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Humanise your brand

Engaging with your audience is extremely important for your brand and marketing. You need to build a very special and also memorable connection with them in a way that they then trust you immensely, just like the one you may have with your spouse, a close work colleague, best friend or even your dog.

We had family that once lived in Fuerteventura and every year for around 10 years we travelled over to visit. It became our second home and every year, without fail, we always went for dinner at a beautiful Italian restaurant situated in the harbour town of Corralejo. The food is amazing and the service equally as good. Even though we only had one meal a year there, the staff always recognised us and made a special effort to make us feel welcome. It was all the little things that added to our experience; things like holding the door open when we arrived, sliding our chairs back before we sat down, asking us how our flight was and always giving us complimentary appetisers before we ordered our food. Whenever anyone asks where to eat in Corralejo, we would always recommend a visit. The restaurant is called Taverna Fogalera, in case you wondered.

To capture that magic and apply it to your business everyday, big or small, is very difficult. The truth is that when it comes to your brand – the starting point for most audiences is a mixture of feelings and a fair amount of contradiction too.

There are brands we’re all remarkably fond of too; they arouse something in us that makes us go back time and time again. But why?

It’s difficult to understand. The solution can’t be easily packaged up and sold, or answered by simply dropping key words into a category column on a marketing spread sheet. A true connection – a deep level of affection, loyalty and passion – tends to come from a mix of something that is more versatile.
Creating that kind of feeling is really hard, but it can be achieved. Below are some useful tips to help you on your way. These tips will give you a good chance of forming emotional connections with your audience:

01. Celebrate your roots
If you have a home, then make some noise about it. It doesn’t matter what you sell or do, if you have a strong sense of place people will warm to you. Its true authenticity. Whether it’s the brand strategy for a National Laundry Co, or a refreshed identity for our heart warming Local Hospital Charity – roots will give you strength. And you can increase engagement by injecting more and more passion into your story.
It’s a simple human instinct: Love brings about more love. Wherever you’re from – show how proud and passionate you are of your roots and people will show pride and passion towards you.

02. Tell a great story
You hear this bandied around by agencies all the time, but it is true. Leading brands tell a great story. Stories are the easiest way to get a complicated message across, and one that resonates with people and is remembered. Find a compelling and timeless story and build your brand identity around it. When we repositioned the brand for the one of the regions leaders in commercial laundry – we let their story do the hard work. ‘The Leaders in Laundry’, this simple statement of personifies everything about the brand and doesn’t need any explanation. If you ever identify that your audience is struggling with your brand – try telling a simpler story.

03. Define your purpose
If you only exist to make money, your audience will smell it a mile off. We all hate a money grabber right? It’s off putting knowing you’re just being used to pay for someone’s palace somewhere.  You need to define a purpose that goes deeper than just the traditional commercial drivers. Trying to make the world a better place. Helping the disabled. Making the best food in Town. It doesn’t matter – as long as it’s true and simple.

When we created the refreshed brand for Southampton Hospital Charity, we managed to get their purpose down to just a few words ‘transforming lives, together”. If you find the right agency, it can be very simple and you’ll reap the rewards.

You can’t please everyone of course, and there may be some staff, or customers, that don’t agree with your purpose. With those individuals, you need to be strong and confident enough to dismiss them because, those that join and support you tend to reward you for it. This doesn’t have a lot to do with design per se, or being bold for the sake of it. It’s more about understanding how the human mind works, adopting psychological methods within your communications and being more empathetic in your approach.

We could go into a lot more detail here by offering examples of brands that celebrate their roots and that tell a great story, but you will already know who they are. The one thing to bear in mind with branding is the importance of humanising it. Make the change from just being a corporate entity into something that has more human-like attributes.

We’re not here to teach you to suck eggs, you know your business inside and out, but ultimately humanising your communications is what good branding is all about. It’s a lot easier to feel affection for a person, than it is a business.