As a small business, one of your strongest selling points is the fact that you can provide a personal touch. Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses fail to recognize this point of differentiation and they squander the opportunity to set themselves apart from the competition.
Is it time for you to breathe some life into your brand?
Practical Tips for Humanizing Your Brand
Every business approaches branding from a unique perspective. Some companies have large branding budgets and experienced marketing experts who know how to handle all of the different challenges small businesses face on this front. Other companies are totally new to the idea of branding and take things as they come – feeling their way through the different obstacles.
Despite different circumstances and experiences, there’s one mistake that seems to be made over and over again. Independent of other factors, so many small businesses invest in lifeless branding that’s generic and unrelatable.
If you want your business to stand out, you have to buck the trend of commercialized branding and humanize your company. In other words, start treating your brand as if it is a living, breathing individual with unique talents, preferences, and opinions. In doing so, you’ll develop a brand that people can connect with – not just a brand that customers buy things from.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few practical suggestions for breathing life into your brand.
Showcase the People Behind the Brand
There are a lot of branding gurus and so-called marketing experts who won’t like this statement, but the fact of the matter is that nobody cares about your mission statement, logo, or core values.
On the surface, these elements don’t really add any relatable value to your brand. What your customers are really interested in is the people you have running the business behind the scenes. They want to know who comprises the business and what their stories, passions, and experiences are.
One way you can appeal to your audience is by showcasing your team on your website. This is something Elevated, a digital marketing agency, does exceptionally well. Each team member has a page – such as this one featuring Danny DeMichele, the founder and CEO – that explains who they are and what interests they have.
Have a Sense of Humor
Do you know what most customers find really unattractive? Corporate branding that’s heavily regulated and passes through dozens of hands before it’s finally approved and passed along to the consumer. It feels cold and unrealistic.
Your customers want to see your brand have a sense of humor, even if it means toeing the line (and occasionally even crossing the line). Brands like Old Spice, Denny’s, and Charmin are good examples.
Directly Engage Your Audience
Thanks to social media, blogging, online chat support, email, and a handful of other touchpoints, brands can engage with customers in real-time with every little effort. Yet even with the infrastructure for one-on-one engagement already established, it’s amazing how many brands still shy away from directly interacting with customers.
You need to make it a point to respond to blog comments, address complaints on social media, write up personalized emails to customers, and quickly respond to support requests. While this may seem like a customer service obligation, it actually has just as much to do with branding.
Treat Your Brand Like a Person
It might feel a little strange at first, but once you start treating your brand as a person, you’ll have trouble picturing it any other way. People want to connect with people, and it should be your goal to establish a brand that resonates on a very human level.
Author: Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer from Renton, WA who regularly covers tech, business, marketing, and social media. Follow her on Twitter.