Conveying Authenticity and Effectively Humanizing a Brand
Humanizing a brand is a pretty smart idea – by doing it, marketers can quickly get the attention of their target market, increase brand loyalty and influence purchase intention.
So should we all just add a mustache to our brand logos?
Generally speaking, that might work since brands with an easily identifiable gender tend to make more money and be viewed more favorably by consumers, but I want to talk about a different personality dimension – sincerity.
Sincerity, or brand authenticity, is key to humanizing a brand and doing it right is not as straight forward as one may think. In other words – brand authenticity is hard to convey.
Let’s dive into why and how to effectively build and maintain brand authenticity:
Topics covered in this post:
The main pitfall of humanizing a brand
As most of us know, brands aren’t in fact human. Given that brands aren’t human, they don’t actually have feelings and beliefs, rather – they were created to sell/provide a service.
Because, as consumers, we know this, it’s hard for marketers to “convince” us that a brand has a distinct personality.
It’s not enough to write a Facebook post on the brand fan page and add a laughing-out-load emoji to the text to convey that the brand “thinks” something is funny. People seeing it can easily attribute that emotions to the human person working for the brand and writing the post rather than to the brand itself.
If that happens it basically means no real connection will be made between the consumer and the brand => No real connection means no uplift in brand loyalty or purchase intention => No uplift means waste of efforts.
For people to relate and connect with a brand, marketers essentially need to build an authentic personality for their brand – understand the components of authenticity and utilize them correctly in order for a brand to feel real and sincere to its audience.
Here’s how you do it:
The 4 components of brand authenticity:
1. Be consistent
Consumers need to be able to feel like they’re communicating with the same brand no matter the channel or time.
This doesn’t mean you need to post the same content on your blog, Facebook fan page and LinkedIn company page. Just like we, as people, express different aspects of our personality on different channels, brands can as well but the underlying values and voice have to be consistent.
Consistency is also about maintaining the same voice over time. The brand voice cannot change whenever the social media manager for the brand is replaced with a new one, stability over time is imperative for consumers to connect with the brand.
2. Be unique
The factors that differentiate a brand from it’s competitors (values, offerings, target market, voice) are the building blocks of the authentic brands.
People who tend to conform to their respective groups are viewed as inauthentic because they do not have anything special about them. Brands are judged similarly.
Brands that do not innovate, but rather follow and essentially copy their competitors will have a harder time trying to connect with their audience because there would be no way for that audience to differentiate them from the others in that space.
3. Be reliable
This should be a no-brainer for brand marketers – if you want people to trust your brand and view it as credible, you need to be reliable. Keep promises, answers comments and messages and give timely support/assistance to those who encounter product or service issues.
You also need to be truthful – own up to mistakes and compensate. Brands that fail this tend to be harshly criticized and shamed, so be mindful of how you handle your reputation and have a plan ready beforehand.
4. Be genuine
This is likely the hardest aspect of authenticity for brands to adopt and maintain because it essentially means being real or non-artificial, which is kind of hard to do since we’ve already established that brands are in fact not real.
But it is possible…
Being genuine is about communicating naturally, conveying emotions that relate to the core of your brand values and putting the needs of your customers before your own.
The last part of the above sentence is crucial and many marketers still get it wrong.
For instance, if you want to convey that you care about your customers, there is a big difference between saying: “I care about you” and saying: “What can I do for you?”. The first puts the company first while the latter focuses on the customer.
Remember this, and when going over content produced in your brand’s name, look for those times where you (or your team) got it wrong.
An easy way to make sure your content writers, marketers and social media managers are getting it right is educating them and putting them in the right mindset – Make sure they know that they serve the customer not the company, that their job is not to market the company but to bring the company to the attention of those who need its services.
To sum up…
In order to humanize your brand effectively your messaging has to be aligned across channels and over time, your brand has to be easily differentiated from it’s competitors, you have to keep promises made to customers and followers and you have to train employees to really care about your customers so they sound genuine when communication with them directly or via content.
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