Nothing motivates a material detox quite like moving to a new apartment does. You never realize how much stuff you have until you’re forced to pack your life into a million different boxes. After moving, I was motivated to reduce the amount of material objects I owned with the help of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I kept only what I needed and only what contributed to my happiness. In an effort to approach life through the lens of less, my space emerged from the process delightfully spare (sort of).
Unfortunately, while my material world was now in order, my virtual world was not. My phone remained a cluttered hodgepodge of apps. Did I really need three different to-do list apps? I had a problem—a virtual hoarding problem. After a successful purge of unnecessary material objects, I decided to apply the KonMarie method of only keeping items that “spark joy” to my virtual world.
Marie Kondo’s book suggests filling your life with things that trigger happiness, which implies we have an emotional connection with the things we decide to keep. And this decision isn’t simply about what we choose to have around us; it’s deeper. It’s about the things we want as part of our life. It’s about who and what we are loyal to.
And this decision isn’t simply about what we choose to have around us; it’s deeper. It’s about the things we want as part of our life. It’s about who and what we are loyal to.
According to research conducted by Harvard Business Review, connecting with customers on an emotional level is the best way to build brand advocacy and a loyal customer base. Marie Kondo is on to something.
For me, the emotion is in the music
As I sorted through my “Music” folder I quickly realized which apps evoked joy in me and which apps didn’t. I deleted Pandora, SoundCloud, and Google Play without hesitation (you could say music is a hobby of mine), however, when my fingers hovered over Spotify I laughed nervously. There was no way I could delete Spotify. That would be devastating. Why did I feel so strongly about keeping Spotify over the others, when each is “just” a music listening platform? What was the difference?
I refused to delete Spotify because I felt an emotional connection with the brand.
So how does Spotify create an emotional connection with their customers and cultivate brand devotion? The music listening service is a perfect example of a company that has implemented Kurt Salmon’s three pillars of emotional connectivity.
Authenticity. For a brand to be authentic and create an emotional connection with customers, the brand must be distinctive. Spotify has created authenticity by fulfilling their mission to create the ultimate social music experience, customized to fit every aspect of my lifestyle. They have taken on the cool, trendy, and unique persona of the music service world—they are the brand that drinks craft beers and plays cornhole. Spotify has carefully and intentionally shaped their brand persona via the hip, sometimes quirky playlists they craft and suggest. I would be Spotify’s friend.
Personalization. Spotify personalizes the user experience to an almost creepy level—in a good way. Every week my Discover Weekly playlist is updated with new music I might like depending on my most recent listening habits. I can make playlists that match my mood and Spotify will suggest songs that are similar. If I don’t feel like making a playlist, Spotify has thousands of pre-made mixes to choose from based on genres and moods—new releases, top charts, and bands that are playing in my area. Spotify anticipates my wants and needs; the brand tailors its services to my listening idiosyncrasies and always has music ready for whatever my mercurial musical tastes desire at the moment.
Tribalism. According to Kurt Salmon, “Consumers want to be with other people who feel the same devotion to the brand and what it represents. They want to talk about it and share experiences.” While it might be a bit culty to say, I feel like a member of the Spotify tribe with the social aspects of the app. I constantly collaborate on playlists with friends and send songs to them. I’m able to follow my musically-inclined friends and see what they’re listening to and what playlists they’ve made. Spotify’s social features have brought me closer to friends through music—I view the brand as a means to create moments of joy with friends on road trips or for sunny days in the park. It’s also a way to tune out the world if I’m feeling particularly moody, or if I want to indulge in a rainy day.
As Jorgen Vig Knudstorp of Lego said in a recent Harvard Business Review interview, “Make your brand a value by first making it a habit [because] habit is how we build [a] connection.”
The pillars of emotional connectivity
Spotify tailors its services to my listening idiosyncrasies and always has music ready for whatever my mercurial musical tastes desire at the moment.
Don’t get KonMaried
Aside from saving your brand from getting nixed during a massive Marie Kondo cleaning, creating brand devotion with authenticity, personalization, and tribalism can lead to increased brand advocacy and spending. Net advocacy among high brand devoted consumers is two times the average, and brand devoted consumers spend 48 percent more than average. Spotify’s excellent customer experience design attributes to an increased emotional connection with customers and, as a result, an increase in brand advocacy–which is probably why I’m raving about their brand right now. And not deleting it during my spring cleaning.
Amanda Roosa is a content marketer for Zendesk and a frequent contributor to Relate. When she's not petting other people's dogs, she's exploring where technology and humanity converge. Find her on Twitter: @mandyroosa.