While watching this year’s Super Bowl, several friends asked my opinion on whether companies that run ads with little or no reference to their products or services are exhibiting marketing professional excellence. The simple answer is “Yes!” This can be a very powerful strategy when the goal is to humanize a brand and create an emotional bond.
The Always “Like a Girl” campaign is the perfect example of why this is a fantastic marketing strategy. Which would you rather see; a message about the importance of boosting girls’ confidence in puberty sponsored by a leading feminine protection brand, or a message about super absorbent pads? The answer seems clear to me which is why this campaign has been wildly successful. I now feel an emotional connection to the Always brand for taking a stance on an important issue which is 100 times more likely to get me to consider their product than if they had talked about features and functionality.
So what can companies that don’t have giant Super Bowl-level advertising budgets do to humanize their brands? Frankly, the possibilities are endless, but here are some prime examples:
1. Be Real: Once upon a time it became customary to adopt formal “business speak” in much of our business communications. This often comes off as stiff, pompous, and stuffed with the buzz words du jour. It may serve to inform the reader, but rarely engages and creates any type of emotional connection. Don’t be afraid to let your hair down and tell the reader something about yourself and what makes you tick. Example: Last week I dined at an excellent, low-profile ethnic restaurant in Denver called David’s Kebab House. It’s tiny and completely lacks ambiance. We arrived right after a large party and the kitchen was totally overwhelmed, so it took forever to get our food. As a gesture of apology, the owner gave us free dessert. We learned all about why they started the place, that his wife, originally from Tajikistan, makes all the food from scratch, and how the restaurant has become a meeting place for Russians, Turks, and others from the region because it’s one of the few spots in town offering this type of authentic cuisine. We now have a personal connection that has resulted in my referring this spot to everyone I know and thinking fondly about that evening for the past several weeks.
2. Create “Shock and Awe” with Every Experience: Providing something personal and unexpected is another great way to humanize your brand. At Webolutions, we maintain a profile on all of our clients about their preferences, hobbies, and personal history and use this information to provide them experiences that show we care. Birthdays are celebrated with gifts that play into their specific interests. Visitors are greeted by name and provided snacks based on stated preferences, and events are staged that demonstrate our creativity and desire to create fun, impactful experiences.
3. Showcase Your Team and Culture: A great way to humanize your brand is by sharing examples of your team living the company culture. Giving back to the community, celebrating music or sport, whatever you do that’s a reflection of who you are as a team. One of Webolutions’ clients who provides accounting services throughout Colorado has a team of passionate dog lovers.They all took photos of themselves with their four-legged friends and reached out to their clients, business partners, and personal networks to participate in a campaign to raise funds for the Dumb Friends League. Whatever passions you share as a team, don’t be shy about sharing them with your customers as well.
It’s important for prospective customers to know what you do and why you are good at it, but it’s equally important for them to know who you are and why they should like you. Professional excellence is about creating relationships. Simon Sinek in his book Start With Why says “people don’t typically buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you to it.” This is where the emotional connections are made that drive 90% of purchase decisions, but where marketers spend painfully little of their energy. Webolutions helps clients identify their “Why” and communicate it to prospective clients in words, experiences, and through their entire company culture. If you need help humanizing your brand, contact Webolutions today at 303-300-2640.
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