Did a really bad – or heartwarming – ad make you sit up and take notice of a brand in a good or bad way?
When a friend shared her bad – or great – experience with a product, did it make you want to buy or not consider it?
Did a cheerful – or cold and lifeless – cashier convince you to buy – or not to buy – an extended warranty??
Emotion drives purchase decisions for us humans.
So the ingenuous thing top brands get right is they priortize – not just pay lip service to – humanizing their brand communication.
Sorry, let me translate that marketing speak to human speak: They prioritize just being a good human being to another human being even when there isn't a human in the scene.
Consumers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value, stay with a brand for an average of 5.1 years vs. 3.4 years, and will recommend brands at a much higher rate (71% vs. 45%)?
Yeah, I wish there were a one-size-fits-all playbook I could send to you. But, humans and brands come in all size and lots of playing fields.
Let's take a quick look at each of these 5 brand examples.
#1 Apple's "Shot on iPhone" campaign
Humanizing your marketing starts with knowing your humans.
Identify the demographics, behaviors and psychographics of your prospect. Tailor your messaging and communication style to connect with them. Then, analyze consumer data and insights to better understand them. Their purchase behavior, preferences and habits. So you can really know their pain and joys. To create more personal, emotionally resonating campaigns.
Apple's "Shot on iPhone" campaign features photos and videos captured by everyday people, which helps to humanize the brand and make it more relatable to its audience.
Apple's ads focus on the personal experience and how its products can improve lives. Not just highlight a product’s features. This connects the brand and person, creating a lasting impression – and value – that Apple places on the human in its technology.
#2 Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign
Humanizing your brand involves a few key elements, including telling your brand story, building relationships with your audience and using emotional in campaigns.
I believe that using the right emotions can also help create a sense of authenticity and credibility that is essential for building trust.
It can help your brand tap into your audience's feelings and connect with them on a deeper level.
Dove’s "Real Beauty" creates a human connection through emotions well. It challenges traditional beauty standards and celebrates the beauty of real women of all ages, sizes and ethnicities. The campaign featured real women in unretouched photographs and videos, showcasing their unique features and encouraging women to embrace their own beauty.
Dove was able to build a strong emotional connection and humanize the campaign fostering trust and loyalty towards the brand.
#3 Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign
A big part of humanizing campaigns is personalizing them in an effective way.
This means tailoring messages and offers to individuals by implementing segmentation strategies and leveraging behavioral triggers. It allows you to create targeted messaging, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
You can double down on customer actions such as abandoned carts or browsing behavior to trigger automated personalized messages and offers.
Coca-Cola was able to build a human connection through personalized content in the "Share a Coke" campaign. This campaign involved replacing the iconic Coca-Cola logo on bottles and cans with popular names and phrases, that connected with people on personal levels.
By tapping into the universal desire for connection and personalization, the campaign resonated with audiences, fostering a sense of emotional connection with the brand just by humanizing the campaign.
#4 Airbnb’s “Live there” campaign
Being authentic with your content is a crucial component of humanizing your marketing campaigns.
Using real people in your campaigns, whether it be through testimonials or user-generated content, can help build trust and credibility with your audience. This approach also allows your audience to see themselves in your brand's messaging, making your campaigns more relatable and personable.
Encouraging user-generated content, such as reviews or social media posts, adds authenticity to your campaigns & creates a sense of community around your brand, helping you build a loyal customer base and differentiate your brand from competitors.
Airbnb's "Live There" campaign tapped into the desire for personalized travel experiences by highlighting the unique and individualized experiences available through real locations listed on its website. It included user-generated content, such as photos and reviews, to showcase the real experiences and connections made through Airbnb, making the campaign super authentic and human.
#5 TOMS “One for One” campaign
Tracking performance is a crucial step in any marketing campaign, and it is no different when it comes to humanizing your campaigns.
Measuring engagement and response is a key indicator of how well your campaign has resonated with your target audience. Tracking conversions and ROI can help you understand the impact of your campaign on your company’s bottom line.
In 2006, TOMS launched its "One for One" campaign with the goal of donating a pair of shoes for every pair purchased to a child in need. The campaign was designed to create a human connection between TOMS' customers and the children who would benefit from their purchases.
The campaign was a huge success, with TOMS donating over 100 million pairs of shoes by 2019. It not only generated significant social impact for the brand but also helped it build a strong emotional connection with its customers, resulting in a loyal customer base that values the brand's social mission. The high ROI of the campaign demonstrates the effectiveness of a human connection approach in driving both social impact and business success.
I have covered five strategies in this blog to help marketers humanize campaigns and yet achieve their marketing goals by understanding their audience, creating an emotional connection, personalizing marketing efforts, fostering authenticity and evaluating success beyond numbers. Try applying these strategies to campaigns regardless of the industry you operate in, and you can also build more meaningful relationships with your customers.
Remember today, we can rely on cutting-edge AI and automation to help us, but let us not forget that we are marketing to humans.