can brands connect with consumers through empathy?
If empathy is the understanding of our emotional impact on others can the social, ethical and environmental strategy of a corporation impact on how consumers perceive it and if so does it really matter?
According to the Harvard Business Review, the perceived empathy of a business has a direct impact on its growth, productivity and earnings per employee. Using their own Empathy Index, the HBR has ranked companies based on their ability to create an empathetic culture and attract and retain the most engaged employees. The measure of empathy is broken down into ethics, leadership, company culture, brand perception and public messaging through social media. It also included a carbon metric. Looking specifically at US, UK and Indian companies, the index listed top performers with technology companies consistently outperforming other sectors.
Non-tech businesses that performed well were those with clean ethics records and high-profile purpose driven activity such as Unilever.
photo courtesy of harvard business review
We know that businesses that engage employees out perform those that do not. It's easy to see that committed purposeful businesses attract and retain talent, so nurturing empathy could be key to driving purpose throughout your company culture. It needs to be driven from the top down and communicated at every level of communication with employees in order to resonate beyond the company to the consumer. Companies that manage this create brands that consumers trust and believe in, which drives loyalty.