The relationships that exist between brands and consumers are like any other: A connection that needs to be nurtured.

But making emotional connections isn’t as easy as flipping a switch and while maintaining a personal bond with consumers takes a considerable amount of effort, the bottom-line benefits are worth it.

Think about a brand like Patagonia. The socially responsible retailer connects with like-minded customers by supporting the causes both the brand and their audiences care about. Its activist spirit and intentions are reflected in every joint of the organization, from manufacturing logistics and fair wages to advertising and corporate good. The success of the brand doesn’t solely lie in its products or its transactions. It lies in the way those brand decisions respect, reflect and represent their audience.

Opening lines of communication and discovering the stories of how your product or service impacts your consumers’ lives is the human touch businesses need to create brand champions.

Satisfied customers are valuable, but emotionally invested customers who believe that your products and services make their lives better are priceless.

That in itself is incentive enough for businesses to prioritize mutual respect, trust and genuine connections.