Friday, March 25, 2011

Is your brand human?

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Photo by Emilie Ogez
There is a significant shift happening in business when it comes to how brands market, advertise, and relate with their customers. Brands everywhere are moving (or being forced) into acting like human beings.

With the advent of social networks, customers have the opportunity to interact with businesses like never before—one-to-one, mano a mano. No longer is it a one way, mass "broadcast from on high" relationship between the brand and it's customers.

The customer can now directly ask questions, comment, converse, praise, criticize, and even create with brands as if they are sitting there in the room with them. And vice-versa. The brand can comment and converse right back...in real time! Even direct marketing like mail and email can't allow for this level of intimacy and immediacy.

But what does this all mean?

For the customer it means there's an expectation of being treated like a real human being. And that means they want a relationship...with another human being. In turn, your brand must act like a human with all the complexities of personality and character that come with being just like us. 

You can't just say, "Our brand personality is 'happy' and 'red.'" Human beings aren't just one emotion and a color. They might be an optimist at heart, but their character is much deeper and fuller than that. They might have a favorite color but their style preferences go much, much further.

And when you talk and converse as a brand, are you treating people like humans? You can't just have a megaphone anymore. You have to have an indoor voice; and a problem-solving voice; and a excited-you-just-made-our-day-voice; and a we-really-care-about-you voice. And every one of these voices has to express the core essentials of your brand personality. When you're sad and when you're happy you still consistently express your unique, individual personality, right?

So how deep does your brand personality go? Are you building a human brand?