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On Being Human: How Empathy Helps Brands Navigate The (COVID) Moment
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by CHELSEA HINKEL

MARKETING MANAGER

chinkel@adrenalineagency.com

Adrenaline’s Senior Director of Strategy Juliet D’Ambrosio leads the Spotlight Session at the American Marketing Association Experience Design Virtual Conference

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 – On April 21-22, the American Marketing Association hosted the second-largest virtual conference in the organization’s history. Held in the wake of a global pandemic, the AMA Experience Design Virtual Conference had nearly 10,000 registrants exploring new methods and best practices in designing human experiences. Adrenaline’s Senior Director of Strategy Juliet D’Ambrosio led a session grounded in the agency’s empathy-led approach, one which ultimately moves beyond transactions to build deep, lasting, and loyal relationships between brands and people.

About the topic driving her session, Juliet says, “It’s interesting because when I first was developing the content for this talk, empathy wasn’t that much in the public sphere yet, especially not directed to branding. Agencies like ours focus on an empathy-led strategic approach, but there wasn’t much out there beyond the branding universe. Now, empathy is really having its moment. Almost everywhere I look, the idea of empathy has become elevated and engrained. As a brand, from this moment forward, it’s really how you must reorient your entire business. In just two months, it has become foundational.”

“Recognizing our shared humanity will be how brands go-forward in the post COVID landscape.”

~ Juliet D'Ambrosio, Senior Director of Strategy at Adrenaline

While it may have taken a global pandemic to elevate empathy to its rightful position in branding, recognizing our shared humanity will be how brands go-forward in the post COVID landscape. Juliet says, “One of the things that is interesting is the expectation has shifted. I’m working on something right now for a financial services leader on their reopening strategy. It's no longer just about communicating through an empathy-led lens through advertising and marketing, it's really building an empathy-led strategy into how you design space and how you welcome people back into it.”

On how to do that, Juliet says, “We're at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs right now. With experiences inside spaces, we have to recognize that people’s relationship to the physical environment is fundamentally changed, at least for the short-term and maybe for the long-term. So, things like feeling safe at the same time as feeling welcomed, the focus is on how your brand values are able to carry through this moment into those human experiences. Now, we're adding on a layer of a changed human mindset for how people will navigate our spaces.”

To speak with one of our experience design strategists about developing an empathy-led approach for your brand, contact us at info@adrenalineagency.com.



Adrenaline is an experience design agency that creates and implements end-to-end branded experiences through creative and environmental design. We enhance our clients’ customer experiences across digital and physical channels, from their branding and advertising to design and technology in their spaces. After transforming an organization’s brand, Adrenaline extends it across all touchpoints — from employees to the market to in-store environments. And, we focus on serving industries that sell human experiences including financial, healthcare, sports, and entertainment.

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