3 Steps to Becoming a More Compassionate Marketer

Keesa Schreane
Key Takeaways

What? Keesa Schreane says that compassion can make a brand seem remarkable. 

So what? When businesses improve their compassion beyond a product or service, it shows care to the customer.​

Now what? ​​​​​To successfully secure the funds for your plans, your team must show how those plans will be beneficial for the future of the company. ​​​​


​I’ve never watched NBC’s “This is Us.” (If you want to know what it’s like to live and work on a deserted island, try being detached from one of America’s most drama-filled network phenomena.) Yet the comforting thing about “This is Us” and other popular shows is that I don’t have to be a loyal watcher to keep up. There is no need to tune in, pull up or click on a single episode to stay looped in on the latest dramatic twist and turn because audiences are talking about it. More importantly, my people—my community, my crew—are all talking about it.

Slack messages, memes, huddles and pre-Super Bowl tweets conspire together to provide me with all the threads I need to weave coherence around the trials and tribulations gripping “This is Us” characters. And I’m here for it—so much so that I’m toying with the idea of actually becoming a viewer.

Author Seth Godin might call “This is Us” remarkable. The characters emote vulnerability, the storylines resonate broadly and the writing tugs at our heartstrings. Viewers feel so connected to the show that they tell their friends and loyally tune in for new episodes every week (or over the weekends, if binging).

As a marketer and business growth practitioner, I aspire to get people talking about my brand and my services and what makes them so unique. I’m grateful that remarkability isn’t reserved for a great drama. Athletic wear, financial services, personal hygiene products and even basic water can be remarkable to customers who research, buy, consume and effuse about the items to their family, friends or colleagues.

What characteristic can a business, brand or individual display to be considered remarkable? Compassion. I’m drawing from my discussions with industry leaders and visionaries on my podcast. In my recent “You’ve Been Served” podcast interview with Seth Godin, he explains how we can incorporate remarkability into our businesses.

These three actions capture how firms and individuals can improve their compassionate practices and leave a lasting, remarkable impression on customers.

1 Identify your personal mission

Start by understanding what matters most to you and how you want to make a difference. Waking up every day with clarity about what we want to bring to our life, environment and community helps ensure we take daily steps toward achieving those high-level goals. “If we commit to something that matters and show up, show up, show up until we make an impact, that’s a life well lived,” Godin says. 

I wake up every day with a specific intention and I continue to affirm it throughout the day. For example, if I commit to a day of giving, I engage by giving a smile or a genuine compliment to people I meet. Or I may find a unique way to support a colleague on a project. Each day is a commitment to the broader mission of compassion.

2 Seek opportunities to show compassion in every aspect of your work

Godin believes there are many opportunities in our professional lives to show compassion: “The best work we do, the biggest contribution we make is in the moments when there is no right answer, when there’s no obvious path. Most people have trouble when they refuse those moments.”

When we run into a colleague who isn’t having the best day or a customer who is distracted due to personal issues, we should share a kind word or let them know that they’re in our thoughts. Sometimes the greatest impact comes from spending a few moments listening to them. This may go against old-school professionalism, but listening is a way to show empathy and build more powerful relationships.

3 Know what matters to customers and support them beyond selling

When you align your resources to support causes and organizations that your customers hold dear, it speaks volumes about your firm’s compassion and gets customers talking about you.

The simplest way to identify your customers’ needs is to do a social search. What issues are they most frequently tweeting about? What organizations are they fundraising for? How are they spending their volunteer hours?

“Be generous with your ideas, spirit and connections and your presence,” Godin says. Support doesn’t need to be monetary. Supporting your customer includes volunteering with an organization your customer donates to or using your social platforms to share thoughts about issues important to your customers.

When businesses improve their compassion beyond a product or service, it shows care to the customer. It shows the customer that they matter. Customer word-of-mouth will spread, and it positions the company well in a crowded marketplace. We become remarkable in the customer’s eyes.

Keesa Schreane
Keesa Schreane is host and executive producer of the podcast “You’ve Been Served.” She is a featured columnist in Essence, Latina and Black Enterprise magazines and an on-air contributor with NASDAQ.