4 Ways to Create Emotional Engagement with Your Customers/Members

One of the great things about working at Access is its positive attitude towards work-life balance and employee wellness. As a result, I get to spend more time doing what I love outside of work, in this case teaching and taking dance classes on a weekly basis. Over the past decade, the first brand I turn to when I need (or heck, just want) a new piece of athletic clothing is Lulu Lemon.

Why? Because when I shop Lulu I feel valued, appreciated, understood and like I’m part of something.

How is that possible?

To start, its athletic clothing is made with specific purposes in mind as the description of what each item is ideal for can be found on the tag. I also perceive Lulu’s clothing designs to excel in the area of flattering and fitting women’s body types. And, it offers in-store hemming services at no charge so you feel like each item was made just for you.

Bonus! Lulu has a program called “Sweat Collective” for people who teach/coach athletic activities. As a part of this group, I enjoy 25% off all of my personal purchases and feel my input/opinion on products is valued.

Plus, the popular athletic retailer offers community fitness and wellness classes/events all over the world.

So… am I emotionally connected with/engaged/loyal to Lulu Lemon?

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The Definition of Emotional Engagement

What exactly do we mean by emotional engagement?

One source claims emotional engagement is present when consumers feel delighted by a brand or business, have no hesitation recommending it to family and friends, and would spend with it in any situation.

Going a step further, a Loyalty 360 article says “Emotional customer engagement is deemed the ultimate customer connection because it evokes deep memories attached to a brand or experience, and is often indelibly linked to customer loyalty.”

Based on the definitions and insights above, the answer to my earlier question would have to be yes. I am emotionally involved with Lulu Lemon as a brand. It’s my go-to, I enjoy telling others about my positive experiences with the product, and feel like a healthier, more conscious me when I shop/wear Lulu apparel.

The Benefits of Emotional Connection

What value do brands and businesses gain when they successfully establish emotional connections with their customers? Let’s look at the facts:


  • Consumers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value and recommend brands at a much higher rate (71% vs. 45%).
  • 70% of emotionally engaged consumers spend up to two times more on brands they are loyal to, vs. 49% of consumers with low emotional engagement.
  • 86% of consumers with high emotional engagement (vs. 56% with low emotional engagement) always think of brands they are loyal to when they need something, and 82% (vs. 38% with low emotional engagement) always buy from the brand when they need something.
  • 80% of emotionally engaged consumers will promote brands they are loyal to among family and friends vs. 50% of those with low emotional engagement.
  • Increasing a brand’s emotionally connected consumers by 1%, on average, equates to an increase of revenue upwards of $85 million, dependent on the brand and industry.

In other words, taking the time and effort to build emotional connections with customers can lead to higher and more frequent spend, growing word-of-mouth promotion, the creation of brand advocates, higher lifetime value and increased revenue. Not too shabby, right?

4 Ways to Build Emotional Connections with Your Customers/Members

1. Be Authentic

91% of consumers would reward a brand for its authenticity and 62% said they would either purchase a product from a brand they deem to be authentic or express greater interest in buying from that brand in the future.

Figure out who you are as a business or organization and what you stand for. Then, build authenticity by relating everything you do back to your core values and actions, making sure they are always aligned. Be intentional about clearly and honestly sharing company practices, staying transparent and building trust.

2. Get Personalget-personal-one-to-one-onHNk5OcJlk-unsplash

People form an emotional connection to a brand or business because they feel like it understands them (45%) and makes them feel special (34%). Netflix is a great example of personalization done right. The streaming service uses data to recommend TV shows and movies based on content you’ve already seen, personalize film covers, tailor the design of Netflix player and give different recommendations based on when you log in.

For tips and guidelines to help you get started, check out our blog post: Using Personalization to Build Engagement – Six Rules to Get It Right.

3. Demonstrate Social Consciousness

Consumers also make emotional connections to brands or businesses when they feel like it cares about them (65%), makes a positive difference in the world (55%), and makes them feel like a better person (26%).

TOMS Shoes illustrates this concept beautifully.

This well-known shoe company gives a pair of shoes to children in need around the world for each pair purchased, provides eye care for the underprivileged, supplies safe water for international communities and a lot more.

Take a cue from TOMS and start with something small in your community that impacts the lives of your customers or members.  Even something as simple as supporting a local charity, organizing a volunteer event, or service outreach can go a long way.

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4. Offer a Discount or Loyalty Program

78% of consumers say saving money greatly impacts how positively they feel about a brand. And loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with members see 27% more of their membership increase their spending. Access recently worked with a national hotel chain to add more value to its loyalty program in the form of discounts, and by doing so, boosted its engagement. In less than two years, the program’s membership doubled. And today, loyalty program members account for over 30% of the hotel chain’s total revenue.

So if you’re feeling inspired to dig in and find a discount/loyalty program that fits with your business, our blog article Five Questions to Ask Your Loyalty Marketing Partner can help guide you through this process.

Let the Emotional Connecting Begin

We at Access believe emotional connections are the deepest, most sincere form of loyalty a business, brand or organization can possess. As Ivan Wicksteed, former CMO at Old Navy, once said, “It’s the emotional connections that a brand makes; the emotional memories, the emotional triggers that you spark that last the longest and go the deepest.”

Topics: Customer Engagement, Member Benefits, member engagement

Written by: Ashley Autry

Ashley Autry is a Marketing Professional at Access Development. She's an expert proofer, gatherer of loyalty stats, research ace, writing queen, and overseer of various marketing projects.

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