November 14, 2017

Humanizing a Business: Can You Be Friends With a Brand?

In his bid for president in 2012, Mitt Romney said, “Corporations are people, my friend.” Logically, that can be a struggle to understand. How can corporations be people? Yet, in many ways, corporations can seem as real as people because they have personalities.

Why is Humanizing a Brand Important?

Brands that have a strong personality can seem human. Without personality, messaging often falls flat and fails to create an emotional impact with target audiences. A humanized brand cares about those that use their product or service, and they are genuine with others.

We are becoming increasingly skeptical of marketing messages as a society. Showing your brand’s personality can alleviate distrust and build strong relationships with your audience.

Humanizing your brand can generate lifelong supporters out of your clientele. Those supporters are friends of your business. They feel that you listen to them and understand your needs, and in return, they support you and help you reach your mission.

Businesses that fail to make friends out of the people who use their product or service miss real opportunities for growth.

How to Humanize Your Brand

Capturing a human voice can be challenging for any business. Too conversational, and you can seem inauthentic, too formal, and others will have a hard time relating. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger calls the balance between these two empowered vulnerability.

Empowered vulnerability is an authoritative voice that isn’t afraid to be confident. It understands that people are looking for answers to their questions. But it doesn’t avoid the personal and imperfect aspects of your company either.

Finding your version of empowered vulnerability can have fantastic results; it builds trust between you and your audience and leads to deep relationships with your customers.

Be Genuine

Consumers quickly identify when they are being marketed to. Instead of automatically trying to sell, make sure you are taking the time to listen. To be genuine and sincere, you must truly understand your audience’s frustrations and how you can help make their lives better.

Traditional marketing often focused on the company and its products, rather than focusing on the customer’s problems. Instead of simply listening to the consumer and showing them how their product would help them live better lives, many opted to talk about how their product was superior to all others and how they were number one.

Sincerity cannot be faked. It takes time and effort to build a genuine bond between you and your customers.

Understand Who Your Audience Is

How can you be friends with an organization that doesn’t understand who you are and what your needs are? Despite your best efforts, if you misunderstand your audience, you won’t be able to build lasting relationships with your customers.

Study your clientele, get to know their needs and desires. Targeting the wrong group of people can have devastating consequences for your marketing campaign. The best messaging in the world falls flat if it isn’t applicable to those that you are trying to reach.

Focus on Selflessness and Servanthood

Selflessness and servanthood are important aspects of love. Putting others’ needs before your own is a basic aspect of building strong relationships. Show others that you are there to support them. Anticipate the needs and desires of your audience, how is it that you can serve them?

Strong Examples of Humanized Branding

Shaping people’s perceptions of who you are and what you stand for takes lots of time and effort. Strive to make every interaction someone has with your business positive.

Ward’s Supermarket

Ward’s Supermarket is a small, family-owned, local grocery store in Gainesville, FL. Ward’s has called Gainesville home for sixty-five years. Despite the challenges of co-existing in a very competitive industry, Ward’s has thrived with a commitment to the community and superior products and services.

Their messaging on social media now reflects the qualities and culture that they have created and cultivated over sixty-five years ago. A year ago, PHOS started managing Wards’ Facebook and Instagram accounts. Their Facebook account is used to regularly engage customers and highlight their specials. Instagram now delivers bright, high-quality photos of the produce they provide.

Ward's Supermarket
Ward's Supermarket Instagram

These small changes have paid huge dividends. In the last year, the average organic reach of their Facebook posts doubled! Their likes also doubled to over 12,000!

The Gainesville community was reminded of Ward’s commitment to them, and they fell back in love with their local grocery store.

Publix Supermarkets

Publix Supermarkets is one of the fastest-growing supermarkets in the United States and is right now ranked #21 on Fortune’s List of the Best Companies to work for.

Started as a single location in Winter Haven, Florida, they have spread throughout the Southeast and are noted for their superior customer service and high-quality products.

Their marketing is often customer-centric. Take this Thanksgiving commercial from 2014:

You don’t see the logo until the very end. Their focus is on the fantastic experiences that you can have around Thanksgiving. You don’t feel like you are being sold to, and the ad has an emotional impact.

Generate Friends for Your Brand

Being friends with an organization relies heavily on the organization. Brands have to work hard to gain their customer’s friendship and loyalty; consistently delighting and thinking about their clients’ needs, having an open dialogue about how they can be better humanizes the brand’s efforts.

Companies don’t have to be perfect. They can stumble and fall. In the end, what’s more human than that? But they must strive for perfection and work hard to earn your approval.

PHOS strives to generate close relationships with all of their clients. We believe that the best way to accomplish our mission is through open and honest dialogue with those that we work with. We want you to become the best version of yourself, let us know how we can help!

Reggie Sinon

With a background in Economics, Reggie is fascinated by the story that data can tell. He is passionate about telling that story in new and compelling ways and will work with you to best deliver the message of your company.