On Brands Being Human

Very often in the business of branding we talk about several ideas and concepts that explore the idea that brands can be human.

We have projection techniques in consumer research that helps consumers understand our brands. We have brand archetypes that help us define them, and we use words like “identity”, “personality”, “tone of voice”, “philosophy” and “purpose” in helping define our brands. I do believe that this is one of the most versatile and powerful ideas in branding, as it allows us to make a lot of difficult concepts easy to understand and also gives us a clarity on what we set out to achieve.

But I also believe this is the most abused concept in brand building.

In sticking with the analogy of people, the reason is simple: The most interesting humans are not those who define who they are and then shove their values and personality down the throat of the people around them. They define who they are, and live by those values. And that’s certainly something that brands can learn from people.

So, the next time you are making your marketing plans or brand campaigns, don’t seek to remind people what your values are. Rather, seek to live by them in everything you do so that your audience can understand it for themselves.


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