Empathy is the Thing We All Need

September 14, 2022

Last week, Adweek published an article about why agencies must practice empathy in health care messaging. A number of studies and industry experts made the case for why warmth and understanding are more effective at getting people to take action and make healthy changes in their lives.

If you’re at all familiar with our agency, you know that empathy is something that we talk about a lot. And while last week’s article was especially relevant for our health care clients, it’s also an important reminder for everyone who “does marketing.” Regardless of your industry, you are reaching real people and need to consider how you fit into their lives.

Here are some of the key takeaways and how they can apply to your brand. 

  • Don’t make people feel bad. It’s easy to resort to scare tactics or negative messaging. But shame doesn’t empower people to make change. Think about how you can lift people up and inspire them to act. 
  • Facts and stats aren’t enough. You need to take the extra step to humanize your content and make an emotional connection. 
  • Understand the larger context of their lives and the world they exist in. People are products of society and their environment. What larger issues might be shaping their behavior? If you’re an energy drink, what factors in their life might be making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep and how can you provide them with the support they need? 
  • Think about where they will be comfortable receiving your message. Not just where, but when. If your ad is going to trigger feelings of stress, showing up during a hectic part of their day probably won’t be effective. You need to consider their headspace and how it will impact their perception. 
  • Understand why they are not engaging. When marketing efforts don’t go as planned, we tend to focus on shifting budgets, scrutinizing KPIs and other important pieces to get you the results you need. But we need to make sure we don’t forget the people we are trying to reach. Understanding why they might not be engaging with your ad—on a truly human level—can help you adjust with empathy and improve your end performance.