21 Apr How important is humanizing your brand?
In an era where every internet user has a journey to share, and is a storyteller of their immediate world – the question is – how often do brands take into consideration that they too need to do the same?
In business, so often we take the act of purchasing products for purely a transactional experience – one that is solely between a business and its consumer. It is also rare that a brand super imposes its ability to sell you a human experience past why their product is made for you. Too often their marketing ensures how the offering will ultimately give you a better lifestyle experience, yet few rarely narrate one for the human in you.
But times they are a changin’, sang Dylan.
Recently, I shed a tear while watching a Duracell commercial.
That’s it folks – a battery commercial tugged on my heart strings … and it had me thinking:
How…. but why…. BUT HOW?
Well – to simply put it – the brand told me story I could relate to and it was humanized as a story where batteries were a modest secondary to the nature of the commercial. The commercial shared a tale of a father-daughter relationship (with a brand spin) where the battery was but a vehicle to keep their relationship strong.
It wasn’t ground-breaking, I mean, the battery is simply doing its job. However, the brand connected with people in a way that drove them to social media to comment because it resonated with them emotionally.
*BOOM* a brand humanization strategy is born.
“Consumers want experiences. Not things.”
As marketers, we are now selling to the “experiential consumer^,” the person that buys the product experience rather than just the product by itself. In an Ad Age article titled, “Not Just Millennials: Consumers Want Experiences, Not Things” Brian Schultz indicates how experiences are how our consumers are now defining themselves and specifically on social media channels. With this notion, Schultz says ‘it is shifting how consumers spend their money, and so that marketing budgets should shift too.’
Take your kitchen table for instance. When you were procuring your table, did you consider the purchase journey, or did you just look for something practical at a reasonable price? Sometimes it is hard to separate the hype of the product experience over the fact that some people are just buying sh*t simply because it is a necessity, it’s available, and it is practical.
Recently (and not by coincidence) Leon’s furniture developed an ad to tap into a humanized perspective of how consumers view their furniture as part of their family.
The slogan rings, “Leon’s furniture is more than just a piece of furniture – it’s a part of the family”, and this ad spot parallels the family couch with nostalgic references through memorable moments that sound like the start of the “perfect dad” manual. Instead of the messaging being about the kickass dad, they pan to the couch. They humanized the couch to sound like a father figure. *Sigh*
It’s rather remarkable that commercials like this hold such weight with our emotional intelligence and it truly shows a shift in product advertisement. Products are no longer marketed as a functional object with practical use, but rather an authentic story that sparks the emotionally intelligent consumer to react.
In the article “Emotional Branding and the Emotionally Intelligent Consumer” Christie Barakat mentions there are major critics^^ that believe brands take advantage of a consumer’s emotional intelligence in order to elevate their product amongst the clutter.
Often, large brands like Nike use emotional archetypes that ‘tap into universal feelings’ in order to create a relationship between brand and consumer. Barakat goes on to say that as marketers, ‘we should not limit the consumer appeal to strictly emotions because a brand could hypothetically run the risk of appealing to those with a low emotional intelligence and lose a segment of their potential market without a cognitive element in their message.’
Developing a humanized strategy does mean placing puppies in every scene, or hiring Hilary Swank to play the ‘sad mom’ in your internet commercial *cough* to fool the emotional intelligence of your customer. The optimal strategy, as Barakat puts it, would be a balanced mix of both cognitive and affective messaging. By simply adding uncomplicated elements to your current media channels, you can allow your customers to experience your brand – but most importantly – navigate emotionally.