sense of belonging when they use this product. This brand is identifiable and inclusive as they connect with real-life people. Marketers, take notes!

3. Sentiment creates user-generated content

When your brand creates a safe space for users to interact online, it will encourage them to take part in your conversations. This then allows your brand to learn more about its consumers along the way and to implement their specific preferences.

When you ask consumers to tell you more about who they are and what they want to see from your brand, it makes them feel like your brand does care about them as an individual. Not only do you gain consumer trust, but you also have access to user-generated content (UGC). This type of content refers to anything created and posted by users online. 

UGC performs well, simply because people like to see what other consumers think and feel about a brand or its products. At the same time, it allows people to see how a brand interacts with its audience. 

With content like this, your audience will do the talking for you and happy consumers will become advocates for your brand.

A good example of a user-generated campaign is Dove's '#ShowUs campaign'

This movement encouraged users to send authentic photos of themselves to place emphasis on a range of social-economic topics to address factors from age to career goals.

This user-generated content boosts positivity among customers and creates a sense of authenticity because real people can express themselves in a unique manner through your marketing efforts. 

So, get a little bit of sentiment into that marketing strategy and watch the magic happen!

Marketers, would you change your marketing strategy to become more emphatic with your consumer? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Do you want to learn more about how your brand can be more authentic in its marketing efforts? Then read more in our article, Marketers, you don't have to fake it.
*Image courtesy of Unsplash