Creating an emotional connection: how content design can build brand loyalty


“It’s not personal. It’s just business.”

The phrase popularized by the original Godfather movie may still have its blockbuster appeal, but when it comes to modern marketing, the exact opposite is true: businesses thrive to the extent that they are personal, building customer loyalty through emotional connection.

Humanizing your business

A recent Forbes article cites a study by Trinity Mirror Solutions which reports that “42% of people distrust brands, mainly because they consider them to be part of the establishment.”

Consumer distrust comes from seeing brands as large, faceless corporations, impersonal and not in touch with or interested in their lives. The antidote to this is a business approach and marketing strategy centered on humanizing your brand.


Making it personal

Humanizing your brand doesn’t mean you forget about informing your target audience and making an intellectual connection—it just means you don’t stop there. Here are some ways you can supercharge the impact of your connection by leveraging content design to build emotional engagement:

  • Ditch the lecture. According to Forbes, “almost 90% of social media messages are unanswered by brands who send four times as many posts as replies.” The takeaway here is to adopt an approach to social media that is more dialogue than lecture. Instead of an endless stream of generic posts that may or may not be in line with what your audience cares about at any given moment, focus on eliciting feedback (and implementing it!) responding to comments, and creating an exchange whose course is directed by your customers’ expressed interests.


  • Tell a story. If you’re ready to upgrade your smartphone, you want to know about the technological features of the phone you’re considering, but what’s going to tip the scale in favor of one version or brand over another? You’re going to buy the phone you can see fitting into your life, meeting your particular needs, and solving your problems. You’re going to buy the phone that gets you through the day without having to recharge the battery, has the best camera so you can up your selfie game, and has enough memory for you to download apps to your heart’s content. And you’re going to buy that phone even if it’s a bit more expensive, because its marketers have drawn a connection between their product and your real-life needs.


  • Go to the source. You want to know what your customers want? Ask them. Actively seek their input and feedback, and let them know you’ve heard them when they provide it. Soliciting and implementing customer feedback shows your customers that you aren’t a cold and unapproachable corporation churning out generic products. Your content will serve as a catalyst for customer loyalty when customers see that there are real people behind your products and services who care about them and value their opinion.


The power of emotional connection

Research conducted by The Harvard Business Review used satisfied customers as a baseline to highlight the difference between the value emotionally connected customers bring to a company over time, and the value of their non-emotionally connected counterparts. They discovered that customers who felt an emotional connection to a brand provided a value of 52% above the baseline, while those who did not provided a value of -18%, or 18% below the baseline.

Emotional connection motivates customers to visit your store or online shop more frequently, purchase more often, and more readily act as a brand ambassador, recommending your products and services to others.

The future of business is personal, and requires marketing strategies that humanize and engage. With emotion now recognized as the prime factor driving customer satisfaction and loyalty, companies that gear their content design towards emotional connection can transform transactions into relationships, yielding value that increases exponentially over time.


Illustrated Designs, Inc. has been at the forefront of the marketing industry for 30+ years. From design to execution, their innovative design team develops catalogs, event décor, printed materials, 3-D displays, and more.

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