As Dan Pallota said, “the brand is everything, and everything is a brand”. The brand is an umbrella for everything the company stands for and what it does, it is an organizing principle so ubiquitous at a general level – companies, products, people – that it has been forced to generate an extensive glossary of subcategories and varieties. There are “public brands” (civic institutions), “private labels” (private labels), “black brands” (those that are opaque), “corporate brands” (representing companies), “product brands” (representing companies’ products), “brand extensions” (new products from existing brands), “personal brands” (representing individuals), and so on. Even now, the so-called “Lifestyle brand” is emerging… As if there was only one style to live life in!

Whatever we call it, there is no brand until it earns the right to have an open and honest relationship with customers, even with society. This is the way to build trust without which it will be impossible to survive.

The idea of “brand” focuses on a whole constellation of feelings that a company can generate in people, far beyond the functionality of its products. At its core, branding implies a process of humanization, imbuing companies with personalities.

Organizations have souls, just as men have souls

We must instill humanity in business if we want to build relationships. Organizations are made up of people, and the soul is something that belongs to humans. A company with soul earns the virtue of being relatable and thus improving its connection with people. But today, the more we think of it as a “brand”, the more necessary it is that its proposal coincides with what society expects of it, with an active role in the protection of its environment, collaborating with everyone and innovating in the public interest. It is precisely the brand activism that I described a few weeks ago that is evident.

But if companies are starting to show up and act more like people, the opposite is also true. Anyone can become a brand thanks to digital media and social networks, which are cheap and powerful. Now people also act as brands, and expose themselves in the digital world trying to convey personal meaning. They even dare to enter the business world despite the fact that, sometimes, they have no other brand than a photo book . The fact is that notoriety alone is not enough to build a brand.

Brands as people

Brands are starting to realize that they can no longer act like the faceless logos they once were. Now they need to transform themselves into a person who responds to their values and personality, who is approachable and has an opinion. Brands need to make an effort to engage with consumers and learn to listen in order to establish a two-way dialogue. They need a face and voice that can fully express their proposition and sit next to customers.

4 Ways Towards Brand Humanity

  1. People aren’t perfect, neither is branding. No one likes to relate to a perfect person. Equally, no one wants to associate with a perfect brand. It’s unattainable, it’s ethereal, it’s unreal. Consumers today crave transparency and sincerity, nothing is more transparent than being yourself, flaws and all.

  2. Love is to branding what advertising is to sex
    . It’s easy to attract a new lover, but it’s not so easy to get them to stay. Think about your brand to build love. Thanks to branding you can create long-term relationships, defining and enhancing what you represent, establishing the basis for a relevant dialogue between the two parties. Branding goes far beyond a fancy website or a designer product. The customer wants to be seduced or will go with someone else.
  3. Reinforce what you stand for. Most long-term relationships have some milestone attached to them. Anniversaries, first dates, first kiss, etc. They are bases that facilitate the bond between two people. The brand can also create these kinds of bonds with customers… Or do you no longer remember your first iPhone? When you treat your brand like a person, it’s easy to identify the small nuances that will create a quick connection.
  4. Project inwards. All of the above will be useless if you are not able to start from within, being transparent and valuing employees. It is important to work on internal alignment, ensuring the coherence of behaviours in line with what the brand represents.

The relationship between organizations, brands, and people has always existed. Now it’s more important than ever to understand that the business of business is relationships. In this situation, the focus inevitably shifts to people, for which it is essential to show themselves as such.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward®

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