Exclusive Q&A: Why Retail Marketers Must Make An Emotional Connection With Consumers

Retail Touchpoints

by Bryan Wassel

In a world where consumers have an almost unimaginable array of choices, successful marketing campaigns require something more than just persuasion and personalization. Retail brands need to establish an emotional connection with consumers to convince them to step into a physical store. Marketers can establish such bonds by putting themselves in the customer’s place, factoring in shoppers’ needs as well as the brand’s goals.

In this exclusive Q&A, Kiran Smith, recently named CEO of advertising and branding agency Arnold, reveals how her marketing experience across the retail industry, at companies including Brookstone, Stride Rite and Shaw’s Supermarkets, now helps her craft emotionally resonant campaigns. Smith also has served as a consultant with Accenture and Alliance Consulting Group, where she worked with multiple iconic brands.

Retail TouchPoints: What strategies or best practices do you see at the core of a strong retail marketing campaign?

Kiran Smith: A strong retail marketing campaign relies on understanding who you as a brand are targeting and how your brand is unique within the consumer’s consideration set. Retailers are often so close to their own brands that it’s challenging to see themselves in the same way consumers see them. A retail marketing strategy has to be based on understanding how consumers currently perceive them, how they would like to change this perception, and what changes consumers will embrace. A campaign relies on creating a true and emotional connection with the consumer much more than it relies on functional purpose. Consumers live in a world of so many choices, so when they make the choice to go into a physical store it’s because they want to. That emotional desire is based on a deeper connection with the brand.

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