By Liz Papagni, Published November 1, 2014
With so much focus on branding these days, it’s easy to get caught up in the company vision, message, and product. The problem is that today’s buyers don’t necessarily want slick, streamlined brands. They want connections. They want relationships. Brands they can trust again and again. If you’re hiding behind your company’s identity, you’re missing your chance to make these connections. The human touch is crucial, but finding the balance between business and personal is difficult. Talent strategist and Forbes contributor Meghan Biro says, “The result of this new intimacy: your brand is humanized, customer loyalty skyrockets, performance and team morale is boosted.” Here are some tips to help you humanize your brand.
Introduce Your Staff
Putting a face to the different aspects of your brand is the quickest and most effective way to bring a human touch to your company. Your buyers will love knowing actual people handle the day-to-day activities. Don’t just share names and job titles, either. Let your employees shine through thoughtful bios that explain each member’s connection to your brand message.
Don’t Shun Emotion
A reaction is a good thing, whether to the best news you’ve had all day or a crushing blow to your company or humanity as a whole. Messages of hope and comfort from your company will help to solidify the connections you’ve made through your branding efforts and marketing outlets. Acknowledging life outside your business gives you a very human edge.
Support a Cause
A brand with a social conscience often makes much stronger connections with consumers. Whether you implement your own foundation or join forces with one already in effect, the idea is simply to give back. The charity or cause that you choose should mesh well with your brand’s mission. For instance, a company that sells sustainable products may choose to partner with a charity that works to improve the environment. You may also pair with a cause that seems to do the opposite in an effort to maintain goodwill.
The idea of social media networks is to be social, but you can also generate more leads than you ever thought possible. In fact, 77% of companies say they’ve gained at least one customer through Facebook. Too many brands take the opportunity to send messages out into the world but don’t stop to engage the consumers. Always take the time to respond to tweets, Facebook messages, comments on LinkedIn, and any other messages you might receive. To send a reply isn’t always enough. If you really want to make and foster connections with your buyers, let them know who’s responding to their comments. Whether you’re taking the initiative as the CEO or you have a social media manager handling all social engagement, tell your followers who you are. Let them learn your voice so they’ll recognize you later.
Live Your Vision
Once you’re well known as the human behind your brand, all eyes will be on you. Be prepared to share your convictions whenever you can, and make sure they match the brand vision. Your battle cry, your reason why, should be something that reaches out and touches the lives of your buyers. Above all other tips on this list, living your vision is the most powerful. This is when your fans and followers will truly begin to see the human side of your business.
Have you actively worked to humanize your brand? Which of these strategies have you used? Leave us a comment to keep the conversation going!