I popped along to a very interesting talk at The Museum of Brands with Dean Aragon, CEO of Shell Brands International. Dean discussed his experiences of what it takes to humanise a brand and shift brand perception, so I thought I’d share my key takeaways from this fascinating talk!
Think of a brand as a person
Why do we connect with some friends over others? You may choose to hang out with this person, or they may simply be one of the many names in your Facebook list of friends that you don’t really pay attention to (note to self, do some culling). But we will give the most time to those we have the most in common with, because we share the same values and enjoy the same things and those bring us closer. Although we may not acknowledge it, we treat brands the same way.
Embrace continuous development
Humans are constantly learning and adapting to their ever-changing environment, and a brand must do the same. Avoid staying stuck in a rut, be ahead or on top of the game, be a future thinker and doer, a trail blazer and trend setter. Be thoughtful and meaningful. Shout loud about your moral code, put it in action so it is impossible for customers to ignore. Prove you stand for something; wow what an overwhelming list!
Be loud and proud about your purpose
A brand cannot be and do everything but finding purpose is a good place to start. We connect with brands that relate to us or have a purpose that we can buy into, something that is becoming increasingly important as we are all starting to give more of a damn about the world we live in and our own impact on society and the environment. Being aware of what’s going on in the world and what challenges your customers are dealing with on a daily basis is vital in opening conversations and building connection. As the saying goes – walk the walk don’t just talk the talk! Your brand is only a commodity if you sell it as such, it can’t be preferred if it’s not differentiated enough. It’s the same as when we pick our friends or life partners. They stand out to us for a reason.
Write a story together
A brand can’t speak to everyone, what a waste of time, energy and resource that would be (yet so many try to, especially when it comes to price point marketing). Customers today are much more interested in the ‘why’. Tell me why you do what you do! Why should I care? Why is it relevant to me? Focusing on a particular theme gets customers talking, discovering and innovating with you, and they become a part of the brand narrative. Being in the story together, writing the future together, means the brand can become a source of relevant relief through a constantly shouting digital world.
So, when it comes to engaging and communicating with our audience let’s not separate them into B2C and B2B, how about shifting our focus on B2H – business to humans. Let’s package personal connections off in as many different ways we can think of, building themes for the long term that will see brands engage with their audience making them part of the story and relevant AF!