4 reasons empathy-based marketing needs to be applied in Nigeria

By Zion Rufus

Customer-centricity, audience targeting, and building personalized experiences now borders on the concept of empathy-based marketing as changes in consumer behavior now require brands to see through the eyes of their consumers.

Greater competitive advantage

Today, infusing empathy into marketing strategies and approaches have become highly imperative. Not only do consumers feel more drawn to brands that stand for something, what the brand stands for also plays a vital role. Brands are now required to be clear on their positions, viewpoints, and the roles they intend to play in society, especially on issues that matter to their consumers.

However, only a few brands are actually empathizing with their customers and filling the brand-customer empathy gap.

“It’s not happening a lot; I can’t even name so many brands in Nigeria that are doing that, and this is a gap that definitely needs to be filled,” said Oti Ukubeyinje, Senior Vice President, Products, Terragon Group in an interview with MARKETING EDGE

” The truth is, a lot of brands are very transactional, especially when you look at new brands. While no one is perfect, organizations and leaders, now more than ever, have to be more human, paying close attention to the evolution of societal demands and expectations, taking a stand on topical issues, and being deliberate about it; the whole 9 yards. The concept of empathy goes hand in hand with the idea of cause-marketing, that is, what do you stand for?” he added.

Empathy draws you closer to your customers, and draw your customers closer to you

For some brands, stepping into the shoes of their customers to better understand their challenges and pain points have become more important than data. Although data points are just as important, and equally essential, it cannot be used to replace real human connections.

“As a brand, if you stand for something, or with people who share a common challenge or belief for something, you are declaring that you emphasize with those people. There are very few brands in Nigeria that do that,” Oti explained.

“In fact, every time you think empathy and maintaining a particular cause or a position or a stance, some brands naturally come to mind for instance when you think about ‘supporting girl power or inclusion’, and you see some sneakers brands always about focusing on the pains and demands and challenges of an athlete; it would be very great for more brands in Nigeria to adopt that.”

Brands that don’t stand for something, stand to risk everything

Although most brands may not have the necessary resources to get involved or take a stand on certain topical issues like politics, societal issues, wars, and so on, caring, making a positive impact, contributing to the lives of the consumers beyond the line of purchase, and seeing things from their perspective has become a necessary mechanism for customer retention. According to Oti, brands can look at various areas of life and say “which cause or tribe can we create here that will be of benefit to us to show that we stand for something, that we have meaning and contribution to society beyond just profit and product?”

Increased sales, Increased customer loyalty, increased customer retention

“I know a financial institution in Nigeria that is very passionate about women empowerment; another one is passionate about autism, awareness about autism, and trying to support people with autism because these are people who are largely misunderstood and excluded a lot from society.  So, anybody or group of people that fall in that category is automatically sold because the bank speaks their language or rather empathizes with them.; it is something that will stand out and travel a long way,” Oti advised.





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