The Emotional Intelligence Test: Is Your Brand Doing The Right Thing?

Brands trying to get “empathy” into their email copy should base this effort on sincerely held values, judging by Emotionally Connecting With Consumers, a study conducted by CommerceNext in partnership with BizRate Insights and SheerID.

That means doing the right thing. It's a tall order. In general, customers define the right thing as follows:

  • Stand for something bigger than the products and services they provide — 39%
  • Follow ethical and sustainable business practices — 36%
  • Be open and transparent — 30% 
  • Treat employees well — 30% 
  • Maintain diverse and inclusive culture — 18%

Applied individually, consumers want brands to: 

  • Demonstrate values I believe in — 18%
  • Support causes and organizations that are important to me — 16% 
  • Have fair and equitable hiring practices — 15%
  • Create new job opportunities — 14%
  • Take a stand on issues that are important to me — 14%
  • Support underserved populations — 10%



Based on this, it seems that shoppers have spent more time researching a firm’s values than they do its products. But they have strong feelings. Here’s how they line up with supporting brands:

  • I go out of my way to buy from brands that share my beliefs and values — 10%
  • I feel better when I buy from brands that share my beliefs and values — 36%

At the same time, many will avoid brands that fail to share their values:

  • I feel worse when I buy from brands that go against my beliefs and values — 4%
  • I go out of my way to avoid brands that go against my beliefs and values — 14%

Be careful about how you reveal your political leanings. By a factor of 2X, law enforcement and military personnel “reliably and actively avoid from a brand that doesn’t align with their values,” the study notes.

Moreover, 56% of Gen Z students would feel better or go out of their way to support brands that share their beliefs. That said, 18% said values do not influence their purchasing habits, and another 18% say they never think about the subject. 

And while we hate to disappoint you, shoppers are still more interested in free shipping than anything else. Here's what they want from brands: 

  • Provide free shipping — 51%
  • Provide additional promotions — 43%
  • Keep employees on staff/limit layoffs — 41%
  • Support affected populations — 30%
  • Improve safety measures — 28%
  • Support local communities and charities — 27%
  • Treat customers with respect and dignity — 24%
  • Communicate how they are keeping employees and customers safe — 23%
  • Create new products or services that are relevant to your needs — 3%

Finally, marketing aside, 67% of consumers believe the pandemic will continue to impact their daily life for a year or more.

Here is what is now troubling them the most:

  • Mental health (anxiety, stress, loneliness, depression — 48%
  • Physical health and well-being — 29% 
  • Financial security — 25% 
  • Maintaining hobbies and interests — 22%
  • Safety — 18%
  • Job security — 17%
  • Caring for children — 11%
  • Caring for elderly — 8% 
  • Education — 8% 
  • Other — 5%

CommerceNext surveyed 1,030 online shoppers in December 2020. '


1 comment about "The Emotional Intelligence Test: Is Your Brand Doing The Right Thing?".
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  1. Ronald Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, January 25, 2021 at 12:38 p.m.

    Emotional intelligence and emotional engagement?? Sounds pretty flaky to me, especially in compariosn to the other attributes that influence brand preference such as product quality and value. The measurement methodology also warrants some skepticism. 

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