Make Your Messaging Stand Out With Empathy [Video]

While you may think your customers are making logical, rational decisions — it’s emotion that takes the lead. Learning to communicate with empathy is a skill most marketers struggle with. Do you talk about your brand, or the needs of your customer? Watch the video below to learn why you should lead with empathy in your marketing.

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See Full Transcript Below:
Hi, I’m John Keehler, and today I want to talk about why empathy is important in your marketing. I just published by Forbes article on seven essential inbound marketing strategies for healthcare, and the very first principle is to lead with empathy. You’ve heard us talking about StoryBrand, and one of the really core pieces of the StoryBrand framework is leading with empathy, the idea that your customer is the hero of the story. You’re not the hero of the story, and so I think empathy is a really big piece of this, but I want to talk a little bit about why empathy is important, so some more actionable stuff. The first thing I want to talk about is when most people hear empathy, they don’t think empathy. They think sympathy, and sympathy, I would say, is something very different than empathy, right?

You send someone a sympathy card, you’re really kind of distancing yourself from them, but empathy is really feeling alongside them, right, feeling with them. I think that’s a really important differentiator, right? As marketers, part of what we need to be able to do is to really empathize with our customers, with potential customers, and that really does mean putting yourself in their shoes without judgment, to really understand where they’re at, so that’s important for a few really key reasons. The first reason is that emotion is actually really do dictate a lot of our decisions. As much as we spend time kind of thinking about sort of the logical, rational sides of customers making decisions, at their heart, most decisions are really made in a very emotional level, so empathy is a really key piece of that.

The second thing I think that’s really important, why you should take empathy seriously, is that empathy can really be a differentiator for your brand, right? If most other folks in your category aren’t really talking about empathy, they aren’t really empathizing with customer emotions, you’ll stand out, right? I think that’s really important. Another thing to think about is, I really view empathy as the foundation of really great content strategy. I was listening to a great podcast this week, and there’s a guy named Joe Turnoff, and he’s talked a lot about content marketing, and he had a really great quote that resonated with me, that really made it clear to me why empathy is so important for most brands, particularly as it relates to content marketing. He says brands struggle to create because they can’t empathize. They have a hard time seeing the world through the lens of the buyer.

Instead, they insist on trying to persuade the buyer to see the world through their own perspective, so I would argue that empathy is probably one of the most important foundational pieces of a great content marketing strategy. Then finally, I think one of the really important ways to put empathy into action is through video. It’s one of the reasons why we’re talking to clients more about video, about creating video assets, right, is video is kind of the ultimate way to bring empathy to life, right? Words can only do so much to communicate that, so that’s really it for today. If your brand is struggling with kind of getting empathy into your content, if you’re looking to do something like go through a StoryBrand exercise, or create some video on behalf of your brand, reach out, get in touch.

Picture of Caitlin McNeely

Caitlin McNeely

Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist

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