Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

The Best Way To Connect Emotionally With Customers

Alexander Novicov
7 min readAug 17, 2023

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What is the difference between a loyal customer and an occasional customer?

What is the difference between a hard core customer and a loyal customer?

The difference is how emotionally connected the customer is to the brand.

Think of a toilet paper brand. Probably you don’t care which it is.

In some categories you care more about the brand you buy from.

It might be in fitness that you choose to buy from one particular brand. You are probably emotionally connected to that brand.

Photo by Jeremy Lapak on Unsplash

The reason why it’s important to connect on an emotional level with our customers is because that’s how we build loyalty. That’s how we build meaningful brands.

We move away from commoditization. We don’t let the customer’s mind put us in a box with the rest of ‘same/similar’ companies.

There are running shoes and there are Nike running shoes.

There are triathlons and there is Ironman.

There is oat milk and there is Oatly.

There are airlines and there is British Airways.

There is toilet paper and there is Who Gives a Crap toilet paper.

Photo by danilo.alvesd on Unsplash

The list goes on. We all have different things and different categories that we care about.

The first step is to create loyal customers, and the second step is to create hard core fans.

There is a caveat: It’s very hard to build a brand, and most business owners don’t want to do it. They prefer doing a TikTok account rather than building a meaningful brand that makes a positive impact.

Building a brand doesn’t mean you post on social media and that’s it.

It’s much more than that; you need to learn brand aesthetics, understand tone of voice, brand promise and think of how the brand makes us feel.

Some companies don’t want to build a brand, and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with that.

There are millions of companies that are making money but they don’t have a meaningful brand. They don’t have a brand that people really love. So their brand love score is non-existent.

Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash

For example, dog grooming in London is booming. To get an appointment for my dog, Chanel, I need to book 4 / 5 weeks in advance because they are all fully booked. The reason why is because of the category — it’s not because of the brand. Most of them have outdated designs, non-existent websites, and you need to call them to book rather than do it online.

If somebody would open a dog grooming salon that understands how to build a brand they would flourish in the market because there is a huge gap and a huge opportunity.

The downside of not connecting on an emotional level with customers is that you constantly compete on price and you can’t demand higher prices.

Photo by Angèle Kamp on Unsplash

Your customers position your company as a commodity. It’s just a nice hotel, it’s a nice pair of shoes, a nice race, you don’t own space in their hearts.

I was looking to sign up for a race on an island in Europe and I came across a beautiful location. I said I will sign up. The website, marketing and the user experience was horrendous. There is no brand — actually there is a negative connotation to it. But the location is stunning. The only reason you sign up for that race is for the location — it doesn’t matter if it’s XYZ race or YMC Race or MTI Race. The name doesn’t matter. That’s not why people sign up.

Running a 125km ultra race at Peak District

One of the best and most effective ways to connect emotionally with your customers is by video storytelling.

There are different subcategories on how. But one effective way to connect emotionally that will give brands an enormous advantage is a branded documentary.

Today in a fast evolving world, people are losing connection with what matters most. Creating deep and meaningful connections.

Because everything is like and swipe, we don’t go deep. A lot of things are superficial. Friendships, relationships and other stuff.

People are craving authenticity, people are craving to see what is happening behind the scenes and who is the person or people behind a certain brand.

A branded documentary can provide small business owners a huge opportunity to tap into this human desire and to create interesting, authentic and engaging content to educate, entertain and inspire their customers.

Me shooting an ultra event

When creating a short film / documentary you have an opportunity to tell stories that align with your brand’s purpose. The goal is to show your brand purpose and not tell it. But not to just show a video with a sign saying we care. The goal is to show without telling. That’s where creativity comes in handy.

When creating a branded documentary the goal shouldn’t be about when you started your company and how it grew and how successful it became. The goal should be about the problem that the company is solving. It should inspire, educate or entertain the audience. The most important thing to remember is that your brand exposure in the documentary should be subtle.

Myself shooting interviews at UTVV Slovenia

There shouldn’t be any sales scripts. The goal is to focus on the problem that the company is solving or an industry problem, and how damaging it is. Or you might be fighting against an old idea so it should show how you are fighting against it and why it’s important for the viewer to care. It might be the transformation that the company does and how people are moved by how they achieve their desired outcome.

This type of content isn’t for the impatient or for a business that doesn’t want to make an impact.

This is a long-term investment that helps shape the overall understanding of your brand.

High quality content will pay off in spades in the future — this is laying the groundwork for long-term brand loyalty and brand purpose.

When we analyze purpose driven brands that are growing exponentially you can see a pattern, they invest in branded documentary videos because they effectively establish their brand and connect with their current and potential customers on a deeper level.

When people watch a branded documentary, it shouldn’t feel like a sales pitch but rather than engaging and entertaining content they can connect with on an emotional and intellectual level.

Creating a branded documentary goes beyond making profits, it goes to the core of an ambitious person that wants to make a positive impact.

A documentary can change someone’s life, it can inspire them to make change happen. It can help them understand a different perspective.

People are more likely to trust and buy from purpose driven brands. We know that from countless research that has been done on the topic.

But there is a difference between saying that you believe in something and doing something about it.

We can have a nice tagline but if it’s not communicated and people don’t believe it, it doesn’t matter how much we promote that tagline, people will not believe in it.

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

The goal is to show your purpose. A branded documentary can show that in a subtle way. It has the potential to engage an audience and inspire them to purchase. What’s even more powerful is that it has the potential to create loyal customers and even fans of the brand.

If you are interested in creating a short documentary for your brand, my agency Way Productions can help you create a high quality documentary. Send me an email or give me a call today.

Here are some great documentaries examples:

Choose Strong Trailer:

Documentary:

Choose Strong Documentary

Breaking Dragons Back:

Breaking The Dragon’s Back

The ghost ski resort:

Mailchimp:

UNLISTED Mailchimp

Minimalism:

Death wish coffee:

Nutella:

On:

ON short film

Calvin Klein:

Let me know in the comments what you think about branded documentaries and what is your favorite.

Every Thursday I send a thoughtful letter with five ideas about brand purpose, creativity and marketing, you can sign up to get inspired for free here.

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Alexander Novicov

I wake up every day striving to become the best version of myself. I’m a human, an author, ultra runner, skydiver, speaker and CEO at Way Boutique Agency.