In the world of branding, “humanisation” isn’t just another fleeting trend. It’s an ongoing shift in the way that consumers want to experience the relationship they have with brands. It’s miles away from the disconnected, old-school world of glossy, high-production Mad Men-era billboard advertising.
Brands are starting to see the potential of real, gritty, lo-fi campaigns that don’t shy away from the real issues their consumers face in day-to-day life. In this way, “humanisation” is transforming from a branding novelty to a carefully planned marketing strategy. It’s a brave way of both branding and offering cost-cutting measures without losing sight of creative direction.
Human brands can be found making real connections with their audience through exclusive events, micro-influencers, one-to-one conversations on social media, caring customer service, people-powered products, transparency, social responsibility, sustainability and beyond.
From a psychological perspective (which is what marketing is all about), it’s a way of tapping into humanity’s natural instinct to anthropomorphise everything from boats to cars to cats, therefore cultivating a genuine emotional connection and a tangible relationship between brand and customer.
But why is it so important?
Let’s imagine for a second that brands are two people you’ve gone for a drink with Brand A and Brand B.
Brand A loves to brag. They take centre stage at any social event, flashing the cash and loudly proclaiming how they’re the best at golf, so they’ll show you the ropes sometime, or how they can get you into that exclusive club because they know the bouncer, all the while glancing around to see if the cute girls by the door have noticed them.
Often, there’s nothing wrong with what Brand A is offering. But the way they boast about it, constantly patting themselves on the back for being cooler, smarter and richer than you, is so insufferable that you hesitate about taking them up on their offer because they seem so insincere. They’ll probably stand you up at the bar because they suddenly got a better offer.
Brand B, on the other hand, is far more human. They ask you about your day, and then they actually listen. They join in when you order that second round of margaritas on a school night, lend you a pen so you can write your number down for the bartender and order you an Uber so you get home safely. They may not know the bouncer at the best club in town, but they’ll sure as hell stand next to you in the rain as you both try to get in. Brand B has a personality - you can relate to them, understand them and trust them.
And it’s this concept that can be applied to humanising a brand - and we always try to practice what we preach!
At the end of the day, people aren’t interested in your product or service.
Consumers don’t want to buy from a brand that bangs on all the time about their USP, without ever paying genuine attention to their audience. They want to buy from a brand that they can cultivate a friendship with, or even fall in love with. They want to experience human relatability at every step of the customer journey, across every touchpoint they encounter. They remember enticing stories and vibrant personalities that make them feel proud to use the brand better than any product.