What is an Empathy map, What is it? How it is Performed?

What is an Empathy map, What is it? How it is Performed?

When a company is about to develop a product or service, this process is based on trying to satisfy the needs or solve a problem of a specific market or consumer. 


For the creation of the product that our client wants, it is necessary to be able to place oneself in their shoes, in short, to be empathetic ; 

For this, there is an easy-to-use tool and it is the empathy map.

To understand this tool, it is necessary to honestly answer the following questions: 


Do you know your client very well? 

How much do you know about him or her? 


Before developing any product, it is always necessary to know the clients well, in order to create a product that is really attractive, viable, accessible and that can satisfy their needs; 

In short, it is creating a product that the customer cannot refuse to buy. When a product is developed, it is never started by the type, characteristics and design of the product, but is started by the customer.

What is the empathy map?

The empathy map was developed by Dave Gray founder of strategy consultants XPlane and writer of the book Game Storming and is an easy-to-understand tool capable of synthesizing, summarizing, and extracting all the unexpected observations and discoveries of the consumer. It allows building a vision of the world of consumers.


To obtain all the information, continuous interaction with the audience is necessary, and to connect more with it, content marketing or content marketing can be applied, through which the brand offers relevant information, articles, videos, images, etc. For consumers, and as the audience grows, the brand can elaborate more and more about the needs, wants hopes, and fears of its potential customers, or existing ones.

There is a very interesting thought from Theodore Roosevelt:


Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care


The brand must understand that, without customers, they are nothing, since reputation, credibility, presence, growth, and sustainability depend to a large extent on them.

Empathy map objective

It allows to know the profile of each client and understand the environment in which they frequently interact, the real needs, and how the company can offer a suitable solution. To achieve this, the tool analyzes not only the internal and external aspects that are part of the environment but also your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes.

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The tool allows to give a vision to the work team, on how to use emotional intelligence to obtain information about their thoughts, feelings, motivation, desires, and needs and thus offer suitable products and services for users. For this to be successful, the investigator needs to focus on the person.


Parts of the empathy map

The empathy map serves to identify two parts:

  • Intellectual identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of the market segment.
  • The indirect experience of those feelings, thoughts, or attitudes.

The empathy map can vary in shape, size, and focus. However, the basic elements that the empathy map must have are:

What do you think and feel? (concerns)

In this section, some questions that you can answer are: 

What is the most important thing for the consumer? What is the consumer’s dream? 

What is the unfulfilled wish? 

What prompts you to continue (emotionally)?

What do you see (environment)

What do you observe? 

Who are around you? 

What are your friends? 

What types of offers have they made? 

What is the problem that you encounter daily?

What does it say and do? (behavior)

What is the consumer’s attitude? 

How do you see yourself? 

What is the conflict between what you want and what you think?

What do you hear? (influence)

What do your friends say? 

Who really influences the consumer and how?

 What communication channels can influence the consumer (social networks, TV, radio, newspaper, among others)?


Efforts (fear, obstacle, and frustration)

How much should the consumer pay for a product? What is your biggest frustration? 

What obstacle is behind the consumer? 

What risks are you afraid to take? 

What are the limits to be set? 

What event or event could have marked it?

Earnings (desire, need, and success)

What are the benefits of the product for the consumer? 

What dream or goal do you want to achieve? 

What do you consider important to be successful? What are your short-term and long-term plans?

Benefits of the empathy map

This is a complete analysis to know the consumer. However, it should be noted that a brand should never forget the importance of good customer service.


  • Offer an answer that solves the customer’s problem.
  • Always have an added value in mind that can differentiate you from the other brands of the competition.
  • Guarantee fast, effective, and efficient customer service.
  • Minimize waiting time when providing the service or shipping the product.
  • Always keep in mind that the customer is part of the successes of the brand, invite them to be part of the events of the brand.
  • Always be grateful to loyal customers.
  • Listen to the opinions, comments, and complaints of your customers, they will help the brand to improve and grow.
  • Always think about giving extra value to the customer.
  • Always give customers more options, so that the product can be more and more personalized, so the customer will feel that the product is created exclusively for him.
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This tool is very useful because as the company or brand advances and grows, it can adapt and get to know the profile of its customers and thus offer services and products tailored to their true needs.

It is time to be in the customer’s shoes and offer what they need.

For this reason, it is recommended to print the diagram or draw it and work it manually, since it must always be verified that the information that is being handled is what our client lives. 

This is a complete analysis to know the consumer. However, it should be noted that a brand should never forget the importance of good customer service.

Step by step to build your empathy map

To put this tool into practice, it is necessary the participation of the entire work team, which intervenes directly or indirectly in the process or contact with the client or prospect, therefore, it is necessary to have a large model, were using the sticky notes, allows each participant to write and place it in each section.


On the recommendation of Dave Gray, the empathy map should not last more than 20 minutes. To achieve this, the participants must have a prior understanding of the person they want to understand, their context, or their environment.


In each section, it is recommended that all participating members include at least 1 sticky note. And each incorporated comment is made in the first person, truly becoming the person studied.


# 1 Define the person and scope

To start the empathy map, it is necessary to define who should I understand and what objectives do you want to achieve?  Once you define the person, you can customize the central image, incorporate physical characteristics, when applying the tool, you can study a specific person or a market niche that shares similar characteristics.


And within the scope, it is necessary to define what does the person under study wants to achieve or want to do?  Therefore, to get to know in detail it is necessary to evaluate what has been done or tested currently, what we know with the alternatives, and take into account the customer journey.

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# 2 Data collection

Even if you have 20 minutes to complete the information on the empathy map, the most advisable thing is to have data verified according to your behavior, thoughts, feelings, and habits, which are real data.

They can be previous historical, but you can also use data collection tools, through interviews, surveys, direct observation, or acquire studies carried out by companies specialized in market research.

# 3 Start filling in the empathy map

Once the above information has been previously collected, the team can begin to complete the empathy map, to achieve this, it is necessary to carry out the following sequence: 






About efforts (problems) and gains (goals)

# 4 Analyze all the information collected

Once the requested information has been completed, it is time to analyze everything written, and invite other people who did not participate in the first session, to review, reflect and incorporate new details.


Once all this is done, it is time to evaluate what is our goal with discovering all this information? It is necessary to develop an action plan, or readjust our business model, either at the level of entrepreneurship (Lean Canvas) or companies (Business Model Canvas), and thus adjust the value proposition offered by the brand.

Digital tools to create the empathy map

A mural is a digital tool that allows you to develop your empathy map, but you only have 30 days free to use this tool.


If you want to download the model of the empathy map, you can do it by clicking here, so you can print it and use it as many times as necessary. There is no complete or perfect map since every day there are changes in habits and internal and external factors that encourage change, therefore, it is necessary to pivot several times until the model is closest to reality.


Empathy is one of the factors that have been decisive in recent years for entrepreneurs and companies because markets are already saturated with products and services, but those who manage to satisfy what customers need and want are very few, therefore Knowing how they think, what feelings can be stimulated, how is the environment in which they interact every day and the work they must do to acquire the product or service, allows the company to bring each consumer closer.


Dave Gray, www.gamestorming.com/empathy-map/, retrieved 07/21/2020

Mindtools, www.mindtools.com/pages/article/empathy-mapping.htm, retrieved 07/21/2020

The icons used for the design of the infographic belong to Icon Lauk and 

inipagi, within the iconfinder platform


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