Creative Generalist has an interview with Jane Fulton Suri from IDEO about tapping into what she calls the “empathic economy”…Fulton Suri discusses how “observation, intuition, empathy and imagination about customers, end-users, and consumers can inspire and inform innovation”. With the many existing approaches to designing for emotion, it’s interesting to hear her speak about how empathy, that feeling of “resonance” we have with the affective responses of others, is at the heart of a new, more emotion centered approach to design.
I see communicating empathy as another way of providing a sense of perceived similarity between the product/brand and the user/customer. By providing the feeling that a product or brand ’empathizes’ with a customer, the customer winds up feeling more similar to the perceived personality of the product. Similarity is well-known as an influence on behaviour in psychology circles. It increases attractiveness which leads to the urge to approach. Perceived similarity can lead to increased product usage/purchases and increased satisfaction.