Foreword Online

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How to Humanize Your Brand

Posted by admin on 2/25/13 10:00 PM
Topics: social media, college store customer service, Marketing to Students

The following excerpt is from an article written by Pam Moore, CEO / Founder of Marketing Nutz, LLC, and published on Moore offers a great perspective on how to effectively communicate with your customers and steps you should take to make sure that voice is authentic. Below, you'll find five of her main points. View the full article for 15 more suggestions that will help you build your brand even further.

Your customers are human. Your partners are human. Your employees are human. Even your social media fans and followers are human.

So answer this question… why are you talking to them like they are a robot who wants to read your corporate speak?

Your audience wants to see you, hear you and understand you. They want you to inspire them to connect and engage with you. They want you to help them achieve their goals and objectives. So tell me, are you doing these things?

Humanizing your brand is a requirement, not an option if you want to survive in business today. Yes, you can put brand humanization on hold. However, every day you lose is a day you could be building relationships, nurturing friendships, establishing and earning the respect of powerful brand evangelists who will shout from a mountain top how wonderful you and your brand are.

Don’t wait. The time is now. Here are several tips to help you humanize your brand starting today:

Have a personality.

Knowing who you are is obviously key to having a brand personality. If you don’t know what your brand personality is then you better figure it out. Who are you? What are you? Are you serious? Are you funny? Are you a combination of both? What is the tone of your conversations? Tone of your educational material.

Social media is going to open everything up for everyone to see. If you have one personality online and another when a customer calls your support center, it is going to become quite apparent. Nail this in the early stages and it will become an asset to you forever.

Speak in your customers language.

Delete the corporate mumbo jumbo speak. Social media is not a billboard for your 1995 corporate collateral. Speak in a tone, words and rhythm your customers, partners and social community can understand. Use language that inspires them and connects them to you and your brand.

Stop the interruption marketing.

Social media is not broadcast entertainment. You audience is going to see your self fulfilling broadcast as an interruption to their discussion. Build the relationships and earn the right to communicate with them.

Share information that brings them value, not just helps you increase your traffic. The best social businesses listen more than they talk. Listen, watch and learn from the conversations you see and hear online. You’ll then know better how to engage in a way that brings value.

Show us your community manager.

If you have a community manager or a team of community managers representing your brand let us know who they are. Show us their faces. Tell us what their personal profiles are if they are online themselves and are comfortable doing such. The more we can connect with the people of your brand the easier it will be to build relationships.

Encourage your audience to be human.

If you only speak in corporate speak your audience will either turn you off or will begin to speak the same way to you. How many times have you seen a brand only speak corporate? When you look at their Twitter or Facebook conversations, they are far from human. Because the brand isn’t sharing their human side, their community isn’t either. Encourage your audience to engage, laugh, be funny. Let them share opinions even if they differ from yours.

Strike an emotional chord.

Emotional brands are the brands that are building real relationships in the social ecosystem. Make me laugh. Make me cry or make me mad. Do something that makes me think different, be different. Inspire me to do more, be more and leverage you, your team or your products and services to do such. The more you can connect with your audience, the better you will be at understanding what emotional chords will work best with them.

Share photos and videos of your team being human.

This is one of the best ways to become a human brand. Share the moments that you are human. If you have a company party or picnic, take some photos and share them. If your team goes on a team building mission or hike, let your audience know ahead of time they are going. Ask them who they think will win the contest. Share the fun and serious moments your team has offline working to help your clients meet their goals. If you have a team meeting, share a couple photos of the team brainstorming at the white board or enjoying themselves with a bag of candy or popcorn. You’ll be amazed at how these simple little shares of your personal side will help build relationship with the people in your community. Try it, it works!

Have a plan.

I can’t write about something as important as humanizing your brand without reminding you how important it is to have a plan. Set goals, objectives and tactics to get there. Know how you are going to measure results. Know what your key performance indicators are and what success looks like to you now, tomorrow, a year from now and three years from now. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Find more advice on humanizing your brand here. How do you maintain a human voice through your marketing? Share your strategies with other college stores in the Comments section.

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