Forrester 2020 CX Summit: Emotion and Empathy Drive the Customer Experience

The 2020 Forrester CX Summit is all about convergence – convergence of branding, marketing, and customer experience. Day 1 speakers explored various aspects of this imperative. After watching different presentations, I saw two major themes emerge:

CX + Brand = Business Performance

Forrester Analyst Dipanjan Chatterjee presented Forrester’s new assessment model for aligning brand and CX in a way that drives revenue growth, profitability, brand equity, and employee empowerment. By managing the convergence of brand and CX, he argued, businesses can increase business performance measurably. But how? He stressed:

  • Understanding the purpose of your brand and its promise.
  • Aligning your entire organization around that brand promise.
  • Aligning brand and CX to deliver on the emotional value of the brand.

This all may sound like common sense, but he said that few brands are evolving to consistently deliver value by aligning brand and CX. In fact, only 8 percent of brands are fully evolved in his view. Half of brands are either novices or in early transition.

And then there are notoriously miserable failures to deliver on a brand promise, such as the infamous Fyre Festival – which was so poorly executed that the “experience” didn’t even make it out of the starting blocks.

Why? There are many reasons, among them businesses failing to think through their brand promise. As he put it, a brand promise that has not been thought through will starve an experience.


Customer Experience Needs More Empathy and Emotion

Forrester Analyst Jay Pattisall took a deeper dive into how aligning branding and CX to deliver an emotional connection with an audience. He also discussed the need for CX and Marketing to rally around customer empathy.

Ostensibly, his presentation was about the value of building a culture of creativity centered on the customer experience. He noted that great customer experiences are supposed to meet on the customer’s wants and needs, which requires empathy. And an experience should build long-term loyalty, which is where creating an emotional bond comes into play. These realities are true of Marketing, too.

But unfortunately, Marketing and CX for too long have been misaligned even though they both care about emotion and empathy. By achieving a convergence between CX and Marketing, a business can make customer experiences resonate.


Emotionally Intelligent CX = a Great CX

These insights resonated for me because Isobar has always placed a premium on the value of building great experiences rooted in emotion and empathy. Today we call this Emotionally Intelligent CX, and it powers the work we do for our clients from strategy to execution to launch.

Of course, doing so is easier said than done, especially as businesses respond to the rapidly changing consumer behaviors emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic. Within only a matter of weeks during the pandemic, we saw dramatic shifts in behavior, such as people moving most of the customer experience online and rethinking how they integrate the offline parts of that journey in an era of social distancing. Businesses need to rethink how they map customer journeys and re-align themselves accordingly.

It’s also time for brands to take a closer look at the emotional drivers behind those journeys. At Isobar, we use our own MindSight research tool to do that. As we blogged recently, MindSight uses a person’s visceral responses to a series of images to identify emotionally-based motivations that influence someone’s impressions and decision making processes.

With MindSight, we uncover the wants and needs that people won’t or cannot express. We identify the positive emotions that might pull consumers toward a category and brand — and the negatives that might push them away. By targeting these aspirations and frustrations, MindSight provides critical insights for marketing to emotional end benefits.

When a business taps into the emotional drivers of decision making, it takes a big first step toward achieving both an emotional connection and empathy. Contact us to learn more.