How Brands Can Nurture and Develop Emotional Intelligence (and Why It Matters)

How Brands Can Nurture and Develop Emotional Intelligence (and Why It Matters)

Emotional intelligence has long been discussed as a critical component of leadership.

The ability to regulate your own emotions — as well as the emotions of others’ — has proven invaluable on an individual level.

Consider, for instance, the supreme importance of having a boss who doesn’t cry or yell every time a meeting doesn’t go her way.

Alternatively, think about how important it is to have a leader who encourages positive, effective conflict resolution between teams when misalignment or miscommunication occurs.

All of which is to say: emotional intelligence matters.

But Kristin Harper, CEO of Driven to Succeed and author of The Heart of a Leader: 52 Emotional Intelligence Insights to Advance Your Career, takes it one step further, arguing that emotional intelligence can (and should) be fostered by brands, not just individuals.

Here, let’s dive into how you can nurture and develop emotional intelligence for your brand as a whole — and why it matters in the first place.

[Note: the italic headings are the questions we asked Harper. The subsequent text is Harper’s direct quotes.]

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1. How can brands nurture and develop emotional intelligence?

Let’s start first with the definition of emotional intelligence for individuals, which is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

EI is a combination of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

For brands, I define EI using four pillars:

  • Brand Consciousness: Defining the brand identity including its attributes, values, heritage, tone of voice, and personality in a way that resonates with your target audience and distinguishes itself from key competitors
  • Brand Management: Providing relevant, predictable brand assets and experiences that delight the target audience, address their unmet needs, and build loyalty
  • Customer Intimacy: Taking a genuine interest in the challenges, concerns, feelings, perspectives, and unmet needs of its customers and stakeholders to build an emotional connection
  • Customer Engagement: Activating marketing campaigns while engaging in thoughtful, intentional, two-way dialogues with customers

Whether people or brands, the most effective way to develop emotional intelligence is through unbiased curiosity. Spend time learning, observing, asking questions, and discussing what’s on people’s hearts and minds. Doing so in a non-judgmental way will increase empathy, emotional intelligence, and naturally lead to more relevant products, services, and advertising.

2. How can a brand learn to measure its emotional intelligence? Are there any quantitative or qualitative opportunities to measure EI in companies?

It’s not uncommon for mature brands to measure brand consciousness through equity studies.

In addition to awareness, performance attributes, brand imagery, and purchase behavior, these quantitative studies can also measure customers’ feelings and attachment towards a brand and how it changes over time.

However, in a competitive marketplace where consumers are evolving, the pace of business is accelerating, and there is more data than people know what to do with, it’s important for brand teams to complement their brain power with heart and intuition on a regular basis.

This is best done through lively, meaningful conversations with your customers or target audience. At Driven to Succeed, we offer online Community Dialogues, where we uncover deep insights around brand perceptions and opportunities for growth.

3. Which brands stand out to you as examples of ones with high emotional intelligence?

The insurance industry’s response to the economic challenges caused by COVID-19 is a prime example of brands demonstrating high emotional intelligence.

From Allstate to Nationwide and beyond, multiple insurance brands have adapted to these unprecedented times by issuing premium refunds, deferring payments, and communicating with customers with an on-time message and an empathetic tone of voice.

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4. How can emotional intelligence impact a business’ bottom line? In other words, why does it matter for brands to try to develop and demonstrate emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence leads to empathy, action, and increased market share for brands.

When a brand is in-tune with their customers, they can develop and charge a premium for innovative products and services, deliver more relevant advertising, and engage with customers in a way that is distinct and preferred versus their competitors.

Ultimately, demonstrating emotional intelligence builds loyalty, increases market share and helps to drive top and bottom-line growth.

Kristin Harper is CEO of Driven to Succeed, LLC which provides market research, brand strategy consulting, and keynote speaking on leadership and emotional intelligence. She is also author of The Heart of a Leader: 52 Emotional Intelligence Insights to Advance Your Career.


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Busy Isn’t the Same as Productive

Busy Isn’t the Same as Productive

When I tell people that I work from home, one of the most common responses is something like, “It must be nice to have all that free time! I’ve got to put in my 40 hours every week at the office.” But, here’s something that most regular working people don’t understand until they run their own business and work from home themselves. There’s a major difference between “being at work” and actually “working.”

Now, I’m certainly not saying that everyone is slacking off at their regular jobs. Of course not. But, most people would be fooling themselves if they were to assert that they were actually “working” for the entirety of their 40-hour work week. Whether it’s going to the break room to refill your coffee or secretly watching a YouTube video your coworker forwarded you, that’s time “at work” that isn’t actually “working.”

You know another term that’s thrown around a lot these days? “Busy.” Everyone says that they’re “so busy” and we’re supposed to admire their hustle. Look how hard they’re working, right? You’ve got to admire that drive and determination, right? Except, there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive, just as there’s a big difference between being at work and actually working.

Busy Is Saying “Yes”

Look at all the things I’m ticking off my to-do list, while I keep adding more things to my to-do list. Yes, you’re going to be very busy if you go around saying “yes” to every request and opportunity that lands on your desk. Do you want to collaborate with another YouTuber on a video? Sure! Do you want to write an ebook? Absolutely! Do you want to run 25 miles a day, start an Etsy store, develop a mobile app, and write 3 blog posts a day? Totally! No wonder you’re burning out.

Whereas saying “yes” to everything is what will keep you very busy, being productive means choosing to say “no” to certain things. This doesn’t mean you should go around shutting the door on everything. What it does mean, though, is that you recognize the limitations on your time, energy and resources, so you intentionally choose what gets your “yes.” Everything else has to get a “no” if you want to be truly productive and move the needle.

You can do everything. Just not at the same time.

Busy Is Talking About Being Busy

You know what all busy people seem to have in common? They’re always talking about how busy they are. They’re quick to brag about all the projects they have on the go, projecting this image of how productive and important they might be.

Productive people, by contrast, don’t concern themselves with how busy they appear to be to other people. Instead, they let their work speak for themselves. If they are being truly productive in what they’re doing, people will notice. It’s just like how famous people don’t need to tell you that they’re famous, or how smart people don’t have to keep reminding you how smart they are. You’ll just know.

Busy Is Not Having Enough Time

Busy people are always talking about how busy they are. One way that they might put this is talking about how they never have enough time to do the things they want or need to do. Believe me. I’m totally guilty of this. But, I also recognize how having “not enough time” is a bit of a cop-out.

We have to remember that regardless of your station in life, regardless of how rich or poor or whatever else, we all get the same 24 hours each day, the same 365 days each year. True, when you’re going through financial hardship, how those hours get allocated will differ. But if you’re saying that the reason you’re not getting things done is that you don’t have enough time, it means you’re not necessarily choosing the right things.

Put another way, “busy” is having a lot of things to do and not enough time to do them all. “Productive” is choosing a smaller set of more important things to do, and then prioritizing your time to do them right. I once told myself that I didn’t have time to exercise, but then I made my daily step goal more of a priority. It’s a small step (pun intended), but it has made a world of difference.

You just have to know what gets a “no” from you, so you can prioritize your time and resources on your “yes” activities.

Busy Is Constant Movement

“Busy” and “frazzled” (or some other variation of the word) tend to go hand-in-hand. The telltale sign of someone who is “busy” is that it looks like they’re always doing something, because there’s always something to be done. They’re constantly moving, reacting to the stimuli around them, almost out of gut instinct, because they don’t have time for it. They’ve got to keep doing things.

But being “busy” in that way is like running on a treadmill. Sure, you’re moving and you’re burning calories, but after all that movement, you actually haven’t gotten anywhere. You’ll feel like you’ve been productive and you’ve accomplished something, but you’re right where you started and you’ll go through it all over again tomorrow.

The “productive” mindset is different. It means that you give yourself the space to take a real break every now and then. It means giving yourself the opportunity to activate the default mode, a place where some of your most creative and original ideas can emerge almost spontaneously. By taking the time to contemplate your decisions and plan your course of action, the actions you take can indeed be more productive and not simply mindless busywork.

Are You Busy or Productive?

You’ll find that there is so much to the dot com mindset. It’s moving away from the idea of trading hours for dollars and toward the idea of how you can earn more dollars with fewer hours. You’ll come to understand the concept of nonlinear growth and the dangers of early potential. And yes, it’s about coming to grips with the idea that simply being busy will never be enough. You need to be productive. Motion for its own sake will get you nowhere.

To be productive means that the actions you take actually move the needle. And no one is going to move the needle for you but yourself. So, get to work.

How Brands Are Increasing Business with Online Calculators

How Brands Are Increasing Business with Online Calculators

Remember when you had to buy a calculator and have it on you at all times when you were in school? It was one of the most important things you needed to have, and it was often a big deal to make sure you bought that special Texas Instruments version with all the fancy buttons and calculations for math and science classes!

For Texas Instruments, this was a dream come true, as they simply had a product that students and teachers needed to have, and there wasn’t a need for much marketing behind it. Until the mobile device came along that is…

With the introduction of the mobile device, anyone can quickly pull up a calculator or even download an app for more advanced or specific calculator tools. This has opened a whole new world of opportunity for businesses and brands to reach new audiences by offering quick and easy tools to solve complicated problems.

The smartest businesses and brands in the world today are using these methods to not only generate more value to their audience, but also to increase traffic, leads, sales and revenue in the process. It’s not just about the products or service a company is offering, it’s also about the creativity and marketing behind them as well.

With this in mind, today we are going to take a look at three different businesses and brands in three of the world’s most lucrative and sought after markets (business, health and beauty, and finance). Each has created unique calculators of their own, to not only provide value to their audience, but to also increase engagement, sales and brand loyalty in the process.

Business – Time Scheduling and Cost Savings

When running a business of any type, it’s all about minimizing costs and maximizing profits. This often comes down to how much money you are spending on employees and on-going projects, versus how much they are actually bringing in.

For most organizations, this isn’t something they often have the best numbers on. They know they need employees and they know they need to get the work done, but how effective is it really being for the ROI of the business?

To help with this process, we can take a look at this time scheduling calculator from Deputy, which specialized in time management and scheduling tools. Through the use of the tools on their site, it allows for anyone to try employee scheduling tools for personal, business and organization use.

It allows anyone visiting the site to enter the number of employees they have, their average weekly hours, how much they are paid and more. After submitting the numbers, it then spits out an immediate report on Monthly Cost Savings, Annual Cost Savings and ROI.

For the end user, the advantage to using a calculator like this is that it makes it super fast and easy to change employee numbers, hours worked and rates, to see how it could make a big financial difference for the business. And for the site offering the service to users, they aren’t just offering a quality experience, they also have a service in place to further help optimize such tracking as well.

Health and Beauty – Weight Loss and Dieting

Have you attempted to start a new diet or tried to exercise in the past few months? If so, you aren’t alone. The weight loss industry is one where people are always coming and going non-stop. However, when it does come to physical fitness and seeing weight loss results, it really does come down to the numbers you are taking in, and then putting out.

By this, of course we mean your calorie intake. The more you eat, the more you need to burn… otherwise it turns into fat.

The concept is easy enough to understand, but once you have a calculator to help understand the process, you will likely improve your eating habits and see better results across the board.

To see a perfect example of this, take a look at this weight loss calculator from Lifespan Fitness, which is a fitness website that helps individuals plan out how they would like to lose weight, exercise and meet their goals.

Unlike other sites that might have a similar calculator for figuring out BMI or calorie intake, this one is a big more advanced.

In three simple calculations, the site allows you to create the right plan for your weight loss. It starts off with a gender profile and goals, how hard you are going to exercise and work, and also your diet plan and exercise. Based on these calculations, the tool will then provide you with an estimate on how many calories you can eat per day and the amount of calorie burn and exercise needed.

The addition of the weight loss calculator to this site is just added value to visitors and customers of the brand. Lifespan Fitness offers exercise equipment through their site and this is just an extra added value for everyone to experience without the need to purchase anything.

Finance – World Currency Calculator

To think that your business and preferred currency is the only one in the world would be quite naive. Instead, there are roughly 180 different currencies in the world today and millions of businesses and individuals are likely converting their money daily.

This is often due to traveling and global business transactions, but there is still a need for quick and easy currency transactions without the need to look each one up individually and then pulling out a calculator of your own.

A real-time example of this can be seen with the Yahoo Finance currency converter tools offered on their investing, stock marketing and personal finance section of their site. It’s one of the easiest and most simple tools out there, but it provides the end user with the exact info they are looking for.

While many of the other calculators featured in this article are quite advanced, this currency one is quite simple. All you need to do is select the two currencies of your choice and then input your values. The tool will instantly convert accordingly, and if you happen to put it in backwards, you can click the flip button for an easy switch. Historical charts for currency changes are also available.

With Yahoo Finance already having a heavy focus on world investments, stocks and currencies, adding this feature to their site was just another added bonus and reason for users to keep coming back to the site.

How to Grow Your Brand and Business with a Calculator

No matter what type of business or brand you might currently have, if there are any reasons why someone might need a calculator in reference to your services, products or information, it’s a great idea to try and add one to your site. Not only is it a free service that offers extra added value to your site’s user experience, it will likely also get shared and referenced to from other authority sites as well.

Best of all, there are already plenty of pre-made widgets and scripts available for different calculators out there. This means you can get one live on your site much faster and cheaper than if you were to have one custom coded. After all, you don’t need to have the flashiest looking calculators and forms on your site, you just need to have one that works.

Take a moment to look through each of the examples above and see how a custom calculator might be able to grow your business across the board.