Empathy is an incredibly strong tool when it comes to marketing communications. Creating affinity with your brand in a consumer’s mind can have effects far beyond simply inducing them to make a one-off purchase - it can lead to lifelong relationships between a brand and its audience.
Developing that affinity is far easier said than done, however. For every example of a brand doing right by their audience and building values that match their own into all aspects of their business, there are as many examples of brands failing to do that well and being punished for it. Audiences - especially younger ones - are increasingly savvy when it comes to spotting brands that superficially tout values to appeal to audiences that they don’t actually embody.
Those challenges have been recognised as being true in the world of B2C marketing communications for years, where every success and mistake are dissected endlessly, but the lessons learned in that space are rarely if ever applied to B2B. Last year David Buttle, global marketing director for commercial at the Financial Times said: "Whilst a lot of attention has been given to studying the emotions associated with consumer behaviour, it is rarely considered in the world of B2B.”
This year at Cannes, The Drum and Reuters will present a panel discussion designed to correct that. The event, which has a particular focus on mapping the new B2B human journey, will let attendees examine the criteria required for brands to create a truly engaging B2B journey, from the first steps in creating an emotional reaction, to sustaining consumer affinity in the long-term.