Humanize Your Brand

Humanize Your Brand

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Something that I don’t see emphasized enough to current business owners and companies is the importance of humanizing your business.  People are inundated these days with automated services, you call a number and you are given a pre recorded list of options, press 1 for yes or 2 for no, and by the time you get to a real person(if you get a real person) it’s an hour or more later. People are jaded, they don’t trust brands and see corporations as nothing more than faceless profiteers. Any advertisement shown to consumers is met with instant added scrutiny.

There is a solution to this that is a lot more straightforward than people might think however a lot of people don’t want to exert the time or energy to do these things, whether it is for your law firm, dental practice, commence company that specializes in selling dog trinkets, or even companies as big as Wendy’s or Taco Bell. People trust other people more than they do massive corporations or even small businesses.  To counteract this you have to make your brand seem more like a person, you need to humanize your brand.

Imagine that Your Company or Brand is a Fictional Character with their own distinct human voice. 

Brainstorm a personality for your brand, don’t think small when it comes to this, think big! Come up with a fictional character that perfectly represents and embodies your brand or company and flesh out the nitty gritty details. What does this character like, what does this character dislike, what’s their name, how do they dress? Are they calm in the face of something difficult, do they have perfect manners or are they a bit more brash?  These questions will help you imagine a real personality to serve as your brand’s avatar, and from there it’s easy to slip into that mentality. This is the best exercise to literally humanize your brand.
 
One company that we worked with, an commerce company doing over 7 figures a year, developed several fictional characters to implement into their customer service plan. The regular customer service reps Brian and Jason did not truly enjoy dealing with difficult customers and sometimes would meet criticisms about their product with slight hostility and defensiveness which does not get you very far in this business.  Customers really do come first and these types of responses were legitimately hurting their reputation. So we had them implement two women, Jessica and Sylvia, who were their “customer service alter egos.” These alter egos were filled with patience and compassion for their customers issues and were always looking to solve their problems and put their customers feelings first. It helped them to step outside of themselves and not view customer complaints as personal attacks towards their company. Think about how you can apply this tool of creating a fictional character to represent and humanize your brand. 

Engage in conversations with your clients, customers and audience

Don’t just post ads to your users; engage them in conversation. Exclusively posting ads reaffirms what they are already thinking about your company, that you are solely motivated by profit and lack any human aspect at all, and this makes them less likely to want to do business with you.
 
Ask them what they like and what they want to see more of, some of our most successful Blogging clients are consistently asking their audience what they want to see more of in terms of posts, videos, snap chats, etc. whether that be fitness tutorials, meal plans, make up get ready with me videos, or a how to create a Shopify store tutorial. Give your audience what they want, reward them for being engaged and involved in your brand, people love when you reward their loyalty even with something as simple as a like of their comment on Instagram. 
 
If you see your audience members commenting on an external thread, jump into the discussion. This shows that you’re paying attention, and that you care about more than just one side of the conversation. The more you engage with your users, the more likely they’ll be able to see you as a trustworthy, personal entity that they want to work with or purchase from again and again.  Yes this requires more work and it’s easier to just automate things to post on your social media sites however if you are going to outsource your company’s social media to a company like our’s, make sure that they understand the importance of engaging with customers and building brand loyalty. Anybody can automate tweets and Instagram or Facebook posts but the Social Media Management companies that can help you grow the most are those who understand the importance of honing your brand and engaging with your audience. 
 
When you engage with individuals, you’ll instantly cement those individuals’ loyalties, and you’ll look good to everyone else looking on.
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Have a Sense of Humor

Humor has a primal way of connecting and humanizing us. When we laugh together, we tear down walls and bond with each other—it’s why we’re more likely to laugh when we’re surrounded by people we care about than we are when we’re by ourselves. When you make your users laugh, you show them that you don’t take life too seriously. Breaking down the walls of business and showing your audience that have you a sense of humor and can poke fun at yourself or possibly them as done by Wendy’s shows that you can set aside the formal professionalism of your brand for just a moment to experience a humorous moment.
 
Obviously, the type of humor you use will be dependent on your brand, but self-deprecating humor and tongue-in-cheek references are both extremely effective. You don’t have to be a consistent comedian, but you have to throw out enough references and asides to keep your audience feeling good about you.
 
Earlier this year Wendy’s made headlines with their quippy Twitter banter and sassy responses to criticism or questions about their food.  
 
Wendy’s could have chosen to ignore the slew of messages that ridiculed them, but the brand chose to defuse the stand-off with clever humor.
 
When Amy Brown, Wendy’s Social Media Manager, was asked why she chose to approach criticism of their food with humor and what she keeps in mind  when communicating with Wendy’s vast Twitter audience. 
 
She said, “Interacting with our audience can be tricky, especially when fielding a high volume of requests and when trying to balance our engagement strategy with our customer care presence. For us, it’s important to remember who we are and what we’re trying to communicate — what’s our brand’s voice and purpose? The Wendy’s voice is a ‘challenger with charm,’ for example, which means that even when we’re shooting back a sassy comment, it’s with a smile and a wink. Having a strong sense of who our brand is and what we should sound like ensures that we’ll come across consistent in our communications, whether we’re handling a restaurant-specific complaint or gently roasting some of our followers.”
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Conclusion

These strategies are all meant to add a more human element to your brand, but there’s an even simpler strategy you can use independently or in conjunction with the tactics I listed above; be yourself. Instead of trying to mathematically calculate the perfect way to create a “human” brand voice or trying to predict all your users’ behaviors, just stop thinking like a corporation and start thinking like a person. How do you talk to people in your own life? How do you relate to people? These considerations should be the driving force for your branding campaign.

Branding Vs Sales

Branding Vs Sales

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Branding Is the Big Picture

The difference between branding and sales is simple. Are you trying to convert or are you trying to create an experience? The latter always wins.  It’s so easy to get lost in the trees and lose sight of the forest.  Chasing short term sales goals can often compromise your long term vision.  So many are in it for the quick sale and you are quickly forgotten in the current marketplace.  Generating high quality  content with real value and giving it away for free establishes you as an authority in whatever niche you’re in.  Doing this consistently over the long term allows you to build real trust with your audience.  If your content really does provide value to their lives, you won’t have to convince them to buy your product/service or share your content with their friends.

Your brand is more than your logo, name or slogan — it’s the entire experience your clients and customers have with your company, product or service.  Your brand strategy defines what you stand for, it’s the promise you make and the personality you convey. Your brand lives in every day-to-day interaction you have with your market.  At the end of the day there is only one thing that constitutes “brand.” It’s how you feel in the moment you interact with the product, service or business.  When I say a certain brand name, like “Apple” you have a very innate gut reaction to how you feel about that brand.  Branding is the Macro, it’s the big picture, it’s the long game.  Branding bleeds into every aspect of your business because it’s the DNA of your business and it’s everything you stand for.  

San Diego Branding

Brand Is Not Transactional

Whether you’re a massive corporation or a small business, you need to start thinking about business as a long term relationship, not a single transaction.  At the end of the what you’re doing is building a legacy.  Bring a ton of value to your audience so when you inevitably improve their lives in some capacity, when they’re telling stories at dinner or at a conference, they’re going to paint a positive picture of you and your business.  That is far more impactful on the future success of your business than closing a single sale that ends up having very little impact on someone’s life.

It’s so easy to get caught up in creating call to actions in every piece of content you roll out there.  Branding can be a lot like dating.  If you try and close the deal and sleep with someone on the first date, often you end up robbing yourself of the opportunity developing a serious longterm relationship.  The reason you’ll be relevant in 50 years is because you built a brand.  Building a brand is about giving your clients and customers value in every transaction and every interaction.  If you continue to put out the best content in your niche and if you distribute that content better than anybody.  Then you will win at creating a brand that will stand the test of time.  

 

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Define Your Brand

By defining your brand, you’re creating the foundation for all other components of your business to build on. Your brand definition will serve as your measuring stick in evaluating any and all marketing materials and strategies.  There is a lot to consider when defining your brand.  Your core values and mission are key elements to consider when defining your brand.  Amazon is one of the best examples.  They are relentless in their pursuit of customer service and delivering low prices and value to their customers.  Don’t believe me? Copy and paste www.relentless.com into your browser right now and see what comes up.  Jeff Bezos ensured that every piece of marketing consistently delivered on this message over a long period of time and he successfully built one of the biggest baddest brands this world has seen.

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Brand Strategy

By definition, brand strategy is a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand in order to achieve specific goals. A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.  

Think about all of the successful consumer brands like Disney, Apple or Starbucks. We all know what each brand represents. Now imagine that you’re competing against a company like one of these companies. If you really want to capture significant market share, it’s imperative to start with a strong brand strategy or you won’t get far.  Almost every market is competitive, so separating your brand from your competitors is a must.  So ask yourself right now, what makes your brand stand out from the competition?

Branding Conclusion

It’s so easy to get caught up focusing on Sales and Marketing that you lose site of building your brand.  Branding is only successful if it’s consistent across all platforms of your business and it’s done so over the long term.  Do not compromise your brand strategy to achieve any short term goal.  At the end of the day, branding is what gives you lasting success in your market and separates your company from the competition.  It helps generate loyal, lifelong customers which in turn creates true brand equity.   Clients and customers will trust any product our service with your logo on it and be that much more likely to use their hard earned cash to purchase it.