The Human Touch to Branding
Every organization must have a branding strategy. According to Aytm, branding should include a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand, which will help the organization to achieve its goals. The plan must have a well-defined execution strategy and will affect all aspects of a business. That means every branding strategy must be connected to the emotions, needs and aspirations of customers and must take into consideration the competitive environments.
For many people, branding encompasses a company's logo, the reputation of the business, statements made by the company, how the company interacts with its customers and business partners along with the visuals and the tagline of the company. All these things coalesce to form a company brand.
Of utmost importance is the question of the human touch to branding. What many people keep forgetting is that branding is essentially a collection to the feelings others have towards your business — from the way your customer relation officers greet their customers on the phone or in social media messages and how customers are treated whenever they raise issues. In short, these are the real things that make customers buy from your company and not just because you sell a good product. Anyone can do that.
If branding is a collection of feelings, then it definitely means that there is more to it than all the tech and advertising that many organizations pursue in the name of branding. In other words, they place their premium on technology instead of placing it on people. What companies need to do is to strive to show deep respect for human beings outside and inside the company as well as for the communities in which they live. Instead of concentrating on ‘hi-tech’, companies should concentrate on the concept of ‘high-touch’. It is better to invest in the 'touchy-ness' of the business than in the 'techy-ness' of the brand. Every company must ensure that there is a human touch in their branding strategy. Here are some ways companies can leverage on human touch in their branding strategies:
Brands Need to Listen
Research has consistently shown that the most successful brands are those that listen to the world around them. Companies need to design their products and solutions around the needs of their clients. The need to form a good rapport and have quality interaction with customers cannot be overemphasized here. This can be seen in social media where successful brands are interacting with their clients. For instance, customer questions should be answered, suggestions responded to and their complaints attended to. Brands need to be not only friendly, but show they care about the communities around them.
Long gone are the days when people used to think that being hospitable and friendly to customers was a preserve of the hospitality industry. Things are changing fast. A variety of industries are borrowing a leaf from the tourism and hospitality sector and the idea of improving customer service is becoming a necessity if they are to compete. Whichever industry you are, you need to ensure that you provide highly personalized services and convenience for the customers with the availability of customer services on a 24/7 basis.
Circle of Friends
It is true that most companies rely on brokers, retailers, agents or dealers to do business. These should not just be seen as tools to promote your business. They should be treated as friends of the company. If you treat your friends well, they will be good brand ambassadors of the business. Even your employees can be great ambassadors of the company if you respect and value them.
It therefore seems that the best approach for companies in terms of branding is simply to be more human. Brands need to act like people; more so, they need to place themselves in the shoes of their customers.