How Empathy Shapes Branding

The Brand Story

The idea of a brand dates back to the primitive days of human civilization when ‘Brand’ represented a burning wooden stick. The very basic concept of branding is to symbolize ownership, Egyptians use to engrave on stones to distinguish their work from others. Right from the beginning branding was all about making an identity both literally and figuratively. Farmers use to mark their livestock to show difference and ownership. As time changed the concept of branding evolved accordingly, the simple idea of just marking one’s product and ownership took a greater form of connection with the consumers. In the era of the industrial revolution, a different type of branding was done by the manufacturer called ‘Mass Branding’ when the large scale of production was done to feed the increasing demand of the mass. Consumers were getting more accustomed to buying local factory-made products thus leading toward a generic form; to differentiate their product they started to engrave their logos or dialogues as unique identification. In 1875 the trademark registration act was passed which allowed businesses to legally mark their product in the market.

The Evaluation

Till the 1950s branding was done to mark the quality of products, and in the era of TV advertising this concept changed to show product differentiation and gain customer loyalty.

During the late ’90s, companies realized only selling products won’t be a reasonable way to sustain in the market, they started to invest into building a brand personality keeping the longer race in mind. Brand personality stands on two of the most important factors first trust, second value companies provide. TATA is one of the biggest examples when it comes to gaining consumer trust and value their consumer needs. However, more and more companies were sprouting up in the market making a homogeneous playground for every business to compete.

Brands aren’t just a brand anymore, it has become a way of life. If we see the current digital scenario of some of the digital platforms like Facebook & Google, they are the biggest and widest brand name we can see everywhere and without these platforms, we cannot imagine our day’s work.

In the present era of digital advertising, brands need to consider numerous things to maintain their image apart from selling products. For example, Reebok and Adidas both sell shoes and accessories. But what is the difference between the brands is that Rebook isn’t only selling shoes, they are selling fitness to their customers. And Adidas is selling the image of sportsmanship in the market. These are the core values where brands tap into the psyche of their audience – to maintain an image, compete in the market & sell products & services.

How Brands are using Empathy

In the present growing online market, the competition has become fiercer & purpose-driven in terms of branding and marketing. Companies aren’t selling products and services actually, rather they are selling values & ethics to their consumers, which is part of the brand personality. Consumers in the online world are very much aware of which is a sponsored ad, carousel ad, and the other formats. So, what do consumers search for while purchasing a product?

Consumers search for the connection with the respective brand while purchasing a product, a brand that will tap into the aspiration level of an individual. They search for detailed stories and individual experiences on these social platforms before buying any particular product.
Apple is one of the biggest examples, in their approach toward the customers, Apple never sells their product directly, rather they show the user experience to their customer providing a complete end-to-end solution. In the present era of multi-fracture problems globally, where climate change is one of the biggest problems looming over the head of the human race. The one-minute thirty-six-sec ad of the Apple 2030, further showed the greater vision of a brand and how they are contributing toward the current global issues. Where the company has pledged to go carbon neutral by the year 2030. More and more brands are adopting the storytelling approach to convey the brand experience to their consumers and also to build the brand image.

Another example of using the emphatical approach to convey the message of a brand is shown in the 2017 Samsung Customer Service Campaign. Where it is shown how far the company can go to serve their customers. An instant emotional connection with a wide range of audiences even with them not using the brand product. Ambuja Cement, one of the most trusted companies with a different range of building material products, used an emphatical approach in their 2018 ‘Chhat Pe Milte Hain’ video beautifully explored the emotional connection between an Indian family with the roof of their house. They made the video based on true stories, which we’re being told about those beautiful memories that are being attached to an individual with the roof. The undertone message of the video is the consumer’s trust in their products.

The strongest brands are those which put effort to sustain the personality they have in the market, by staying true to their core value. These brands know when to evolve and adapt to suit the customer’s lifestyle needs. In the current digital era branding is more about designing customer experience with their product, & connecting to the customer needs in Real-time.

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Author: Triparno Ghoshal
A science graduate with industry experience in advertising, infotainment, and content writing, Triparno is responsible for executing business campaigns on social media, analyzing growth, and figuring out new avenues of marketing in the digital space for the company and its clients.