Humanized brands still need to be relevant and focused

Many marketers these days are focused on the importance of “humanizing” the brand in order to be more authentic and engage more deeply with customers.  A lot of the discussion on this topic focuses on the opportunities (especially through social media) to showcase the real people behind a brand and engage consumers in two-way conversations.

Humanizing the brand is not a new idea.  For many years brand strategies have incorporated an “inside out” perspective, recognizing that the people and culture that make up an organization define parameters for how the brand can be credibly perceived from the outside.  What is new is the increasing number of channels that brands now have to express themselves.

With all of these new channels, we risk losing sight of the brand characteristics that matter most to customers and to the business. As with any marketing or branding effort, we need to be thoughtful and strategic about how to humanize the brand in a way that is relevant to the customer and to the business’s goals.  Showcasing the wacky personalities behind the brand may be memorable and authentic, but it may not be relevant or work in support of the business’ overall goals.

An effective “human” brand is built on a deep understanding of the real people that are its customers.  It focuses on what the customer desires, needs, and values, and even on their foibles.  It is by understanding the customer as a real person that brands can engage in authentic, meaningful conversations.