All Consumers Really Want is a Relationship

Gen Z call for radical transparency

They want REAL stories, REAL people, REAL teenagers in all communications, experiences and interactions.

I recently read a series of articles on and my favourite quote was:

“Authenticity is the secret sauce that separates the transactional experience — money in exchange for a product or service with no emotional connections — from the relationship experience. It’s what turns buyers into brand disciples.” Stephen Dupont.

At Sprout we speak to hundreds of consumers (or real people) every week in our mission to uncover the human story. We believe there is a distinction between feelings and emotions. Feelings are fleeting sensations. Emotions are enduring and drive our behaviour.

Emotions are important in our experience as human beings. We literally crave emotional connection, be it a sense of belonging, ability to nurture or feel nurtured or a sense of security (there are 6 more emotional motivations according our universal matrix of human emotional motivations). Emotional connections mean relationships.

Part of these emotional connections is our connections to brands. When we trust a brand or feel an emotional connection to a brand we have a relationship with that brand. We are proud to share our experiences of that brand with our friends and families, we return again and again thankfully to that brand for making our lives and decisions easier. If we don’t, the relationship is purely transactional and easily forgotten.

As part of our annual eMotivate study we spoke to Gen Z who are even more passionately calling for authenticity from brands. These young consumers want real experiences, real teenagers and real people.

So how do we drive authenticity in our brands and build an emotional connection with our consumers to make them brand disciples? Well, Stephen Dupont pointed out 7 key tips:

1) Define authenticity for your brand.
Get your stakeholders in a room and define authenticity for your brand, then live by it.

2) Share stories.
Speak to your consumers as much as you can, hear their stories.

3) Seek conversations.
Create 2-way conversations… think user-generated content!

4) Show respect.
Understand who your consumers are and what they are really about, from high flying executive through to 5-year-old boy.

5) Educate consumers.
It’s not all about the sale! Using a long-term, soft-sell approach, you will build a reputation for trust.

6) Speak with emotion.
Goodbye jargon, to hell with acronyms… speak in real language with confidence and passion to inspire consumers.

7) Stand up for what you believe in (or what’s right).
Authenticity is built on credibility. If you don’t know how your brand stands on certain issues or cultural events or movements, figure it out now and be prepared to stand up for what you believe.

Right then, off you go… how real can you be?

Author: Kerry Dymond, Sprout Cultural Insights Specialist

If you would like more information or discuss your business challenges in the future, please contact Sprout Research +61 7 3256 9706