Time for brands to reconnect

Brands have forgotten their audiences are real people, not just segments and demographics. It’s time to fix things by acting, speaking, looking, and most importantly thinking human.

Brands have forgotten their audiences are real people, not just segments and demographics. It’s time to fix things by acting, speaking, looking, and most importantly thinking human.

The age old saying ‘you’re only ever talking to one person’ has been taken to new extremes recently.

As brands look to personalise their marketing, they are at risk of forgetting about their audience as they focus too much on the tech involved. Which is awkward, because that’s not really very personal, is it?

Think of Mark Zuckerberg sitting in front of Congress as an example of the risks brands can run if technology and data become disconnected from the human experience.

Back to the beginning

Every company was created to solve a specific human problem. In doing so, success is determined by your ability to meet your audience’s human wants, needs and values.

  • Basic physical human needs – the targets of marketing campaigns are likely to have these met, but it matters to them that others have help where needed.
  • Psychological human wants – friendship, community, entertainment, laughter.
  • Pragmatic wants – such as leadership, travel, commerce and trade. 
  • Values are of equal importance to audiences, and a necessity for brands to consider. Decency, fairness, honesty, family – neglect these and your audience will struggle to connect with your brand.

They prioritise what ordinary people, their audience, care about. Not the latest technologies or the rest of their industry. Do this, and the benefits will follow.

Heineken, KFC and Sanofi are brilliant examples of taking a human approach. Heineken’s profits are up, by the way.

Beyond understanding the needs, wants and values of their audiences, what else can brands do to turn this approach into practical action?

Think human in your corporate ethos and strategy.

Act human in your corporate behaviour, both in and outside the organisation.

Speak human: in your language, and tone of voice. Avoid corporate-speak, use words that make you approachable.

Look human: not just in your brand, but in your entire approach to visual storytelling. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video (with subtitles) can be worth plenty more…

Ask 

  • What human problem was your business set up to solve?
  • How big is the gap between what you claim and what you deliver?
  • Do you speak the way your audience speaks?
  • Are you telling powerful stories with images or just words? 

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