It’s Time to Get Real Here People: Humanizing Your Brand
Brands have to do everything they can to position their services or products. Appealing to customers at a human level is more important now than ever before. Customers are not KPI’s— they’re people, so humanizing your brand is more than marketing—it’s a necessity.
So where can you start? Think about the basics: Brand humanization moves a business forward by emphasizing community and storytelling. People like making connections. They enjoy investing their time and money in people who they know are on their side and that they can relate to.
What better way to forge connections with your audience than by highlighting and focusing on the human side of your business: your culture. Community and storytelling are powerful tools with which leaders can develop and nurture workplace culture. I am a big believer in the power of personality and culture fit, which, as it turns out, is a first cousin of brand humanization. A company’s culture can ensure the success of its business objectives and its most valuable asset: human capital.
To humanize a brand, you first must ensure your business’s culture is robust enough to sustain the good will of employees— who, after all, are your first tried-and-true brand ambassadors. People’s stories and personalities inform your corporate culture, so it pays to make sure your workplace culture supports your employees and aligns with your brand. In other words, your employees are the most authentic expression of your brand. Start with them.
Now comes the tricky part: getting your message out there. There are lots of ways to do this, but here are seven tips that we’ve found are most effective.
1. Have a Good “About Us” Page
The “About Us” page is one of the first places potential customers will look to if they want to learn more about your business. Take the time to make sure it’s good! This is the perfect opportunity to show not only your business’ history, but also to showcase the human side with photos of the employees. Need some inspiration? Check out this post on 7 simple tips to make your about us page shine.
2. Use Video
Video content is one of the most effective ways to capture and retain attention. What’s more, videos can live practically anywhere—your “About Us” page, social media posts, content marketing efforts—and allow audiences to feel a connection with the employees and what happens behind the scenes.
3. Humor is Human
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that everybody enjoys a good laugh. Not everything has to be business 24/7, especially when you are trying to humanize your brand. A quick picture or joke is the perfect way to lighten the mood of your viewers. Who cares if a baby elephant getting a bath is irrelevant? It’s still funny and will get people talking about you. We’ve been trying to lighten the mood recently with a blog series called Friday Content Roundup—check out my favorite post here.
4. Engage With Your Audience
Humans communicate with each other in meaningful, open-sided conversations. This one is especially important for social media. When you create a Twitter or Facebook account, you are essentially inviting your consumers to connect with you. Being absent from your account is like a broken promise. Be there for them and let them know that you are there to answer questions, resolve problems, or simply engage in conversation! Trust is everything in brand humanization.
5. Encourage Your Employees to Be Social
This applies both online and off. Brand humanization leverages the power of networks of people to help tell stories and your brand and company culture. Each of your employees has their own network—family, friends, business associates and so on. That’s a form of reach money can’t buy. Encourage employees to share exciting news and content marketing efforts with their own social networks.
6. Don’t Sell Products; Tell Stories
The point of humanizing your brand is not for your business to be known as a business, but more as a person, or at least a collective of individual persons. People connect with people, not companies, so give your business some personality by showing a lighter side to it and telling stories to relate to your audience.
7. Consistent Brand Voice and Tone
I saved the best tip for last. Brands that communicate effectively are successful brands. And in order to communicate in a way that sounds human, you have to distinguish your voice. Take on the personality or identity of, well, an actual person. For further reference, check out this recent blog on consistent brand voice and tone being the foundation for effective digital marketing.
Brand humanization builds on trust, community and social interaction and doubles down to create a powerful tool to sustain your brand and interact with your brand ambassadors/ employees, consumers and prospects.
Think about humanizing your brand, and do it soon!