Moving beyond mere customer satisfaction and connection with customers at an emotional level has been proven to be one of the most effective way to maximize brand loyalty. Brands that have deployed emotional-connection-based strategies and metrics, find that increasing customers’ emotional connection drives significant improvements in financial outcomes. Brand strategists of today are in a pivotal necessity to tap into what aspects of the customer experience resonate the most with their emotional drivers. The Berries interviewed Bassel El Shaboury, General Manager of Laundry and Home Care at Henkel Egypt, to discuss the ins and outs of making an emotional connection.

BB: In your opinion, are emotions the main driver of brand loyalty?

Bassel El Shaboury

BS: In my opinion, emotional affection to brands is definitely a driver for loyalty but it’s not the sole factor. I am a firm believer in what Kevin Roberts call ‘The Love Marks’ ; those are the brands with maximum loyalty and hence bigger success, those brands have the higher combination of Love and respect . So , yes, love is important but respect based on delivering on your promises as a brand is definitely not less important.

BB: In the search for organic brand growth, the world’s top players are making huge investments in their customer experience hoping to establish an emotional resonance with their customer base. In your opinion, what makes a successful emotional brand strategy?

BS: First , an emotional brand strategy should be part and parcel of the overall brand strategy . It should always serve the brand purpose.

Second, with this established, an emotional strategy has to be relevant to the consumer . A lot of brands confuse emotional strategy with light-hearted communication which is a big mistake.

Third, It has to be consistent both in terms of longevity as well as content.

BB: How can brands leverage the Emotional connection to take their customers beyond brand loyalty to brand advocacy?

BS: Imagine a relationship between two people, when would you stand for another person and support him ? It’s simple , it’s when you know that this person would do the same for you.

It’s exactly the same when it comes to the relationship between customers and brands. A customer will become a real advocate for a brand, when he/she knows that this brand is designed for him/her, that it made an effort to help him/her, that it listens and acts.

For that, in Henkel, we  have consistently tried to launch sizes, variants and scents that deliver on the consumers’ needs as fast and as relevant as possible. Henkel has been leading the way in the Egyptian market in launching small pouches at affordable prices. On top, we have launched relevant detergents for specific needs like Persil Black for black and dark garments.

BB: Consumers get attached to brands for their emotional or functional benefits or a mix of them. In the laundry detergent market, what is more important, emotional branding or functional branding ?

BS: Both emotion and function are inseparable. They are like the right and left lobes of your brain. Even the seemingly low on  functional brands, CSDs for example, rely heavily on taste which is greatly functional. Meanwhile, while detergents are usually perceived by the industry as more functional , they are in reality heavily immersed into the consumer’s emotions. So, yes it’s a mix of both .

Here, the rise of digital and social media, which is a term so much abused these days, makes it a sheer necessity to provide consumers with an insight-based functionally valid product that still talks to their emotions.

BB: Can you please elaborate on Henkel’s Strategy towards consumers. ?

BS: With the new 2020 Strategy announced by end of 2016, Henkel looks at the relationship with consumers as a key pillar of its strategy yet through more of an engagement-based approach . This will be enabled by a step-change in customer-centricity, focusing on customer and consumer needs, as well as by executing detailed customer and consumer engagement plans, involving all levels of the organization.

Hence,  It’s about clear consumer centricity, and accordingly awareness of the consumer needs , then ultimately a high level of engagement.

What is really unique about Henkel’s approach to consumers is that it literally involves everyone in the organization. It’s not the job of Marketing or PR anymore. In fact, “Customers & Consumers” is one of the 5 governing values of the company.

BB: Henkel’s brand architecture is a “house of brands” model; a model with a wide portfolio of sub-brands that are distinct brands on their own, loosely associated with their parent brand. In your opinion, what are the challenges does this model present when adopting an emotional brand strategy ?

BS: Just to be more precise, Henkel uses a more focused approach to brand architecture related to brand equity, which I can not delve more into for confidentiality reasons. This model has the brand character right at the heart of the brand equity. This facilitates emotional activation. In Egypt for example, our leading Dish wash brand, Market leader , Pril, has been consistently leading the emotional turf in Dish washing via its emotional campaign ( تحلى اللمة  ), which brings people together in different ways to enjoy those special moments of life through food gatherings.

BB: From your position as the General Manager of Laundry and Home care, Henkel Egypt, can you shed some lights on which emotional motivators drive Egyptian consumers’ behavior in this industry ?

BS: Laundry remains a source of pride for Egyptians. You see it in older districts of the country , displayed carefully, by the way, in a certain order that is considered as an unwritten code among Egyptian women, and even men who do the laundry which is  a growing minority.

So on one hand it’s personal and family pride, but on the other hand comes communal joy , on which, we built the concept of ( Tehla el lama ). This communal belonging is a strong emotional motivator especially in more traditional places.