We humans receive thousands of marketing messages and images a day, from ads on Facebook to billboards to food labels at the grocery store.
With all of those marketing communications buzzing around us, it makes sense that we ignore almost all of the marketing we see. It also means that, as a company, your branding and messaging needs to make people pay attention.
And one of the best ways to do that is to make your brand more human — to both show your human side and to appeal to the humanity in your potential customers.
If you understand the following four things about humans, it will help your brand stand out in the crowded marketplace.
One of the fundamental ways to create a more human brand is to deeply understand your customers, a.k.a. to empathize with them.
In another post, I wrote about using empathy to create packaging that your customers will love.
In that post, I highlighted the 4 steps to developing empathy for your customers:
- Notice patterns
- Brainstorm for solutions
By following these 4 steps, you will get to know your customers deeply and be equipped with the knowledge you need to create a brand based on their feelings, wants, fears, and needs.
Customers know when a brand “gets” them and when it doesn’t. Even if they don’t register this knowledge on a conscious level, they will be more likely to gravitate to your brand if it feels familiar and trustworthy to them.
Once you’ve developed a rich understanding of your customers, you will be able to tap into their emotions to evoke the response to your brand that you want.
When it comes to choosing what to buy, your customers’ limbic system, also known as their “lizard brain,” makes most of the decisions. While we’d all like to believe that we make decisions rationally, in truth, most of the time, our emotions are in control.
Your customers’ limbic systems are heavily influenced by subtle brand elements like colors, shapes, images, and language. That means that each of these elements must be seriously considered and crafted to evoke the emotional response you want in your customers.
Most people think a brand is a reflection of the business it represents. That’s only partially true — while your brand does (or should) be a reflection your business, the real value of your brand is the perception it creates in your customers’ minds and emotions.
Craft your brand with your customers’ emotions in mind, and your business will be far more likely to be remembered and valued.
Your brand colors have a powerful effect on your customers’ emotions. Many studies have shown that colors heavily influence buying decisions.
Different colors mean different things depending on where your customers live and on their experiences, so the idea that certain colors evoke universal emotions is false. However, customers do make buying decisions based on how well your colors fit your brand, so it’s essential that you develop a brand personality and stick to it.
As I just mentioned, one of the best ways to humanize your brand is to create a brand personality and story. Humans want to connect to other humans, and when your brand feels like it is based on a true, meaningful story or set of values, your customers will be more likely to connect to it.
Whenever I begin a design project for a new client, I ask them the following questions:
- What is your story behind why you started this business/product?
- What mood are you trying to convey to your target audience? Is it excitement? Compassion? Edginess?
- What makes your business or product unique?
When you have a good understanding of your business story and values, your brand feels more human to your customers. It becomes more than a brand — instead, it feels like an emotional experience with another human.
If you want your brand to stand out, don’t just focus on the visual elements like your logo and colors. While these elements are extremely important, they’re just part of the experience your customers have with your brand.
Instead, take it a step further and create unforgettable experiences for your customers. These experiences don’t have to be expensive or grand to be remembered.
Consider these examples of brands that created unforgettable experiences for their customers:
When chocolate lovers unwrap a Chocolove bar, they find a secret love poem hidden in the wrapper.
Suja Juice searched for hashtags that showed people weren’t feeling well, like #sick, #momprobs and #lackofsleep, and then reached out to Twitter users to offer a juice delivery.
TD Bank turned ATMS into “Automatic Thanking Machines” that dispensed $20 bills to over 30,000 customers and gave out free trips, roses, and other customized gifts.
Use these examples to inspire you. What can you do to give your customers an unforgettable experience with your brand?
Is your brand human? Do you deeply understand your customers and convey that in your branding? Does your brand connect to your customers on an emotional level? Do you have a clear brand story and personality? Have you created unforgettable experiences for your customers?
Once you accomplish these four things, you will have a human brand that connects to people on a deep, emotional level.
If you’re looking for a designer who can create a human brand that represents your values and story while resonating with your customers, I can help.