This is a guest post courtesy of Ana Silva.
We are moving towards a future that values real human qualities in brands and big corporations. In today’s world, customers are increasingly turning to brands that they can really believe in and trust, building relationships and extending communication channels.
Breaking down corporate barriers and humanizing your brand is the best way of developing and maintaining a solid relationship with a consumer base. Your customers want to be having active conversations with you and they want your communication to be genuine, clear and above all, human.
Here’s the how, and the why, to doing it:
3 Reasons to Humanize Your Brand
Manage risk online & protect your reputation: Any crisis nowadays will quickly move to an online crisis; being vulnerable and open online enables you to defend your brand in a real-time world.
Enables brands to be part of customer’s lives: The best brands don’t just sell a product or service: they sell a lifestyle.
Builds greater trust and reliability: Encourage people to develop real connections with your brand by ensuring your communication stands out from that of your competitors.
5 Ways to Humanize Your Brand
Personality: Own your own.
Don’t be afraid to be an individual; it’s the best way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, however scary it may be.
An online personality involves three key areas:
- How you make your audience feel
- Your tone
- And all the aesthetic elements such as images, videos, and design
Developing your identity uniformly across these areas strengthens your brand vision and helps your audience to understand who and what you are.
Show us people’s faces.
Frankly, your customers don’t really care who the CEO is, or how many companies he’s owned. What they do want to know is who is speaking to them via your social networks or customer support system.
If you have a community manager or even just one person handling your social channels, make sure you introduce them and share pictures of them working and being themselves.
Also, ensure they always sign their real name on any communication via email and social. This demonstrates that you’re serious about engaging with people on a human level and not just as a marketing tool.
Be real; be open; be honest. Be your humble self.
Authenticity is important because it validates your brand; just like authenticity as a characteristic validates you as a person. Be confident about who you really are and your customers will become brand ambassadors for you, following you wherever you go and however the market landscape changes.
Don’t conceal important information in a digital world. The likelihood is someone somewhere will find it. When they do your customers will look to your brand and wonder what you had to hide.
Be who you say you are.
Alongside authenticity, integrity is invaluable as a brand characteristic. If you say you really value helping people, then do it. Don’t hide behind grandiose gestures. You can only inspire people who share your values by following through with who you say you are and behaving in accordance with those values. Focus on leading with integrity rather than increasing conversion rates.
Consider your unique purpose and how your brand can positively impact people’s lives; in order to truly inspire people you have to be yourself.
Embrace the art of storytelling.
Just like a real human, every brand has a story to tell. Telling your story will make you more relatable and enable people to understand where you’re coming from. This way, they’ll be more likely to want to get to where you’re going with you.
It’s also an easy way to show that you want to be open and sincere, and inspire people emotionally. It helps to be creative, but it’s also important to tell your story in a way your audience will be able to engage and respond to it.
We want brands that match our values and traditions, brands that inspire us to be better people and show us that they understand who we are as individuals. In short, we want brands to be our friends.
Don’t worry about being imperfect; it’s human.
Be yourself, you will naturally inspire people and they’ll thank you for it by being ready to engage with your brand and your values.
Find the story you want to tell and tell it in the most genuine way you can. It makes your brand instantly identifiable and inspires people to join your journey.
The best brand stories are true stories.