Can you think of a handful of emails you’ve received just this week that were impersonal and just didn’t feel like the sending company “got it’? Or have you seen any prompts to sign up for newsletters and updates on websites this week that were shouting “SIGN UP!” without a human touch? When was the last time you received an incorrect billing statement or had to speak to someone in customer service at a large Fortune 500 company? Were they conversational, approachable and personal?
These are scenarios that everyone comes across each day. In fact, we’re seeing about three thousand marketing messages each day. It doesn’t take much more than effort and a conversational tone to stand out because the bar is so low.
People Like To Do Business With People Like Them
People are human, and we like to do business with companies that are most like us: human. Humanizing your brand has a long list of rewards and benefits and isn’t difficult to achieve. It’s part brand voice and language, but it’s also putting a spotlight on the people behind the business, as well as communicating how you care for people in your community.
Most brands have some degree of a personable, approachable voice (toss in professional, trustworthy, and a list of other potential attributes) which makes them sound human. A conversational voice can also be achieved through the language your people use.
Human Having Conversations With Humans
Much of my brand persona and voice work involves training the company’s employees to deliver their newly defined brand voice. Many clients suggest we start training the marketing team since all marketing programs and activities need to reflect the brand voice. Makes sense.
While that’s not a bad idea, there’s a better idea: start with people who have direct contact with customers. They are the front line and have the potential to impact each and every customer conversation and exchange – right now. If everyone in the organization isn’t speaking the same language in the same tone, there’s inconsistency and confusion on the part of your customers.
Who gets brand training? Everyone! The front desk, customer service, sales and marketing, obviously, but also the people who greet the UPS driver, send invoices and talk with your bank.
As well as anyone who might attend a summer barbeque where they could potentially talk about their employer.
5 Steps To Humanize Your Brand:
- Ask someone completely unbiased to give you some honest feedback on your brand. How do your marketing messages come across or sound? Can they relate? An audit reveals your starting point.
- Develop a brand persona. Think about some of the brands you like – what is it about those brands that you connect with? What attributes do you want to reflect your brand?
- Create a brand voice filter. If your brand is creative, thoughtful and witty, this is your filter for all messaging, marketing, sales and customer service efforts.
- Connect with your audience. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, you’re in the B2P (business to people or person) business. Look, feel and sound like a person talking to another person.
- Train everyone in the organization.
Hiring a consultant to do some investigative discovery work gives you the benefit of an outside perspective – something no one in the organization has. Audits, customer interviews and other exploratory work can reveal the gap between who you want to be and who your target audience thinks you are.