make (something) more humane or civilized.
give (something) a human character.
When you think about your favorite brand, what comes to mind? Is it a particular product? Or is it a person? I’m willing to bet it’s actually both. That’s because we relate to other people, not products – and the big brands know this. They are tapping into the power of brand humanization, the strategy of giving their brand a human character.
The strategy of giving your brand a human character.
Let’s use Subaru as an example. Subaru doesn’t just sell cars; they sell an adventurous lifestyle. When you think of a Subaru, you probably don’t see just a car. Rather, you see a family camping or skiing or any number of outdoor activities (with a Subaru in the background, of course). And if you visit Subaru’s Facebook page, you’ll undoubtedly see Subaru soliciting people to post photos of their own Subaru adventures.
Brand humanization makes our favorite products and companies more accessible. According to Marketing Nutz, “Humanizing your brand enables you to build a relationship built on trust, authority and human connection that can be felt in the heart.”
I’m a huge advocate of this strategy for small businesses. Let’s look at how you can use brand humanization to connect with your customers.
Be the Face of Your Company. This may seem obvious, but I really can’t emphasize it enough, especially for small businesses. Being small gives you a huge advantage in this area because you can truly be the business (rather than a faceless corporation). Allow your customers to get to know you. Just remember that your personal messages should align with your business culture and values.
Know Yourself. Take some time to really think about who you are and personality you want to project. Are you going for a serious or playful tone? Whatever you decide, make sure it’s in line with your company culture. And don’t take humanization too far. Regardless of your personal style, you should always remain respectful and unbiased and respect your customers’ boundaries (i.e., don’t overshare).
Empower Your Team. If you have employees, give them the freedom to help with your brand humanization efforts. As Forbes explains, “Humanization is about turning employees into goodwill ambassadors, even evangelists, for your brand.”
Of course, the caveat here is that you must set limits on what is acceptable for employees to discuss on social media (e.g., anything divisive like politics or religion). That’s why hiring for the job is essential. Forbes advises. “You want people who are articulate, passionate, comfortable in their own skin and naturally extroverted and generous. Hire right and humanization will a lot easier and more successful.”
How are you employing brand humanization in your marketing strategies?