4 Ways Brands can connect Technology + Emotion
We all love a gadget. Many of us have an inner geek. But with our busy lives and so many great products at great prices, how do brands cut through to core and new audiences?
A good product is just one factor
There is a myriad of great products out there at every price level. This means more and more technology companies are finding it impossible to compete on function alone. Instead what stands out is how emotional relationships with our products define which brands we’ll part our money with.
We can see clearly how product and emotion link when we look at Apple. They’ve caused outrage over the potential removal of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. But how many of the 220,000 people who’ve already signed a petition to keep it will eventually be convinced that Apple is actually forward facing when it comes to product design? Thinking about slim-line aesthetics and screen size means Apple are potentially anticipating wrap-around screens, wireless headphones and removing the home button. All design game changers.
Apple products are stalwart in their ability to withstand changes, be they UX or product design led. So even if there’s some heartbreak, the emotional science behind their cult brand explains why they almost always bounce back.
It’s not what it does. It’s where it takes you…
We see time and again how technology and emotional lives are interconnected. And with the rise of VR technology and augmented reality, the visions of the 80s are finally coming to life, prompting questions of how our empathy is manipulated through technological advancements.
On a simple level, virtual reality can bring the consumer closer than ever to products. When we launched the Lexus NX, with will.i.am, we used VR technology to give people the chance to take an interactive test drive. Having a simulated experience means that when they see that product again, emotions and memories will already be connected.
Work with the fans and influencers
For many tech companies, their heartland is the ‘early majority’ – the peak in the graph who are open to new ideas, but conservative enough for you to know that the idea might go mainstream.But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the ‘innovators’. Far from it. These are the people who knew Citymapper before you’d even got the hang of Google Maps. The ones who will actively engage if you need to know where to tweak code, whether that UX design is up to scratch, or even if your piece of technology is useful and disruptive enough for users.
Amplify often engage with this sought-after group, as key communicators and advocates they are the voice that convinces and reassures the ‘early majority’ that it is OK to buy these products. In fact, we took on an action packed four days with YouTube Live, giving fans the chance to connect IRL with the UK and Germany’s top gamers. These YouTubers have super-fan followings, and being able to bridge the gap between screen and star mean emotional connections were also being formed between YouTube and gamers across Europe.
Make it human. Make it bespoke.
YouTube Gaming also showed us, if you’re demonstrating tech, you need people who are enthusiastic users of the product they are showing, and crucially, they must be able to have a meaningful dialogue with the fans. Every engagement must be tailored to the individual, showing the function that will mean most to them. There’s no point demonstrating Skype to a person who has no need or intention of using it.
And you can’t forget those fans who’ve stuck with you through thick and thin. With PlayStation, the #4ThePlayers platform allowed the brand to re-engage with core gamers. As some of the loudest and influential voices, for good or bad, it has been integral to make them feel ownership. And again, be in reach of that emotionally exclusive content.
So, with so many good products out there we know it’s not good enough to just tick the functional box. We need to tick emotional too. Simplicity rules. Be single minded and focus on where the technology takes you and how it enhances lives. We need to talk in a language our audience understands, whether it be the detail demanded by early adopters or the broad strokes favoured by the mainstream. Regardless, we need to keep it bespoke, human and able to reach the audience in their own environments. Whilst we recognise that without sales we would all be out of a job, we need to build long-term relationships to cater for when our consumers are ready to buy.