Sometimes inspiration and illumination hit you when you’re not expecting them. And it’s those unforeseen moments that usually stick and provide a slightly new perspective on something. Somehow, they always seem more memorable when they catch you off guard.
A perfect example happened to me last year. I was having a conversation with an industry leader that I have an awful lot of respect for – James Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Bella Groves Assisted Living in San Antonio. We were trying to decide on a topic for an upcoming joint webinar, a conversation that evolved into something that has really stuck with me since.
We discussed what had been on our minds lately, recent trends we had seen in the senior living industry, and what our industry peers had been up to. Eventually, though, that far-reaching conversation narrowed its focus to the subject of empathy, a trait that, at least for me, is far easier to talk about than practice, in both my professional and personal lives.
Thankfully, given how much James has seen and accomplished in senior living over the years, he had a really unique view of empathy, how it can inform and steer a marketing strategy, and how we can better integrate it into our leadership. If you’re anything like me, the following four tips will help your marketing efforts be more empathetic, engaging, and meaningful, no matter what industry you’re in.
1. Define Empathy Accurately
To paraphrase the good folks at Merriam-Webster, empathy is the action of understanding and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and perspective of another. And while that's certainly an accurate definition of the topic, that's not really what I mean by saying "define empathy accurately."
Instead, you need to level-set what empathy means to you and your messaging. Granted, that might mean something slightly different between people, teams, and organizations. Still, once you accurately define what the term represents, then you have something to build from. Just remember, empathy is a skill, not an emotion. So just like any skill, practicing empathy makes perfect.
2. Do Your Homework
Once you've defined empathy, then you can really dig in and see how it pertains to your audience. This is both a quantitative and qualitative exercise, requiring research and thought to truly understand your customers and what they care about.
My suggestion is to use your definition of empathy as a touchstone, both in your messaging as well as how you lead your team. In each instance, understanding the perspective and needs of others – while also staying aware of their thoughts and feelings – will help you form more powerful connections with customers and coworkers alike.
3. Help Instead of Sell
Your customers want to trust you. Thus, if your marketing strategy is effective, then your audience won't feel as if you’re always trying to sell them a product or service. Instead, taking a more educational approach is usually going to be more impactful than a subtly veiled sales pitch that demands their time and attention.
4. Communicate Authentically
Continuing the theme of trust, your target audience will only engage with your marketing efforts when it's authentic. Otherwise, they'll view you, your product or service, and message as fake. And that, suffice it to say, is basically poisonous to your marketing strategy.
So how can you come across as authentic and seep your message in genuine empathy? That's where video can play such an essential role, uniquely capable of building relationships, connections, and that ever-important authenticity.
For example, a remote setting or behind-the-scenes video can be especially powerful in conveying vulnerability and genuineness in your brand. Because as useful as eloquent copy and appealing imagery are to your communication, they'll never be as immersive as video.
Simply put, video is a form of content that lets you be yourself and communicate in a unique, personalized way that's true to your brand and vision. In other words, video breeds empathy, something OneDay’s platform makes convenient and effective. And I can't wait to tell you all about it.