Today’s world is a digital world. Digital technology in its various forms has been making a great impact on our lives and is also changing the way organizations work across all aspects of the business. Internet and various online business platforms have changed the way of doing work. Though having a huge impact on people across the world, people trust and mostly rely on the businesses that provide them / engage them with an authentic human element.
The longstanding foundations of many consumer-facing businesses (such as service businesses) are built on personal, face-to-face relationships. Today, though, customer engagement is becoming increasingly self-serviced and transaction. People need to get things done while on the go, and companies need to get more done with fewer resources.
We are living in the era of the consumer. An era where all customers have the power to voice their opinions. The rapid rise of technology and social media has changed the playing field by making our lives seemingly easier and more convenient. Today, marketers are using highly sophisticated technologies to combine analytic data with customer insights to dictate marketing. Businesses are being engulfed into this overly hyper-focused marketing strategy in hope to outwit their competition. However, little to their understanding, these marketing campaigns are assassinating the humans in their brand.
The human element of your brand should always remain at the forefront of your marketing strategy and your business’ ethics. Without it, the factors that allow your company to be relatable will no longer be visible. As a result, customers will soon lose interest and will no longer be attracted to exchanging custom. Even though consumer-brand trust is as important as ever, the sad fact is, people, don’t really trust brands. They see corporations as faceless profiteers, a sentiment brought on by tales of corruption in big business, the 2008 financial crisis, and constant bombardment of advertising over the past several decades. Any message that comes from a corporate brand is instantly given extra scrutiny.
There’s a solution for this, and its concept is straightforward (though the execution gets a little trickier). Since people trust other people more than they do brands, all you have to do is make your brand seem a little bit more like a person—you have to humanize your brand.
Here are some practical strategies to help you do so:
- Your brand needs a human voice, and a personality, but it’s hard to assign those qualities to a logo or a corporate name. Instead, try assigning them to an actual personal framework. Come up with a fictional character who represents your brand, and flesh out all the details. Who is this person? What’s their name? How do they dress? What’s their favorite food? What are their likes and dislikes? Are they excitable or calm? Formal or casual? These questions will help you imagine a real personality to serve as your brand’s avatar, and from there it’s easy to slip into that mentality. This is the best way to have to almost literally humanize your brand.
- Show Your Personality-Personality is what makes a brand stand out from the crowd, and you should never be afraid to stand-out. Customers buy from those they like and trust, if your brand has no personality how will these customers relate to you? Showcase your brand personality in your marketing efforts online and offline. Have real conversations with real people to create relationships with these potential customers.
- Engage in conversations. Don’t just post ads to your users; engage them in conversation. Ask them what they like and what they want to see. If they tell you they like one of your posts, thank them for their readership. If you see your audience members commenting on an external thread, jump into the discussion. This shows that you’re paying attention and that you care about more than just one side of the conversation. The more you engage with your users, the more likely they’ll be to see you as a trustworthy, personal entity. When you engage with individuals, you’ll instantly cement those individuals’ loyalties, and you’ll look good to everyone else looking on.
For example to make customer support more human intercom shows the faces of their customer agents who are actually available or might respond to the user to have a conversation. Also, you can have a feedback form on the website to start the conversation and build customer loyalty.
- Introduce Staff Members- Do you know what your customers are searching for on your website? Usually, the most popular page of a website is ‘about us’ or ‘meet the team’. Customers want to know who is behind the brands they love, what skill-sets they boast and what they look like. Simply, customers want to be able to relate to you.
For example, cyberinfrastructure website has a leadership team page to make their customers aware of the brilliant minds behind the brand that make them more credible.
- Always Be Accessible- Make sure customers can easily reach you. Make sure your telephone number, email address, and social networking platforms are easily findable. Each customer has their own preferred platform, you should respect their preferences. Also, keep messaging on the platform the customer contacted you by (e.g. if a customer contacted you on Facebook, they want a response on Facebook).
For example, companies nowadays hire social media experts/ digital marketing experts to entirely handle market outreach channels. These people are always accessible for any type of customer inquiry that might raise through these platforms. Also, a chatbot can also be a good option for companies to be accessible to the customers.
- Never Keep Them Waiting- Customers will want to contact you at a time suited to them and not your business; you must be there to answer these queries. Always answer their queries as soon as possible in a direct and personal manner. Refrain from using automated messages as this will frustrate customers.
- Be funny. Humor has a primal way of connecting us. When we laugh together, we tear down walls and bond with each other—it’s why we’re more likely to laugh when we’re surrounded by people we care about than we are when we’re by ourselves. When you make your users laugh, you show them that you don’t take yourself too seriously. You show them that you enjoy humor just like the rest of us and that you aren’t afraid to set aside the formal professionalism of your brand for just a moment to experience a human moment. Obviously, the type and appropriateness of humor you use will be dependent on your brand, but self-deprecating humor and tongue-in-cheek references both work especially well for audiences. You don’t have to be a consistent comedian, but you have to throw out enough references and asides to keep your audience feeling good about you.
We live in a digital world, but it’s still a world full of humans. That means you need to have strategies in place that make your digital brand look and feel as human as possible. Thankfully, there are some very effective ways to do just that.
Start by finding out where your customers want to engage with you. That means adopting a multi-channel sales approach, providing personalized content, and offering self-service when you can.
It’s also a good idea to spend some time and effort in empowering your employees to make decisions during customer interactions. Then, take the insights that you learn from your customers and share them throughout your organization.