The “Human” Era for Brands

More so than ever, brands are trying to behave and communicate like humans. It all falls in line with an increased effort across the board to get away from the image of being a corporate behemoth and closer to that of a company who values its customers as individuals.

For example, JetBlue recently launched a campaign named “Air on the Side of Humanity” which emphasizes qualities of their service to communicate that they care about people.

Even an agency named “Humanaut” launched with a goal to explore “how brands and technology collide with humans.”

A recent white paper published by Hill-Holiday outlines a number of key traits that so-called ‘human’ companies possess, such as having customer empathy, talking and acting like people, not being boring and empowering individuals to be the brand. Companies that it cites as fitting the bill include Amazon, USAA, Disney, Wegman’s grocery stores and Umpqua Bank.

Why I’m Curious

The “Human” buzzword in respect to brand strategy seems to focus on authenticity and speaking from a consumer perspective. In social, we see that this is more or less a demand from consumers. In a lot of ways, this approach is very tied-in with the concept that social media has revolutionized how brands communicate with their customers. It’s a no brainer that brands who are traditionally much more flexible and edgier quickly adopt this type of messaging. But what about bigger, more buttoned up brands? How long will it take for them to stop refusing to say “sorry” and to start creating more of an honest dialogue with their customers?


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