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Posted By Phase2 on 01/25/2022

The Keys to an Authentic Digital Experience

The Keys to an Authentic Digital Experience

In a world of content overload, misinformation, and growing competition, how do you break through the noise and distinguish your business? Many companies are missing the mark on two fundamental truths that have a huge impact on trust, brand perception, and decision making:

  1. 95% of decisions are based on emotions, not logic
  2. Humans prefer simplicity and immediacy

Regardless of how well-planned marketing roadmaps appear on paper, or how your martech stacks are optimized, if you’re not creating emotional connections and offering frictionless experiences, you're missing opportunities and losing share of wallet.

Digital marketers, we are often distracted by:

  • conference buzzwords and industry jargon,
  • expanding martech stack(s) with the next promising service,
  • and relentlessly publishing and broadcasting how great a product or service is to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Your messages are seemingly well written, factual, and logical. The problem is that humans don’t always connect to logic or make solely logic-based decisions. And we aren’t loyal to logic. 

95% of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind, according to Harvard Business School professor, Gerald Zaltman.

If you’re not connecting with your audience on an emotional level, you’re mostly throwing good money after bad. Don’t get me wrong, brand awareness and inbound marketing are necessities, however, emotional connections have proven to increase the number and quality of leads and conversion rates, close more sales, and build long-term loyalty. Isn’t that a better business investment? So, how do you nurture emotional connection?

Nurture Emotional Connection Through Storytelling

The most successful brands in the world didn’t start off that way. They grew by doing a few things REALLY well.

  1. They understood what motivates people and clearly articulated why (not how) they’re different.
  2. They empathized with the human experience and made the audience feel understood.
  3. They made people’s lives easier.

Apple Inc.’s Journey to Greatness

After near bankruptcy in 1997, during a booming PC market where Microsoft, Compaq, Gateway, and seemingly every other PC company touted processing power, storage space, and price, Apple simply changed the conversation.

They started with ‘why.’

“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly. And we happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?” -- Simon Sinek

Meet Them Where They Are and Start With Why

Instead of focusing on product specifications/differentiation, Apple focused on emotional connection. Their message, ”We’re not like everyone else. We don’t want to be like everyone else. We think differently. If you believe like we believe, join our movement.” 

It worked. Apple’s computer sales exploded, its stock soared, and eventually Apple became an iconic brand with massive, long-term customer loyalty.

Louis Vuitton sells leather goods, but what do they really sell? Status. Success. Elegance. A symbol of the elite. You can buy a fake Louis on the street, but it won’t give you the same feeling.

It’s also why successful real estate agents drive BMWs, Audis, or Teslas. All of these brands lead with ‘why’ because they know that the real value proposition is in the story we tell ourselves and the image we project to the world.

Is your content focused on you, your success stories and product specs, or your customer’s “why?” If the former, rethink your strategy and develop pathological empathy:

  • meet the audience where they are (understand their journey),
  • lead with why,
  • use a customer-centric point of view (replace we and our with you to shift focus).

Reduce Complexity and Friction

If Amazon’s success has taught us anything, it’s that humans prefer simplicity and immediate gratification over friction and complexity.

A few weeks ago, I shared a LinkedIn post about my four-year-old daughter purchasing $1,500 worth of toys from Amazon. In that post, I received multiple comments about similar purchases - one for a $3,000 trampoline!

While some might argue that Amazon has made purchasing too simple (creating challenges) the overwhelming success of their company comes from ease-of-use, convenience, and immediate gratification.

This can also be said of Uber, Netflix, and Chase Bank. All have distinguished themselves by removing barriers, reducing anxiety, and offering speed and convenience.

Whether you're a financial institution focused on new account openings or a global manufacturer of products:

  • offer a simple, intuitive experience across all of your web properties and devices
  • and reduce complexity and friction-points throughout the value chain for improved conversions, referrals, and customer loyalty. 

Finally …

In a world littered with poor content, subpar digital experiences, and echoes of the same message, be better. Start by ensuring that your brand is focused on the audience's real wants and desires. Write for them, rather than at them. Understand their challenges and meet them where they are. Focus less on target demographics and more on psychographics - after all, Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles have VERY similar demographics. Above all, be authentic, empathetic, and offer seamless, frictionless digital experiences. These small, but important changes can make a huge difference in brand perception, conversions, referrals, and revenue.

Brent Bice

Brent Bice
Director, Commercial Markets

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