a his & hers weblog of worlds apart

Emotionally Intelligent Marketing

Open and Human (Especially in Recession)

A few months back Daniel Pink gave an insightful presentation on his idea of Emotionally Intelligent Signage. Watching it, and following new examples of people-smart messaging on his blog, I’m struck by the obvious crossover learnings.

The concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI) – one’s ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions – was popularized by Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Today the principles of the idea are as relevant as ever not only for individuals, but for the world of communications.

In the presentation Pink says Emotionally Intelligent Signage (EIS) both demonstrates and encourages empathy. Not surprisingly empathy is quite the buzz word in marketing today. I think, underscoring this idea, Emotionally Intelligent Signage (EIS) rests on two of the same fundamentals as New Marketing (NM):

  1. Humanness – Both EIS and NM are about treating people like people. They’re about showing your personality and keeping it real; about grasping your audience’s feelings and understanding their motivations
  2. Openness – Both are about respecting the reasoning of your audience. They’re about full disclosure, helping people understand “the why” and letting them form their own opinions and make decisions accordingly

As for real business examples, look no further than the Zappos Case. Widely known for “digital humanism”, CEO Tony Hsieh would tell you their success has little to do with on-line behavior. Rather, it’s their endless commitment to customer service that will help them sell $1 billion in shoes this year. The public and actionable company values drive home their dedication to humanness and openness in service. Further, Hsieh truly leads by example – he lives his brand’s values and expects the same of his employees. Here are a couple clear examples:

  • Tony Hsieh is personable and accessible. How many CEO’s of billion dollar companies share their email publicly? How many share their Thanksgiving dinner?
  • Last month when forced to lay-off 8% of its workers, Hsieh conveyed how difficult the decision was and published the company-wide note. The whole thing turned into a lovefest… Can you imagine this happening even just 10 years ago?

This second point seems very relevant as the principles of Emotional Intelligence are particularly fitting in hard times. Amidst uncertainty, when decision making is toughest, we seek comfort in 1) human connection, and 2) things we understand – which humanness and openness respectively address. I have a hunch these merits of Emotional Intelligence outlast the economic troubles, though.

3 comments on “Emotionally Intelligent Marketing

  1. Pingback: Human Branding « her Nature his Nurture

  2. Pingback: Human Character in Advertising « her Nature his Nurture

  3. Pingback: 8 Reasons Misery Loves Your Non-Human Company « her Nature his Nurture

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