We’ve explained the difference between branding and marketing and how both play a big role in your overall business success. We’ve also discussed the importance of human to human marketing, but it’s not just your marketing that needs to be human. Your brand is the foundation of your marketing efforts, so when you are positioning your business to market to other humans, it requires a humanized brand. We’ll explain the importance of humanizing your brand and some essential practices to bring out that human element.
Why humanize your brand?
A brand inherently isn’t a human or a person, but if done correctly, it can carry certain aspects of one. Your brand has values, personality, tone, and voice that all contribute to, and form its identity. When those aspects of your brand are personal and sincere, they allow your customers, clients, and audience to form an opinion of your business where they can imagine relationships and real connections with your business. Those relationships turn into recognition, trust, and long-term loyalty, just like people develop with friends and other people in their lives. As a result, humanizing your brand is essential for your business’ success, since 81% of customers say they must trust a brand before they purchase from them.
Having a Personal Tone and Voice
A highly professional tone and mode of communication are necessary in some instances, but they also often feel impersonal. Consider the difference when a close friend or family member stops being casual and begins acting all professional. It quickly changes the social dynamic and can feel uncomfortable or even unnatural. Instead, we generally view emotional or casual tones that are fun, empathetic, or engaging as more sincere, personal, and approachable.
That also extends to your brand’s voice. Being real, showing that you care, or directly engaging with your audience and customers immediately makes your brand more personal, human, and likable. You can still have communications that are professional, educational, or technical but consider how you can mention those topics with a more approachable tone, or voice.
Engage, Engage, Engage
A lot of us are social, and socializing is an essential part of humanizing your brand to form personal connections. A great opportunity to socialize and showcase your brand’s humanized voice is to engage on social media. Do this daily. Reply to comments, ask questions, and respond to relevant posts. All of these reflect a human behind the brand and show that your business is willing to socialize rather than just advertise. Socialize > Advertise.
Pick methods of engagement that are suitable and sustainable. Your brand might be educational, caring, empathetic, witty, light-hearted, or a mixture of these. Be consistent with your overall branding, but the more crucial aspect is that your brand engages and responds in a manner suitable to the context like a person —like you— would. Otherwise, it could appear automated or robotic, and thereby inauthentic.
Your voice and tone should also be one that effectively communicates with your audience, clients, and/or customers. A way to keep your brand accessible is to speak clearly and plainly, avoiding specialized terminology or sales talk. Jargon and highly specialized language will make your brand feel inaccessible and exclusionary…unless that’s what you’re going for. They can both confuse potential customers and come off as a tad artificial.
Instead, to humanize your brand, use simpler language more typical of everyday conversation. If you work in a specific industry, some specialized language is appropriate and even necessary to demonstrate your brand and business’ expertise and knowledge. Your brand’s voice should strike a careful balance between what its audience is comfortable with and what is too formal or jargony.
Creating a Story
People connect with stories, and they’re also an essential part of human identities. Where and how your brand started, the difficulties it encountered, the accomplishments it achieved, and the key people who were a part of that journey all form your brand’s background. That developed backstory is an essential human part of your brand, so show it off. Your social media posts, advertising, blog, and “About Us” page on your website are great places to talk about your brand’s history and foster those personal connections.
The Real Human Element of Your Brand
Ultimately your brand isn’t ever going to be a real human (insert Pinocchio joke), but the people who make and contribute to it every day, including you, are. A direct way to humanize your brand is to let parts of everyone’s personality come through, a little behind the scenes if you will.
A people page on your website and posts celebrating team members immediately broadcast the real human element of your brand. However, you can go further. Allow your community manager(s) to communicate directly. In website bios or social media posts, have team members mention what they do in their free time or use images from outside work. A page full of professional headshots and biographies can demonstrate your brand’s professionalism, but so can each employee providing a smart tip relevant to your business that also demonstrates their expertise and personality.
A Brand-New Human
These are just a few of the ways to start humanizing your brand. What they all have in common is recognizing and portraying that personal, human touch of your brand. Every business has a human element because they are made and run by humans for humans. The strategy comes from knowing how to apply that human touch to allow your brand’s personality and the people behind it to shine and engage. That is fundamental to creating human-to-human marketing and fostering real connections. If you’re looking to humanize your brand, contact us for strategic consulting. We can help bring out that inner human.