Be More Human.

If people talked to you the way brands talk to you, you would probably demand a restraining order (or download another ad-blocker!)

Yet (most) brands behave as if they are the centre of the universe, they are above the standards and values that many of us hold dear and that they have every right to take what is ours (our data) and still demand more from us (our custom).

The martech and adtech industry has boomed over the last few years, promising silver bullets left right and centre to marketers desperate to make sense of the rapidly changing world. The technology and data is indeed becoming ever more advanced at segmenting audiences into increasingly niche groups. Allowing brands to target these audiences directly with the promise of increased efficiencies and effectiveness.

Marketing and advertising technology is here to stay and that’s a good thing — when used correctly — but not when it becomes THE thing that marketers obsess over.

Performance markerting has become almost the norm now and measuring what you do is obviously critically important. But a successful performance has to be earned and not extracted. Playing the numbers game is not going necessarily deliver versus the objectives or be sustainable in the long term.

So why do so many marketers obsess over numbers? Obsess over people! Your people! The people who you want to listen to what you have to say, share in the thing you’re doing, tell their mates about you and ultimateluy buy what you have created for them. But this is easier said than done.

One relatively simple way to do this starts by reframing how a brand perceives itself and then how it might behave.

If a brand were to perceive itself as a real life human (much like real life human brands) rather than objects or intangible services the response they get may improve significantly.

A brand could try modelling itself off a person who their audience already respects. Anyone who shares similar values to your brand and attracts an audience desirable to the brand.

Could be the Kardashians. Could be Ronaldo. Could be Tony Robbins.

People who inspire us and make us sit up and pay attention tend to have a set of beliefs they hold dear that provide a clear purpose or direction in their life. They have principles they live by and daily practices that demonstrate their principles and beliefs through action. They are consistent and passionate and authentic. All of this creates a gravitational pull that attracts others who share their beliefs and worldview.

Brands can do the same. (Most) brands were created for a reason. A reason that was bigger than themselves, served a need and solved a problem. Therefore most brands have inherent value — their purpose and principles— that they can bring to life for people in ways beyond their direct product or service — through daily practices (experiences).

  • Purpose / passion
  • Principles
  • Practices

It’s not new and it certainly isn’t revolutionary but why is it that more brands don’t develop a similar structure / framework…?

We are in an era where consumers have more control than ever before. More choice, more distraction, less attention and less forgiveness too when it comes to brands. An era where knowing someone’s digital behaviour does not mean you instatly know their human motivations.

So, as society becomes increasingly digital, it is up to us as marketers to become increasingly human.