Humanize your brand

Brands connect products and people.

A brand is a collection of feelings, messages, and imagery. Its ultimate goal is to connect with your target audience. How does it connect?

It connects by creating a bridge between the product and the person. Your brand should convey the strengths of your product and company, but it shouldn't forget the biggest insight: Business is all about people. It's about communicating with a person.

People want to buy from other people. That means your brand shouldn't sound stilted and uber corporate when you're not.

Yeah, that means:

  • No royal "we." Don't say "We" when it's just you working in your business.
  • No corporate cliche speak. See: synergy, time to market, etc.
  • No impersonal photos. Some stock photos are alright, but the people behind the product should be there somewhere.

So, you're on board that humanizing your brand is the way to go. How do you show that you are a human brand?

Use your words

Use real words that people use. Convey who you are with the language you speak. It's obvious when you think about it in terms of colloquialisms: you guys vs. yous guys vs. ya'll vs. you all.

Being human doesn't mean that your messaging doesn't make sense either. It just means that it reaches a particular pain point for a specific person. It's specific and memorable.

Tell a story about your brand that shows the journey of the people behind the end product. Talk about your beliefs, qualities, and journey to bring home exactly what you stand for.

Use photos

40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.
— Zabisco

Photos are a wonderful thing to humanize anything you want to communicate. They're very prevalent in non-profits because words may say, "We offer clean water to those in need," but it's the photo that really lands the meaning and value of what the agency offers.

On the front page of charity: water is this photo. It automatically conveys exactly what they're trying to do and humanizes the problem.

From a website perspective, photos are invaluable way to show your product or service in action.

  • Show people interacting with your service. This can be hard if you have an online service, but testimonials, customer generated content, and other positive customer affirmations can bridge the gap.
  • Show people delivering your service or people behind the product. Knowing there's an owner and actually seeing a normal human being behind the site are two different things. It's like unveiling Oz for customers.
  • Show people who need your service. Your ideal customer should see themselves here and be happy to be represented.

Do more, don't just say more

An online presence is good. A visual online presence is great. A visual online presence that conveys who you are is even better. What's the best? A visual online presence that conveys who you are, and you fulfill that promise in real life.

Words and visuals are necessary part of marketing, but following up with a real presence is incredibly important. You need to talk the talk of your brand, as well as walk the walk. Some notes:

  • Don't lie or exaggerate your values. Everyone wants to say they value customer service, but that's not true. It's like how everyone claims they are hardworking in an interview, but that person doesn't always show up on the job. Be clear about who you are and what you aren't.
  • Meet and exceed expectations. Exceeding customer expectations is what keeps people coming back. How can you be even more of yourself or offer more of your brand? If you believe in customer service, maybe it's a handwritten note. If you believe in ease of doing business, maybe it's same day delivery.
  • Show you are human. You can include a little pizzazz to your writing, style, and photos that showcases your quirks and peculiarities. Maybe photos of how your brand makes an impact in the community. Maybe describe your impact on a local market. Show how you interact with others in real life.

You do all of this because you are trying to connect with another person (not a robot) at the end of your social media post or website.

How do you humanize your brand?