What is Empathy and Why is it Not Enough?
We all know the basic definition of empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. However, today, that simple idea is not enough. In some ways it should be easier since we are all more or less feeling the same thing; we are uneasy, frightened, confused, and probably concerned for others. Today I want you to look inside yourself, as an executive, a company, or a brand, and do a bit more. The #JustBeNice and #BeGoodToPeople mindset is a good place to start. It is really no different than all the urging I have been doing the past few years trying to get marketing executives to think more like consumers and see their marketing from the eyes of a consumer. I would suggest turning your lens inward and looking at your own feelings as they relate to what’s going on today. What’s happening with your family? How are you feeling about your 401K, your investments, or your ability to continue to pay your bills? Will your company be able to continue to keep paying your employees? Remember to transfer that empathy to the people you’re dealing with or marketing to.
Why You Cannot “Yo-Yo” Your Relationships with Customers
The problem right now is that our mindsets must change, and not just for the moment. People and companies who basically send the message, we will only care about you during a crisis, will suffer as soon as they go back to business as usual after the crisis. People will see through the fake. So be upfront… let them know you plan to put people first, do what you can to support them, and not try to sell something non-essential, when right now essentials, and being prepared, are what matter. This is the perfect opportunity to build your business and brand long term—to show people it’s not just about the moment. This moment, like others before it, will pass. Yes, we’re all in this together, because this crisis is global. But businesses need to communicate to their customers that they intend to make nurturing their relationships “business as usual” from here on out. Especially in the B2B space, there really is no excuse whatsoever for companies not to pay more attention to simple things like birthdays, family events, life events.
Consistency is key, just as it is in personal relationships. You can’t be perfect in every situation, but if you’re consistent enough and do your level best to take care of people the way you would want to be taken care of, it comes back to you. It might not be immediate or direct, but when you build that kind of brand, you’ll find that people will come to your defense on the odd occasion that someone comes after you for not living the brand.
Is Your Brand an Outgrowth of Your Actions?
I have been preaching this for longer than I can remember, and this is the perfect time to drive it home: A Brand is What a Business or a Person Does… a Reputation is What People Remember and Share.
A perfect example is a topic I have been talking about on stage and online, for the past year or so… it’s time to change the conversation from “Targeting” to “Matchmaking.” This is so critically important and something that is all about what’s happening now. Don’t “target” me and try to sell me shit now… find what I need, what’s essential, and “match me with it”
Having business empathy is crucial to your business… now and moving forward, but I also think that if we all develop the habit of gratitude, we would be much better off. Why? Because being in a state of gratitude heals your mind, body and spirit—important preparation for developing and maintaining healthy relationships, which are key to everything in life. Always keep in mind that… relationships are like muscle tissue; the more you engage them, the stronger and more valuable they become.
This was originally on Ted Rubin.