Empathy requires a willingness to listen and learn.
Empathy is growing more crucial in today’s competitive business environment as customers seek businesses that understand and care about them.
It’s not enough to simply assume that you know what your customers want or need.
Instead, entrepreneurs must be willing to engage in conversations with their customers and actively seek out feedback.
This requires a shift in mindset from a focus on selling to a focus on serving.
When entrepreneurs are truly committed to serving their customers, they are more likely to take the time to listen and learn from them.
The “Share a Coke” campaign launched in 2013 by Coca-Cola in South Africa is an excellent example of how empathy can be used as a strategy in entrepreneurship.
The idea behind the campaign was simple yet powerful. Coca-Cola replaced its iconic logo with the 150 most popular names in South Africa, as well as nicknames and terms of endearment.
The cans and bottles were then sold in stores across the country, encouraging people to find their names or the names of loved ones on the packaging and share a Coke with them.
Even though they don’t drink Coca-Cola a lot, a few of my friends got into the spirit when they saw a Coca-Cola can with their names on it. They bought the can and shared it on social networks.
The campaign was a huge success, generating a 7% increase in sales in South Africa and leading to a 10% increase in global Coca-Cola consumption.
It also helped to strengthen the emotional connection between Coca-Cola and its consumers, with many people sharing photos of their personalised Coke cans on social media and expressing their excitement at finding their names on the packaging.
By placing people’s names on Coca-Cola cans and bottles, the campaign was able to connect with people on a personal level and create an emotional connection between the brand and its customers.
Calling someone by their name or a term of endearment might get their attention and demonstrate your respect. In African culture, clan names and family names can be used to demonstrate respect and develop a deeper relationship.
Using someone’s surname or clan name can be a powerful way to show empathy and build stronger relationships with customers, especially in cultures where family and community are highly valued.
See how they react when you call them by their clan names, such as Boya Be Nyathi, Gwabeni, or Tlou, Kolobe, Hlabirwa.
Coca-“Share Cola’s a Coke” campaign capitalised on people’s yearning for personalisation and connection by putting names on cans and bottles. This made finding a Coke with one’s name exciting and exclusive, which generated attention and social media activity.
Personalisation helps brands build emotional bonds with customers. Personalisation can boost brand loyalty and sales by giving customers a sense of ownership and pride.
Entrepreneurs may generate loyal and engaged customers by understanding what drives them.
All you have to do is listen and learn.
Empathy is far more important than we realise, in business and in life.