By Rutu Mody-Kamdar
If you are a brand owner or manager, you’ve got to stop treating your brand like a business and treat it more like a real human being. Humanising a business is more than just a marketing fad and is going to give your business a far deeper engagement and connection with your customers.
Human beings have a penchant for connecting with other human beings. Much in the same way, research has shown that customers connect deeply with brands that share the same personal values as themselves. When a customer claims to like a certain brand of soap or tea or shoe, it has little to do with the product’s claims of superiority and more to do with the personal vibe that the brand gives the customer specifically.
Even when the market is flooded with thousands of brands, you will see a few brands flourishing. Customers grow to love these brands, even though they may have a similar or an inferior product. Consider this. When there are over a billion of us, why is it that a few people stand out uniquely and flourish more than others? Why do some people inspire more than others?
Large corporations the world over have realised that brands are human. And they invest millions of dollars in treating their brands like living, breathing beings. They give their brands the TLC that they deserve. A brand is rarely created through algorithms or data or research or analytics. A brand is created by a deep understanding of human behavior and building a story that will relate at an emotional level. A brand is built by realising that people connect with other people at a primal level. By ascribing rich human qualities to their brand, they can build a true sense of commitment and loyalty among their consumers.
A brand that displays a fair share of human qualities builds a better dialogue and relationship with its customers. Customers relate to the brand’s characteristics and form allegiances with the characteristics that they identify within themselves. A brand’s personality helps create a unique identity and helps earmark the brand as different from others.
If you’re inspired and want to know more, here are five ways in which you can build a more human-centric brand strategy:
1. Build a unique and relatable brand story
Share your story. Share the details of the journey. The wins and the losses. Being authentic and transparent makes your brand more relatable and likable. There are several ways to tell your story. Share them as an article, make a video or put it up on your website. Make sure your story comes straight from the heart and ties in with your brand’s purpose and values.
2. Show your customers that you truly care
Whether through a robust and well-managed customer care department or small and simple gestures- like thanking them on social media, sending them some promos and discounts, writing out a small note of appreciation when they make a sale. These are small but sure ways of building that human-to-human connection that people want from your brand.
3. Showcase the human side of the business
Apart from showing your product and your manufacturing capabilities, make it a point to showcase the people behind the machinery. Put your team in the spotlight. Showcase some real stories of grit and commitment that your employees have displayed. Use your social media handles to show your business’s ‘behind the scenes’ regularly.
4. Be ready to admit to a mistake
Most brands are solely focused on creating an identity that is flawless and superior. But in reality, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a business. It is common for businesses to err, but it’s even more endearing to see a business admit to its mistake, own up and take remedial action.
5. Build a voice that’s relatable and authentic
Build a voice that’s relatable and authentic. Not one that sounds ephemeral and condescending. Avoid the formal, boring language often used to describe a brand. Use a relatable brand voice, much like a person speaking to a real person. Make sure to develop your brand voice from your unique set of values.
Branding is equal part science and equal part art. Understanding that brands are more like human beings and finding a way to build them to forge real and relatable relationships is the key to a successful and much-loved humanised brand.
The author is founder, director, Jigsaw Brand Consultants