How and Why Brands Can and should Harness Empathy

Empathy means putting yourself in another’s shoes and truly identifying with their situation, it also happens to be a key factor in generating a positive brand experience. Whoever handles your marketing and branding efforts needs to advocate on behalf of the customer and the environment. People want to feel understood, especially in this day and age where loneliness has become a world-wide epidemic. In the UK reports found that over 200 000 people had not had a conversation with a friend or relative in over a month, with a further nine million of all ages, describing themselves as always lonely. This report also stated that loneliness has been labelled as “twice as harmful as obesity, and… comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic”. Brands can use these statistics to break barriers and talk about real issues, showing empathy as a means to build authentic emotional connections.


4 simple ways to help a brand build empathy:

  1. Show compassion = from your sales person to your top executive.
  2. Find a way to relate.
  3. Highlight your company’s corporate social responsibility efforts as this is a great way to unite with your intended audience around a common issue or goal.
  4. Be real, talk about the good and the bad, show people what goes on behind the perfectly curated image that you present to the world.


Examples of great campaigns that evoked empathy in the right way:

  • Airbnb aims to increase cross-cultural empathy and decrease cultural boundaries.Airbnb launched the ‘Open Doors’ policy, announcing that the brand will place any guest who feels like they are being discriminated against somewhere else.
  • Quitplan in a 30 second ad, accurately expressed how hard it is for smokers to quit smoking and explained how it can be made easier for them. Quitplan’s two mottos are “No judgment, just help” and, “Empathy is the best way to help a smoker.”


More and more people will steer clear of brands they don’t have a connection with. Putting time and effort into every consumer interaction takes work, yes, but that work is worth the investment and is likely to pay off down the line.

If you’re looking to incorporate empathy into your brand’s narrative and you’re not quite sure how to go about it, give Fresco Creative a call on (02) 8116 9033 and let’s discuss.