DW's Blog

Emotional Connection

by DW Green — April 24, 2019

People are emotionally connected to grocers

I’ve been an advocate of emotional branding for more than twenty years. A company’s ability to connect emotionally with their customers is a huge, huge benefit and competitive advantage. But it doesn’t happen on its own. Emotional branding needs to be a cornerstone of a company’s brand. It needs to be stated and implemented in every daily activity performed.

I read an interesting article by Amit Sharma, in the April 18, 2019 Harvard Business Review, entitled What the Grocery Stores Holding Their Own Against Amazon Are Doing Right. The following is an excerpt from the article.

“Emotional connection is another driver of loyalty; our survey found that 50% of consumers are more likely to buy again from a brand that connects with them emotionally or reflects their values. 

People are emotionally connected to grocers, as utilitarian as grocery shopping may seem. For example, Trader Joe’s, which ranked highly in the C Space study, inspires loyalty by creating an enjoyable shopping atmosphere. A 2018 Forrester survey of 287 brands rated Trader Joe’s first in positive customer experiences, and the company regularly outranks other grocery chains in sales per square foot. Trader Joe’s fans closely follow new product releases, request stores in their towns, and have even created their own community on Reddit.

Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer grocery delivery, but it has created such a personal and enjoyable shopping experience that customers actually want to visit its stores. Everything at Trader Joe’s is designed to make grocery shopping feel more friendly, personal, and laid-back, including its flexible return policies, free samples, quirky product labels, fast check-out, and helpful employees. The associates, called “crew members,” are happy — Trader Joe’s has made Glassdoor’s list of Top 100 Best Places to Work five times since 2010 — and create a feeling of community by talking with shoppers and recommending their favorite products. “Friendliness and service” earned Trader Joe’s the top ranking in a 2018 study of shoppers’ favorite grocery brands.

By investing in the factors that build long-lasting loyalty instead of transactional programs that most people ignore, grocers can attract repeat buyers and brand advocates. As shoppers expect more from the brands they do business with, they will prioritize their experience with a company, both online and in-person, over everything else. The companies that offer people the most flexibility, communicate directly and effectively, and connect with them emotionally will emerge as the winners.

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