This piece from HBR corroborates they key themes I've advocated in my 4Es branding model.
HBR calls into question the commonly accepted belief that customers want relationships with brands. They don't. It goes on to point out that what customers seek is a sense of shared values.
That's why I've embraced a brand planning model based on the power of empathy.
As I've written previously, I believe that the way in which we form brand relationships mirrors how we form personal relationships. Forces such as empathy, experiences, energy and endorsement help form our real life relationships.
Empathy tends to be the basis of our strongest and lasting personal relationships. We connect with people who share our values, sense of style, even our sense of humor. This holds true with brands. Brand empathy occurs when customers project onto your brand their own attitudes and values.
Like people, brands are judged by what they do, not just by what they say. We tend to believe something after we've experienced it first hand. In marketing, well orchestrated brand experiences help turn perceptions into beliefs when customers sense a brands words and actions are in sync.