More than eight out of 10 consumers (83 percent) say that trustworthiness is the trait that makes them feel the most aligned with their favorite brands, according to a recent study by Deloitte Digital.
The research, which includes insights from 800 consumers, reveals integrity (79 percent) and honesty (77 percent) as the second and third emotional factors in aligning with brands.
Deloitte Digital’s research report, "Exploring the Value of Emotion-Driven Engagement," sought to better understand how emotional and rational feelings, as well as values, affect long-term consumer behavior, loyalty and purchasing decisions.
Emotional connections drive brand loyalty and advocacy, with more than half (58 percent) of respondents using words like "love" and "happy" to describe their favorite brands. However, 68 percent of consumers cited rational influences, such as faulty products, as reasons to switch brands. The majority of consumers (62 percent) said they feel they have a relationship with their brands.
While having shared values is important for consumers, only 3 percent said they would recommend a company to a friend or colleague based on a brand’s purpose.
The study revealed that consumers expect a two-way relationship with brands, with 70 percent saying a brand should use their feedback to solve problems. Most consumers (59 percent) also say they don’t want a brand to respond positive reviews on social media, but they do expect a reaction to negative feedback online in three days or less.
When it comes to customer service history, 57 percent of shoppers expect brands to know their past likes, dislikes and consumer behaviors, but 35 percent do not want brands to know their browsing history for similar products or services in order to serve up relevant ads or chatbot assistance.
"Given the sheer quantity of touch points between customers and brands—online and offline—the challenge of collecting, reading, and reacting to every emotional cue in appropriate ways is enormous and growing. But it’s clear that customers don’t care whether it’s difficult or expensive to humanize relationships at scale," according to the report.
The report adds: "Companies that aren’t focused on building emotional bonds risk losing customers to competitors that are figuring it out—and it’s hard to win back old friends once you’ve lost them."