Brands are doing everything they can to position products and services successfully, including trying to appeal to customers at a human level. The modern-day consumer values intense personalisation and engagement, and a great way to get their attention is through humanising your brand.
Humanising your brand and creating a strong brand identity are more than marketing. They’re both a necessity in a world where social media can sweep aside positioning and branding in a heartbeat. Emphasising community and storytelling are two powerful tools with which leaders can develop and nurture workplace culture as well as maintain a clear external brand identity communication. Most importantly, both can be achieved through successfully humanising your brand.
Why humanising your brand is important
There are countless ways to make your brand appear more human. But why is humanising your brand so crucial and such a desirable trait for companies? Brand humanisation can help you steer away from the traditional marketing techniques and focus on being more relatable, trustworthy and engaging. Whether your objective is to sell a product or provide a service, you first need to build trust.
For example, pushing out monotonous ads via your social media or advertising platforms will result in losing that human factor. As a brand, you shouldn’t always aim to push your products. Instead you should be aiming to become a brand that inspires people and shares moments with its customers, acting as a human by building connections on an emotional level. Overall, humanising your brand will create a deeper connection with your audience. Aside from enhancing employer branding and the chances to attract and retain top talent, it can make room for engaging, meaningful conversation and build long-term loyalty.
5 ways to humanise your brand
Show Off Your Staff
Showing the real people behind the work is something that helps build trust with customers. Surveys show that it also helps extend the longevity of a client’s likelihood of staying on. Physically seeing that there is a team behind the brand can make a real impact. For instance, you can show off your employees on various parts of your website, like your ‘About Us’ and ‘Careers’ pages. Another way is through social media and team activities. You could share albums on your company Facebook page from events or funny moments in the office.
HubSpot is one great example, consistently outperforming in this area. Their ‘About Us’ shows a quality video of their CEO telling HubSpot’s compelling story, while their blog section features the author of each article with a photo.
Leveraging your employee’s networks to spread the word about your brand and show that your employees are proud to represent your company, helps build trust a sense of reliability. Not every employee may feel comfortable promoting your brand but encouraging employees through emails to share content or form a thought-leadership team can help humanise your brand in a very effective way.
Share user-generated content
Sharing user-generated content can help you to humanise your brand in two ways; it’s not only exciting to the user who gets his or her content featured. It also shows other consumers that you have great relationships with your customers and that they are already trusting you. Instead of being asked to blindly trust a company’s claims, consumers will see real-life people, using your service and that will in turn promote trust in your brand. A great example of the user-generated content strategy is Airbnb. The company often shares other customers’ experiences via their social media (i.e. Twitter) with its followers.
Show customers your appreciation
There are things you can do to show customers your appreciation like sending a personalised thank-you letter and special offer to regular consumers. Another great technique could be to create a personalised on-boarding experience by sending out a letter or a gift box from each customer’s dedicated account manager welcoming them to “the family”.
Express just as any human does and adapt your audience’s preferences. Apologise, be polite and thankful and share your views. Reply to comments of your followers, engage in discussions and answer questions whilst delivering the brand in context. This will make you stand out and will surely give your brand a very human-like, unique and approachable presence on social media.
Challenges of brand humanisation
Brand identity and humanisation is important because it helps clarify what each brand stands for. Despite its significance, humanising your brand can also have challenges and limitations.
Complex and time consuming – Humanising your brand can be a complex process. It may entail extensive research, including market research, marketing audit, competitive audit and a clear branding strategy.
Expensive to Design – Designing and creating a brand identity is expensive and time consuming. Brands either delegate the task to their marketing teams or hire consultants who charge by the hour and spend many hours in close consultation with managers before they decide on the brand logotype, colour, typography, sound, motion and other key elements of the brand identity design. Trial applications are run before the identity is presented for approval. The approved identity is then trademarked and translated to the company website, business cards, letterheads, packaging and advertising. Each step of the process entails heavy funding and expenses.
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