Building a relationship with customers is key to growing a brand successfully with long-term sustainability. That initial connection becomes the basis for customer loyalty and engagement throughout the relationship.
Most people view brands as faceless entities rather than human personalities, which creates a barrier between consumers and businesses. There is a lack of trust and an assumption that companies are part of the establishment, and don’t have the consumer’s best interests at heart. Consumers nowadays want to be listened to, understood, to feel valued and supported – in other words, they want brands to behave like a human.
Humanizing your brand breaks down the consumer-business barrier and helps to make your business more personable and relatable without compromising professionalism. But how do you humanise your brand?
Choose a brand voice
Everyone has their own style of speaking that forms a part of their personality. For your brand to become more human, it needs a unique voice with a tone that fits the overall image it wants to portray to consumers.
Too many brands make the mistake of using business jargon to sound professional. This can push consumers away if they are unfamiliar with the jargon, and it can make your brand come off as intimidating or pretentious.
It is wise to remember that no matter what you’re selling, your end user is a person, and it will serve you to remind them that you are a person too.
Capture real imagery, don’t use stock photos
The best way to capture the true essence of your brand and its people is to take your own photos and videos of your real customers or your actual team members. This comes across much more authentic to your consumers than using stock imagery.
Capturing your own photography is not always an option, and stock imagery certainly has its place. If budget or time constraints prevent you from taking your own photos and videos, try to use imagery that looks authentic and has a human feel to it. Avoid cheesy stock imagery.
Embrace reactive marketing
Reactive marketing is a great way to show that your brand is involved in the real world – the same world the consumer exists in. Commenting on the latest news and viral memes keeps you part of the conversation.
Whether it’s live-tweeting to the Great British Bake-Off (#GBBO!) or just reacting to your customers’ comments – getting involved with hot topics on social media as they’re happening will help your brand to connect to its audience.
Inject a sense of humour into your content
Many brands are guilty of being too restrictive with their online personalities and marketing strategies. Businesses worry that they won’t come across as professional if they involve humour in their brand voice. However, it’s good to remember that everyone likes a good laugh now and then, and humour is a brilliant way to interact with people and bring your brand to life in a light-hearted way.
Even if you feel injecting humour blatantly on social media is too much for your brand, there are other, more subtle ways to bring a bit of fun into your brand. Whether it’s a hidden easter egg on your website or micro-copy on your products, don’t be afraid of a little light-hearted humour.
Give your team space to be themselves
What better way to humanise your brand than show the humans who make the company what it is! Include an ‘About Us’ section on your site with pictures of the faces behind the company. Encourage team members to write a short blurb about themselves, their hobbies, interests, what makes them unique. You could even do a weekly feature of each employee on your socials. It’s also a good idea to make it clear who writes each piece of content and include an image of the author – again this gives a face to the content and shows that there is actually a human on the other side of that blog post or tweet.
Nothing will turn a consumer off your brand faster than automated email responses or copy-paste replies on twitter. This will instantly give them the feeling that your brand does not care about their experience. Keep responses and interactions authentic to help build that brand-audience connection.
Be transparent, everyone makes mistakes
Humans are not perfect, they make mistakes, which means your brand will inevitably make mistakes too – and that’s ok! Part of behaving in a more human way is to make sure that when you do make mistakes, you are transparent about it and provide a response that feels genuine and apologetic. Customers value transparency, and your business benefits by building trust and credibility.
A great example of this was KFC’s response to its chicken supply issues – it felt much more authentic than the traditional corporate press release apology that a lot of brands go for, and it’s because of this authenticity and character that it grabbed headlines around the world, resulting in a positive impact for the brand.
Optimizing the company's brand voice, showing consumers the faces behind the brand, owning mistakes, building social media relationships, injecting humour where appropriate, and commenting on current events all help to humanize your small business brand even further.
If you’re ready to bring that human element to your branding and create something that your audience can really connect with, don’t hesitate to contact us and we can chat about how we can help.
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