Your Brand Is Your People!

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Personal interactions are so important in the age of social media and participatory communication. Only a humanized business can survive.

Brands aren’t the same as products. Logos and taglines, for example, are not brands. A brand is an emotional experience. Customers must feel a connection to something. Changing a name, logo, font, or colour does not accomplish this. The underlying emotion is what makes the difference.

A brand provides both physical and emotional benefits to its customers. Humanizing brands allows them to stand out from the competition. This is the standard procedure (it’s the same for people, so if you can figure out what makes people, people, you can figure out what makes brands, brands).

Starbucks, Apple, and many other brands are highly humanized where people matter and employees are empowered and encouraged to interact on a human level with consumers.

The book, “The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage” stated that businesses have moved through a series of transformations over the past several hundred years.

  • A commodity business charges for undifferentiated products.
  • A goods business makes money by selling unique, tangible items.
  • You are paid for the services you provide in a service business.
  • An experienced business charges for the feeling customers get by engaging it.
  • “A transformation company makes money by charging customers (or “guests”) for the benefits they get from spending time there.”

The importance of people in branding continues to rise. We are in an era where the brand, the people behind it, and the company’s product, make the humanization of the company a top priority.

There are three levels to humanizing a brand:

  • The first level is mere identity — a brand can be identified and experience can be accumulated because there is a unique name and unique visual style.
  • The second level is clarity — when identity actually delivers messages and brand communications are there to clarify what the brand does and what it’s offering is all about. It is possible as well that this clarity has emerged over a long time.
  • The third level is personality. If a brand has developed values and purpose and it does practice them coherently then personality will form, relations with people will be developed and loyalty will emerge.

At their core, brands are lifeless objects that are given ‘life’ by integrating them with human characteristics and personalities to make them more relatable. Otherwise, Evian would be just another water, Mercedes would be just another car, iPhone would be just another smartphone, and Pizza Hut would be just another pizza place. Features of a product can be easily copied and replicated. The way people interact with the brand is what keeps them coming back.

If a brand has a set of values, follows through on its promises, and most importantly if it lives by those values and communicates them clearly, then a truly strong and deep connection will emerge with the customers.

The market is communicating with you about what it expects from you.

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