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By Jaidyn Crookston | June 29, 2021 | 9 Minute Read

How to Build Emotional Connections with Potential Customers

A group huddle that builds emotional connections
One of the most important things your financial institution does is connect with potential customers. Recent research has shown that one of the best ways for a financial institution to connect with potential customers is by building emotional connections with them. 

Why build emotional connections?

Studies have shown that “when consumers evaluate brands, they use their emotions, based on personal feelings and experiences, rather than information about the brand, such as features and facts.” 
According to a Harvard Business Review article, “After a major bank introduced a credit card for Millennials that was designed to inspire emotional connection, [credit card] use among the segment increased by 70% and new account growth rose by 40%.” When emotional connections are made, people are more likely to do business with your institution. 
This same article found that when a company fully connects with a customer (i.e., has a strong emotional bond), that customer is 52% more valuable to your company than customers with whom you only have a slight emotional bond. 
As you can see, it’s crucial that your institution builds and develops emotional connections with potential customers.

How to build emotional connections

One of the easiest ways for your financial institution to build emotional connections with potential customers is by being involved in the community. Community involvement builds emotional connections with community members by building trust and showing your institution in a positive light. 
“According to a 2013 study, 82% of consumers consider social responsibility and community involvement when deciding where to spend their money for a product or a service,” says ASBTDC.
Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos.com, said that any call (or, in this case, interaction) with a customer is an opportunity to make an emotional connection. And according to Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP & Principal Analyst of Forrester, “Emotion is the largest contributor to a bank brand’s energy.” 
When you treat community involvement as opportunities to form these emotional connections with potential customers and build your financial institution’s brand, you’ll increase the chances of your institution being “top of mind” when they need your services. Community involvement can be used to build connections with your target audience, whether it be adults, young people, or employees. Each of these groups may lead to future business for your financial institution, so it’s a good idea to target at least one of these groups. 

Connections with adults

Because community involvement is one of the easiest ways to build emotional connections with potential customers, it’s important that your financial institution participates in several kinds of projects in your community. Here are some ideas to build emotional connections with adult community members:
Sponsor local events—Sponsoring local events will show community members that you care about their community. This will emotionally affiliate your brand with community service, which will build trust and lead community members back to you in the future
Hold a financial literacy event—Financial literacy is critical in today’s world of digital banking and plummeting financial education. This is an emotional topic, and by teaching community members smart financial practices, you’ll position your institution as the expert on these topics. 
Participate in low-income housing projects—Being involved in housing for low-income individuals is a great way to strengthen emotional connections. Community members working to build or develop housing are already emotionally invested in these projects. Pacing your financial institution in this environment will help them to associate your brand with service and empathy. Some possible partnerships include Mercy Housing, National Housing Trust, Habitat for Humanity, and the NHP Foundation

Connections with young people 

Adults aren’t the only community members with whom you should build connections. When you develop emotional connections with young people, you’re preparing them to open accounts with your financial institution in the future. 
A survey by Bankrate found that the average U.S. adult has held the same primary checking account for over 14 years, with 21% of checking account holders saying they’ve used the same account for 21-40 years. This means that when you get young people to open an account, your financial institution will grow and may continue to do business with these youth for years to come. 
Here are some community involvement ideas to build emotional connections with young people in your community: 
Host youth-friendly events—Hosting youth-friendly events is a great way to emotionally connect with young people. For example, the LOV Foundation of Del Norte Credit Union recently ran a virtual LEGO® building contest. This credit union’s goal was to build emotional ties with young people, and it worked! With nearly 100 entries, this event was a big success. 
Here are some more youth-friendly event ideas:
Give out CD accounts—Handing out Certificate of Deposit accounts to young people is a great way to build an emotional connection with them. Young people love getting free money, and when they see that your financial institution gives it to them, they’ll be emotionally attached. Another option is to encourage youth to contribute to a CD account by giving them one raffle ticket for every $25 contributed, like Security Credit Union does.  
Offer incentives to young people opening an account—You can also offer incentives to young people who open a savings account with your financial institution. The same principle as above applies here. When you give young people free stuff, they’ll become emotionally invested and will want more. While running the LEGO® building contest, Del Norte Credit Union gave participants $15 vouchers to open a savings account, and the youth loved it. 

Connections with employees 

Employees can be a great source of potential customers. When employees are satisfied with their jobs, they tell their friends and family members about the financial institution and may encourage them to do business with you. To ensure that employees are happy with their jobs, try building emotional connections with them. Here are some ideas: 
Start an incentive program—When you actively encourage employees to donate to nonprofits or volunteer in their communities, you’ll likely see employee satisfaction rates rise. You could offer a prize for the employees with the most volunteer hours, or you could sponsor a pizza party for the department that raises the most money. This will give them an extra reason to donate their time and money and help them be emotionally invested in their communities. 
Provide volunteer opportunities—Employees are more likely to volunteer when given specific opportunities to do so. For example, you can make it easy for employees to volunteer by providing a list of organizations or offering extra PTO. According to a study by United Healthcare, “almost three-fourths of employees who volunteer through work report feeling better about their employer.” When your employees see the financial institution working to improve their community and have the chance to volunteer themselves, they’re much more likely to be satisfied with their job, work harder, and recommend the institution to their friends and family. 
Let employees choose nonprofits—When you allow employees to choose which nonprofits to support, they’ll become more emotionally invested in your community involvement efforts. This will raise job satisfaction and encourage employees to speak to friends and family members. As long as your employees are emotionally connected to your financial institution’s decisions, they’ll continue spreading the word and will bring in new customers. 

Start today!

Now that you know why it’s important to build emotional connections with potential customers and have some ideas on how to get started, it’s time to put these ideas into practice. There are so many ways to build emotional connections with people; it’s up to you and your team to determine which will best help your financial institution and your community members. 
Start building emotional connections with potential customers by being involved in your community. Not only will your financial institution grow and see new customers, but your employees will be happier, and your communities will be strengthened.
Want to easily track, manage, and report your institution's community involvement data? Kadince makes this process easy. No more spreadsheets. No more binders. Just one easy-to-use system that tracks community services, investments, loans, volunteer hours, events, and more. Schedule a demo to learn more. 

None of Kadince, Inc., its affiliates, or its respective employees, directors, officers, and agents (collectively, “Kadince”) are responsible or liable for any content or information incorporated herein. Read full disclosure.

Jaidyn Crookston | Content Manager, Kadince

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