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Wired to Care

How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy

By Dev Patnaik and Peter Mortensen
10-minute read
Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy by Dev Patnaik and Peter Mortensen

Modern businesses seem to rely more on mounds of data and trend reports than on the needs and desires of actual customers. Wired to Care shows how businesses can use empathy to make connections with customers and discover what they really want. At a company-wide level, this kind of empathy leads to growth, and it can be a game changer for individual employees.

  • Anyone who feels that business is removed from peoples’ lives
  • Product designers and marketers
  • Anyone interested in alternative approaches to business

Dev Patnaik is the founder and CEO of the growth strategy firm Jump Associates, which has worked with clients like Nike, Samsung and Chrysler. Patnaik is also a speaker and an adjunct professor at Stanford University.

Peter Mortensen is the communications lead for Jump Associates and has written and edited for Spin and Wired News.

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Wired to Care

How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy

By Dev Patnaik and Peter Mortensen
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Contains 6 key ideas
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Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy by Dev Patnaik and Peter Mortensen
Synopsis

Modern businesses seem to rely more on mounds of data and trend reports than on the needs and desires of actual customers. Wired to Care shows how businesses can use empathy to make connections with customers and discover what they really want. At a company-wide level, this kind of empathy leads to growth, and it can be a game changer for individual employees.

Key idea 1 of 6

Companies need an empathetic connection to their customers in order to do well.

Ever attended a meeting where you’re trying to make an important product decision based purely on statistics and forecasts? A lot of us have been there. In the business world it’s common to reduce all information into manageable chunks of data.

The danger of this is that oversimplified, compiled information neglects a crucial aspect: the connection to customers.

To make sound decisions, you need a real life link to the people it will affect, and you need to be able to feel how they will feel. That is, you need empathy.

Empathy allows you to know what your customers really want.

For example, when the idea of an animal kingdom theme park was first proposed at Disney, the company seemed uninterested, as the data showed they were unlikely to profit from it. So executive Joe Rohde introduced some empathy to the situation: he brought a Bengal tiger into the room. The Disney’s executives immediately saw the appeal of wild animals and the idea got the green light. When the park opened, it became one of the most popular in the country, drawing in over 8.9 million visitors a year.   

But if empathy is so vital for businesses, why do so many consciously remove the connections?

As a company expands and becomes more successful, it loses touch with the everyday customers it once represented. Where staff once cared about their product and customers, they now get bogged down in strategy meetings and trend reports.

For instance, when Jell-O recorded a drop in sales, executives pored over the matter for hours using data from quantitative research. Yet, when asked, nobody in the room had actually eaten Jell-O in the past six months. So how could they possibly put themselves in their customer’s shoes?

So now you know that empathy works for business, in the following blinks you will find out how to use it.

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