30th May 2013| by Paul Findlay

We’re all human after all


The idea of humanising brands is becoming a lot more relevant as time goes by. I’ll tell you why… because it works!

Without wanting to blow any trumpets (12 mighty trumpets sound), we’ve been doing this for some time now with our ‘Brands to life’ approach. It’s a big part of our daily creative process so we thought now was a good time to share some simple ideas that could really help your brand or business.

Remember that behind the veil of business we are just people trying to communicate with other people.

Think of your brand as a person that needs to gather and keep friends along the way. The same theory applies with our personal friends in the real world. Just because they’re your friend, doesn’t mean it’s an unconditional friendship. You need to earn their respect, invest in them and build trust to keep them.

Here’s a couple of examples we prepared earlier:

Person A:
Smart but flashy, thinks they’re pretty funny. You can’t help but get the impression they’re always on the lookout to progress in some way, or to make a quick buck.

Person B:
Smart, down to earth, always entertaining, don’t take themselves too seriously – yet they are still successful.

Person C:
Just like everyone else – a real me too, never really takes a risk, plays it safe in every way… Yawn, I think I’ll stop right here.

Person D:
Inconsistent, unreliable, change their mind constantly, they never remember you, they don’t know what they want…. pretty flakey.

One of these four models (of course there are many more) could be a similar to the way your brand is currently communicating. I’m guessing that Person C is probably the closest to your current brand (but quietly hoping it’s not), I know which one I would prefer to interact and spend my time/money with. BTW a mixture of these can be even worse, as you’ll come off a scatty schizophrenic.

Anyway enough of that, you get my drift – keep the below in mind and it will be almost impossible not to connect with your customer.

Know who you are. The only time we have problems making a decision is because we are not clear on our own values. Work them out, distill them, make them interesting, make them authentic, then unleash your incredibles!

Be confident. Say it like you mean it, then say it again so it shows you really believe in it. Lead the way. Show some insight and be intuitive. Be insightful. Research can be good sometimes to gather customer insights to develop ideas from, but be careful with researching creative ideas. Some great ideas become mediocre when tested in large groups, as people tend to gravitate to safer, less risky options. These are the watered down ideas that upset no-one and usually get through. Do you think Steve Jobs researched the concept of the iPhone? I don’t think it would’ve made it through research. Believe in your own intuition and ideas and be very careful about how you choose to research them.

Be generous. Give back a little something to your customers, share things, give them stuff. They’ll love it and in-turn connect with you more.

Lose the desperation. People can smell it and it’s not pretty. Brands that are going the ‘hard sell’ lose their brand connection with the consumer. Brands that are educating and entertaining connect on a much deeper level.

Open your eyes and ears. Look and listen to what’s happening around you. This way you can react quickly (and more importantly in a relevant way), with social media or your chosen media channel/s.

Show your emotions. Emotional connections are much harder to break than rationale ones, that’s why we build emotional connections. This is the core of all branding. Show them who you are, don’t be shy, they may just like you.

When in doubt just remember, we’re all human after all.


Paul Findlay
Paul is the Creative Director at Brands to life® with over 25 years experience building brands. He has founded two of Melbourne’s most successful independent agencies with many highlights along the way including ‘BRW Fast 100’ and ‘B&T Agency of the Year’. Paul creates memorable and authentic brand experiences through engaging Strategies, Identities, Visual Languages and Brand Stories, whatever it takes to breathe new life into brands.