Connections - how strong are you building yours?
Updated: Sep 26
This article lightly proposes to create a reflection on the type and quality of the exchanges we are doing in the world today. In addition, it makes a parallel about the transformations of the current moment, and how these interfere in our relations, mainly commercial.
We will talk about emotions, and how they relate to connections. We invite you to reflect on whether we are really aware of the way we relate and make decisions.
In such a fast and digital world, how do connections happen? How to stay close and connected in times of social distance? What is really important, and what do we gain and lose from these relationships?
And yet how do connections happen in the business world? How can marketing strategies help brands engage with consumers? There are many questions but follow me and we will try to find some answers!
In the business world, commercial relations are established and developed from valuable and well-structured connections. In times of crisis, many of these relationships are compromised, different, fragile or even limited.
However, a good connection is greater than a simple business contact; or interaction with a brand or product. To achieve it, it is necessary to have genuine interests, knowledge and mutual respect. These relationships, when well structured, generate customer loyalty, good business, emotional ties and also create successful brands.
The word connection, despite being common, is powerful, in essence brings the idea of continuity; relationship, bond building. It also refers indirectly to emotion; true, essential connection. Requires contact and learning about the other party.
Why are connections so important?
Connections are like stimuli that challenge and make we feel Alive. We need to connect to relate to the world in a healthy way.
Even though we silently exchange glances in the streets, we smile even briefly. It is almost like establishing a dialogue with the other, to remind us of our existence. These exchanges also exist between brands, products and companies. These interactions make us feel good. Through consumer relationships we have experiences and these also help to build who we are.
That moment led to physical isolation but it didn't limit our connections, it just transformed them. It changed our languages, our consumer relations and on the other hand, enhanced our performance.
Increasingly, we turn to digital, our connection speed has grown. On the same day we can meet and relate to different people and companies; in the most varied places in the world, through meetings, lives and events. We are more aware and connected than ever. We have changed, and our relations with the world have also changed and we need to be conscious of the qualities of these interactions.
What is the role of emotions in building connections?
We are emotional beings, we relate to the world through our feelings/emotions and simultaneously build our life experiences and social interactions.
To better understand the subject we need to distinguish Emotion from Feeling. It is important to understand that an emotion creates a feeling, and it can generate new emotions and other feelings, and therefore are totally related to each other.
Differences between emotions and feelings
Emotions are immediate, unconscious reactions and can even manifest themselves physically. However, feelings are a kind of perception or evaluation of these emotions. Although they are less intense than emotions, feelings last much longer. They can be good as a feeling of love or gratitude; or bad as a feeling of disappointment or hatred.
Basic emotions like joy and anger are our main system of stimulation and motivation. They are immediate and lead us to act or stop doing something. However, feelings are much more complex and slow, and lead us to reflect on what we can do to continue feeling or to stop feeling something.
We can understand that, as there are differences between emotions and feelings, the way to deal or manage these experiences is also different. While emotions need detachment or disconnection; feelings need to be heard and coded.
How, after all, can connections contribute to generating business or sales?
In commercial relations, the first contact in a service or the first involvement with a packaging or advertisement; can immediately generate emotions and consequently lead us to positive feelings or not. The same is true at a business meeting; in which the initial impression is very valuable and can influence a whole business relationship positively or not.
Having good contacts is important and can open doors. How to build these bonds? A strong connection is determined by the intensity of positive feelings built over a bond; between people or brands and companies. Real exchanges need transparency and it's important to offer something really valuable to another party.
To sell we need to understand how to create an emotional connection with the consumer. We are driven by our search for satisfaction, happiness and consumer experiences that release dopamine; which lead to feelings of well-being and reward. Many of our purchases today are subjective and usually have a much larger and different meaning than rational.
The amount of stimuli we receive today is huge. This intensity can bring confusion and anxiety; leading to consumption behaviors that maybe are not the best. We can adhere to “negative” services / products or even choose bad offers. All this because we have lost the ability to understand the connections and stimuli we receive from brands, especially the unconscious ones. That being said, it is fundamental in consumer relations, to generate positive emotions, to create good and true feelings that contribute to building a good connection, now and in the future, between people, brand or products.
According to experts, 95% of our consumption decisions are based on our emotions. So, in order to sell, companies need to create bonds and add value; considering aspects such as transparency and ethics. After all, it is emotions that advocate connections and consequently sales.
Connections in the digital age
We live today in the digital age, in which marketing actions are aimed at a different consumer; highly connected. Information is faster and more available and we spend more time than ever in the virtual world.
Currently, 59% of the world's population are Internet users - 4.57 billion people. An increase of 7% compared to 2019, according to Datareportal's Digital 2020 report. Still according to the same source, 49% of this global population are users of social media - there are 3.81 billion people connecting. However, the global use of social media has not yet reached 50% penetration, which is expected to happen by the end of 2020. With the expansion of the digital world, there has been the emergence of virtual communities. These people share similar values, lifestyles and consumption habits.
Today, purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by communities that involve a brand. To better understand, remember when you needed to buy a product or service, and went to research what other consumers said, and that was more important in your decision, than going to the brand website and getting to know the official presentation of the product.
Community Marketing is a valuable tool that creates a space to connect "tribes" with common interests; as long as you want to understand the needs of that audience to propose more efficient and appropriate solutions.
The most interesting of the communities, is that they are not grouped or limited to age, gender or region patterns. These groups are made up of different people united by a greater common value or identity. It is very natural today for companies to create communities around their brands and products.
The invisible and the essential in relationships
Are we really aware of how business relationships and marketing use emotions to influence consumers to buy? What does it take to build a good impression between a brand or product?
Trying to sell an idea, build concepts and add value is not an easy task. The consumer today is hyperconnected, full of information, needs to be followed, has a digital social life and wants to be friend of brands. To sell to this “cyber” consumer, companies need to speak the same language; connect and understand the communities involved in his universe and their values.
There are many challenges, a lot of communication, information and interference. We are living in a new world full of data, very fast, but essentially we use new tools to make the old connections.
That's why, more important than understanding digital transformations, it is necessary to understand the emotional changes that permeate us and thus coding these plurality of feelings we get good connections. We remain the centre of all connections, and however intelligent, serious and busy we are essentially human. We are pure emotion!
Finally, I want to remember that external connections are very important, but we must not forget the value of connecting with ourselves. Finding this balance will allow us to build even more qualified connections in our daily lives! Try it!