How Does Emotion Impact Customer Loyalty? 

By Curt Hill and Erik Alberts, posted August 27, 2015

Passion!  Love!  Hate!  Grief!  Emotion is the reason the world turns, the only reason that anything has ever happened throughout history.  People are moved, touched in the heart, and that’s when they take strong and deliberate action.  

Most people don’t act logically.  They may use logic in strategizing but ultimately all strategizing comes about because we are moved to take action.  Usually because we are protecting our families or our community from danger, an emotional decision tied into our most primitive instincts.  

We think to ourselves quite often, existentially pondering the next move.  However, if we want to make a conscious effort to act—to physically exert ourselves or use communication to persuade others—then it’s usually because we’ve reached a moment of truth.  An emotional reaction to a series of logical thoughts.  We know what must be done.  

Emotion is so powerful that even if an action isn’t logical or is totally irrational it can still motivate people to take strong action.   

It only follows that the best way to make customers take action is to cause them to emotionally react to what you’re offering or selling. Eliciting an emotional response from a customer is to instill a sense of loyalty inside of them.  Loyalty, that strong attachment to family and closeness is what can drive people to consistently take action and support a brand for years on end. 

This is why companies are starting to invest in customer loyalty initiatives.  For the most part, companies have approached this strategy with a logical mind.  Appealing to their customers’ minds—their expectations of savings, of advantageous buying or quantity-buying.  However, the newest trend observed is in emotion-based loyalty sales.

It’s All About Emotion

The latest trends reveal that while customer experience still matters (and always will), brands that provide more enjoyable and positive memories are the ones that gain customer loyalty.  They invest in innovative platforms as well as loyalty programs and other “gimmicks” that let customers emotionally experience the benefits.  

The result is not merely an increase in individual sales but actually a sort of “brand evangelism” that sees your repeat customers become your new fans—and preach your company to their friends.  

Usually strategies are not merely emotional rhetoric but emotion plus incentive, as in a rewards system that customers can get excited about, as they see their “points” add up and move closer towards a rewarding experience.  

Companies are getting creative when it comes to implementing these strategies, whether it’s encouraging healthy lifestyles, donating to charity or using social media.  They are engaging their customers outside of the usual transaction-based relationship.  Becoming a “friend”, and not ending the relationship at the point of sale, as used to be the norm.

Incentive works naturally, but many companies go beyond just the incentive-based strategies and do work hard to associate their brand with strong emotions that are positive and that motivate repeat business.  These are usually high-lifestyle brands like Mercedes, Apple or Rolex.  You’re not just buying the product, you’re joining the fun lifestyle, finding out a sort of members-only package that allows for strong emotional attachment.  

This is the best way to promote customer loyalty, going for the heart and not the mind.