Glowing customer reviews can make your business’s online presence shine even brighter—and critical reviews can dim it faster than a solar eclipse. So how can you plan for as much positivity as possible? Our research suggests that you start with the understanding that customer satisfaction is not the only factor informing a review, positive or negative. Also at work is a quality that permeates every level of customer engagement, a powerful force that often matters even more than satisfaction: emotional connection.

Branding, after all, is psychological.

Customers make hundreds of conscious and unconscious decisions around the brands they support, based on unique value propositions and distinctive associations. The customer-brand relationship is just that: a relationship. And as in any relationship, the more emotional investment, the more fulfillment.

Customers who are “fully connected” emotionally are found to be 52% more valuable to brands than customers who are “highly satisfied.”[1] They’re more likely to buy and recommend your products and services and to engage with your communications. But myriad nuanced motivators drive customer behavior, from wanting to belong to wanting to stand out, and customers often aren’t aware of what’s informing their emotional connections[2]. So how can you predict you predict those connections? How can you find and influence the most emotionally connected customers, the ones who will provide those five-star reviews?

We wondered the same thing.

We wanted a simple method for measuring emotional connection that offered meaningful insights for brand outcomes. The metric we developed—EC5—is exactly that.

EC5 is based on a simple, five-attribute rating question, made up of attributes that are concrete enough to be actionable. And we learn a lot from that simple question: EC5 is predictive of business outcomes from positive reviews to opening branded credit cards, and it surpasses traditional metrics when it comes to predicting responses to brand disruptions – particularly when your brand is perceived to have taken actions that are inconsistent with customers’ values.

How can EC5 help your brand reach its goals? Get in touch to find out.

[1] Harvard Business Review

[2] Ibid