The makers of Gatorade’s latest G2 commercial – the one featuring Kevin Garnett and some guy named Kevin Crowe; the one that I’ve seen at least 12 times in the last three days because come NBA playoff season, I try especially hard to be a good wife and watch every single Celtics game with my husband – that creative team totally gets how to convey common fears and aspirations during a recession without sugar coating the gaping chasm between two people at very different stations in life.
As marketers, we want to believe that because we’re also consumers, we share many of the same needs and wishes as those who buy and use our products, or at least are in touch with them. And if insight and empathy are important in the best of times, they are critical in periods of economic hardship when our customer connections are most at risk.
To help the C-Suite understand where their lives, experiences, values, concerns, and aspirations do and don’t intersect with those of their customers, the Communispace Research team recently conducted a study with 528 members of our private, unbranded online communities and 56 CMOs, Directors, and Brand Managers at a variety of Fortune 500 companies. Our findings, summarized in From C-Suite to Main Street, tell two starkly contrasting stories. I hope you’ll read it, then come back and share your thoughts on the limits and the promise of empathy.