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Emotional Intelligence is a Key Factor in Brand Growth

August 12, 2022

During an engaging panel session at Cannes LIONS 2022 the philosophy of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) was put in the spotlight. Carat has been at the forefront of researching the link between Brand EQ and business growth with its two recent reports. How the two are correlated, and how Emotional Intelligence can be applied on a practical level was the topic of conversation when Carat’s, Sean Healy, (Global Chief Strategy Officer) and Fiona Lloyd (Global Brand President) were joined not only by Victoria Sjardin, VP of Marketing Excellence, International Kraft Heinz Company, but also Dr Daniel Goleman, psychologist and ‘Godfather’ of EQ who beamed in via hologram to the delight of the audience (which was a first for the International Festival of Creativity).  

Emotional Intelligence has moved from a specialist to mainstream concept since the term was coined in 1995 by Dr. Daniel Goleman and has gained a significant foothold in business world. When Dr. Goleman first presented EQ one of his areas of focus was the workplace and thoughtful leadership. Today it has become a key element of advanced leadership training. Now this its application to brand building it is an integral part of Carat’s proposition and the subject of two recent global studies on Brand EQ.  Following introductions and Dr Goleman materialising on stage in a swirl of digital atoms, the conversation progressed with flurry, passion and the sharing of new data and insight. 

Overall, the panel were in sound agreement that key goals for brands are to be genuinely purposeful, authentic and add to value to consumer experience by applying EQ’s key attributes. According to Dr. Goleman, brand EQ consists of five key factors: self-awareness, agility, motivation, empathy and managing relationships. As an example, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands score their best self-awareness and motivation but lag behind the tech giants and sports brands in other EQ areas such as empathy. Investing in convenience and digital utility are some of the things Kraft Heinz – a big player in CPG – is doing to enhance the customer experience throughout the journey, tells Victoria Sjardin, VP of Marketing Excellence, International Kraft Heinz Company. 

For brands, emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly crucial. Citing the Carat Brand EQ research, Sean Healy reveals that brands scoring in the top half of the EQ scale have outperformed the S&P’s share price average by 500% over the decade ending in 2020. By the end of 2021, this figure jumped to 900%.  The studies demonstrated there is a correlation between EQ and growth rather than a causal factor, however the clear learnings from the studies led to Sean Healy emphasising “showing up with high EQ is a powerful platform for business growth” to the hundreds of people in the audience. High brand EQ might be even more important for B2B marketing, notes Sean, as much of that is built on existing relationships and managing those with empathy and integrity. 

At the heart of the most recent report, six principles are being laid out for brands and marketeers to guide them as good practice going forward. 

As the conversation pivoted towards some of the key learnings and surprising elements of the studies, Sean Healy explained; “People are now equating humanity on one level with the ability to listen, learn, innovate and respond”. 

The panel went on to discuss the merits of moving from data collection to meaningful insights and being clear on its importance and value to marketing going forward. We are swimming in data but are we translating it into valuable insights. Companies doing this well are tech-companies and sports brands. They have a culture of “obsessively listening to customers and communities”, says Sean Healy. This helps sports brands such as Nike stay in a near constant feedback loop with their customers and athletes, continuously adapting their service. This is manifested in showing more humility, understanding and inclusion towards customers which is particularly of importance for younger audiences.  

Dr. Goleman explains how, EQ can be applied as a useful lens for data analysis, extracting valuable and actionable insight from the faceless spreadsheets. “The sea of data can be utterly confusing, the question is, can you use empathy to analyse the data, understand where the customer is and how they’re perceiving [your brand]”. He stipulates that a business’ main goal is to understand the message that’s coming from inside the data, display empathy and to focus on the more personal side of data analysis. Victoria Sjardin wholehearted agreed, as she is looking forward to the journey where we are insight driven opposed to data driven. 

Closing out the Cannes LIONS stage session, Fiona Lloyd and Dr Goleman touched on the notion of how agencies and clients can bring the EQ equation to a team level, for the respective teams to create the right environments to deliver high EQ work, display a sense of belonging and therefore be positive advocates for ‘people’ to secure win-win media experiences. 

For further reading the full Carat Brand EQ report can be downloaded here