We believe one of the most important things for any brand to be is ‘real’.
If you’re wondering how to to humanise your brand, you’re not alone, robot friend. It can feel particularly frustrating when you (yes, you, the human marketer!) spends time and energy on a marketing campaign, only for it to end up feeling like a Twitter bot shouting about your company.
Perhaps you’re working with stock images, instead of real photos of your team and the stuff you do. Maybe you’re struggling to engage with your customers online, and you’re not quite sure where you’re going wrong.
One pitfall when marketing a brand is the risk of boring people to death. You might feel like what you’re selling isn’t special, but there’s a creative way to market anything.
Now that brands are mingling with their customers online every single day, it’s important for you to both ‘blend in’ and stand out. You don’t want to be the kind of corporate company killing Twitter or Facebook. You want to be one of the normals.
So, how do you do it?
#1 Target human emotions
Although that title might sound like an evil robot’s plan, it’s a credible angle.
Take this corporate company, for example. Tasked with creating an advertising video about themselves, they could have swayed to the usual kind of flat, uninteresting video campaign. Instead, they made something sharp, funny, and, ultimately, real.
Another brand that hits hard with emotional triggers is John Lewis. Their Christmas adverts – now a British TV phenomenon – are always led by emotion, and that’s what impacts upon their consumers.
It was revealed in a 2015 documentary that when a John Lewis advert first airs live, their marketing team is in the office ready to respond to their customers online. When Twitter and Facebook blow up with activity, they’re ready and poised to talk, engage, and jump into conversations with consumers.
By using ’emotion’ as a hook in your online brand promotion, you’ll increase engagement and give humans the kind of warm, fuzzy feelings they crave in an interaction.
#2 Write real, not robotic
If you don’t already have a blog, get one. Next, make sure you write like a living person with layers and a personality. It seems harder than it looks, and not everyone has a ‘writer’s pen’, but if you’re talking about something you know, that you’re passionate about, this will translate.
The same goes for your social media promotion. The Twitter account for Google UK Business has thousands of followers and a lot of products to push. They opt for the dry (read: boring) approach to selling and marketing.
In contrast, the Twitter account for the literary publisher Canongate Books also has a lot of products to sell, but a totally different way of promoting on social media.
Speaking like a human sounds obvious, but it’s a lost art online. It’s estimated that we’re being shown up to 5,000 adverts every day, offline and online. If you’re going to be 1 in 5,000, make your marketing stand out with humour, intelligence, and a personality.
#3 Ditch the stock
Stock photos and videos don’t engage people. They’re so obviously stock. Even politicians are now using video stock in their ads, and being exposed for it. Nothing beats real, alive-and-kicking photography and videography.
One of our clients needed a video for their new personal brand. For her first video, it was a simple 1 minute exercise routine, and it allowed potential customers to see her doing the exercise, rather than watching a stranger.
It might not have been as polished or perfect as stock, but it’s instantly humanised her brand.
#4 Create brand ambassadors
One thing these humans – I mean, us humans – like to do is form relationships and share all of our lovely experiences with others. A good way to humanise your brand is to engage directly with your consumers. Chat, offer help, comment, like, join in the buzz, deliver great content, be real.
Remember, engaging people using a real, human brand will help sell whatever you’re selling with much more ease.
While you build relationships with people, they’ll shout and share your stuff for you! Netflix is on the ball with engagement and brand ambassadors.
You can check out some more specific guidelines for great social media engagement here. Know that it takes time to build relationships, just as it does in real life, but the benefits are worth it. Real humans with real positive commentary is priceless.
#5 Stay fresh and reactive
The reason Netflix and Canongate Books do so well online is that they keep their followers up to date with ‘real’ moments. A dog in the office – hurrah! A brand new and highly-anticipated show is finally streaming – great Gatsby, yes! People connect with these moments. A lot of brands are so flat in their marketing; you forget there’s a real human at the other end of the keyboard.
A quick Instagram snap about some work-in-progress is exactly the type of thing we try to do, when possible.