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Humanize Your Brand to Connect with Consumers

Helping your brand stand out from the competition requires thinking outside of traditional marketing tactics. It even requires rethinking marketing as a brand entirely. The most successful businesses have realized they must humanize their brand to connect with consumers. Why – and how does this look? Let’s see!

Where’s the Warmth?

Building a customer-first culture that drives growth and profitability by way of increased market share and consumer retention, requires warmth. If consumers like you, feel that you genuinely like – and care about – them (beyond the money they spend on your products), you’ve won a big part of the loyalty game. Good feelings are contagious after all – and not just when talking about pets:

hashtags around pets

And generating this warmth starts internally. Conduct interviews with stakeholders and evaluate

internal policies, practices and processes relating to customers from a warmth and competence perspective. This will help you identify potential loyalty issues and opportunities. This assessment will form the basis of your brand’s customer experience effort, so being thorough is key.

The Social Psychology of Consumer Insight

This may feel obvious, but many brands will benchmark consumer experience (CX) without consulting consumers. Rather, they’ll base it on what they assume, relying on top selling items or other category-relevant trends at data points. But, these indicators are far too broad to be meaningful, and far too risky to use as a basis for strategic planning.

Inviting customers to participate in your CX assessment is smart, particularly when you pitch it in a way that benefits them. Maybe you offer a discount or some sought-after perk in exchange for this insight.

Either way, the important piece of this puzzle isn’t merely the survey data though, but also the conversation it generates around it – and about your brand and products, specifically, online. Does your brand bring to mind sympathy and neglect? Admiration and loyalty? Contempt and rejection? Or possibly envy and distrust?

Chris Malone shared an example of this in action during his Keynote at NetBase LIVE in New York City.

With more than 8,400 customers providing feedback, Malone worked with a brand to uncover and quantify priorities, perceptions and loyalty drivers. An attitudinal cluster analysis identified five distinct segments of customers, each with differing priorities and expectations.

But overall – and not surprisingly, the perception of a brand’s warmth and competence were highly predictive of customer loyalty. Integrating customer purchase and transaction data was important here (and something businesses can do in NetBase), as it helped quantify the business impact:

impact of warmth and competence on loyalty and why it's key to humanize brand

And this isn’t something brands can expect to spontaneously happen, even to the nicest of businesses. It requires targeted and relevant interaction, powered by social listening.

The Importance of Relevant Human Brand Interactions

The book Malone co-authored, The HUMAN Brand: How We Relate to People, Products & Companies, explores the social psychology behind why we choose companies and brands, and helps put the example above example into context.

The crux of it is this: we make these choices in the same way that we unconsciously perceive, judge, and behave toward one another. So, it follows that brands need to tap into these unconscious – and sometimes conscious – estimations to understand, and potentially reframe, consumer perception. Only then, can brands create a warm, engaging brand/consumer relationship that has a shot at standing the test of time.

Chris elaborates on social analytics’ crucial role in this relationship building exercise here:

Chris Malone talking about social analytics' role in humanizing brands

Offering scalable, trackable and efficient results, brands are able to understand how its target consumers interpret this ‘warmth’ and what indicators are most important to/for them.

Cashing in on Relatable Criteria

Even though there were criteria that resonated across each subset . . .

relatable criteria uncovered in client exercise

The five personalities identified above each required targeted attention to demonstrate that personal touch around varying components:

five personalities identified each required targeted attention, a human touch

A company this laser-focused on CX can expect to experience more consumer recommendations – and enviable consumer retention rates. All because it made it a point to humanize its brand. Not only that, the ROI is exceptional.

“Structural equation modeling confirmed that for every one-point increase in warmth and competence perceptions, customer loyalty increased by .91 points. In addition, for every one-point increase in customer loyalty, annual revenue per customer consistently increased by an average of 12%.”

for every one-point increase in customer loyalty, annual revenue per customer consistently increased by an average of 12 percent

12% increase per customer is certainly something to look into, don’t you agree?

Any brand should seek to replicate these results. Reach out for a demo, and we’re happy to help you get started on exactly that!

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