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Humanising Your Brand

Kapil Vaishnani
by Kapil Vaishnani  |  18th Feb, 2015 in Life

brand communication is not about commerce, but communication.

Salman Khan may have gone a tad overboard with his “Be Human” name for an apparel brand, but poor guy was not delivering a googly, he was only driving home a homily.

It could be a familiar scenario. You’ve come up with a clever product marketing strategy but it’s simply not working. You look for response but you spot nothing. Pray, why? Maybe because you left your heart at home. Your customers are human not bots. Your business associates are human. Your internal customers, i.e. your employees are human, even your FB, LinkedIn and Twitter fans and followers are human.

So why are you talking to them like they are nincompoops who would not be able to see you through your corporate speak? Why are you afraid to let your human side show? Why do you try stupid stunts and marketing gimmickry, when all you need to do is let your emotions run?

Your audience wants to see you, hear you and understand you. They want you to inspire them to connect and engage with you. They want you to help them achieve their goals and objectives. They want relevant content and conversation that makes them think. They want inspired to do different, do better and be better.

The world over, clients and customers today are demanding more heart talk than head talk. They like emotionally intelligent brands not pretentious, stiff British upper lip, hi-brow brands. In their communications, brands also are telling their “slice of life” stories, with a human angle, using ordinary you and I faces. As cellular service provider, Idea so effectively articulates, “You don’t really need a language. Because an idea can (itself) change your life.”

Advertising is about telling stories that makes consumers fall in love with it. That story could be anything and can elicit any kind of an emotional response in you – you might feel like wiping your eye, winking at your partner, reach out an cuddle your pet – but it does invite a concrete response of some defining kind. Essentially a good story is able to strike a chord, no matter what the language, script or the technology used to create it.  The more the rush of adrenaline, the more the flow of waterworks, the more noticeable will be the impact.

Take for instance, the Asian Paints ‘Har ghar kuchh kehta hai’ campaign series focuses on famous people recalling their favourite moments in their childhood homes, but the especially poignant one is the latest that shows a dashing, young army officer re-doing the interiors of his indolent wife’s bedroom in the disorderly manner that reminds her of her maiden home. The story is of touching care and affection that the protagonist hides behind his tough army officer’s exterior.

Likewise Cadbury’s Silk campaign on the churlish theme, “kiss me, close your eyes and miss me,” or Google India’s cross-border friendship ad of two friends separated at Partition, maybe trite, except for their high-decibel  emotive content. Likewise, Binani Cement’s sepia-tinted rendition of emotions with the use of Amitabh Bachchan’s library of family pictures, evokes a universal idiom of tender love for lost parents.

Then there’s Tanishq’s iconoclastic portrayal of a girl’s second marriage in the presence of her daughter, whom the adoptive father/groom picks up without a hassle, may be ‘politically correct’ but more than that it is emotionally-rich and women-empowering. Today, the strategy that works is not talking down but talking level; heart-to-heart. The consumer must be at the centre of the story-telling process, and it must be his/her story. That’s the hallmark of any meaningful content strategy – digital or electronic. Stories that sell are about history, values, beliefs, and of course, powerful, human emotions.

In other words, don’t sell products.

Sell ideas and inspiration.

Don’t sell me an iPhone 6 Plus + Panorama. Sell the idea of how you can take great pictures with it – in the manner of Apple’s Start Something New.

Did you say your brand is great?

Forget it.

Who cares?

Kapil Vaishnani

Founder - Chairman, Litmus Branding Pvt. Ltd.
Kapil Vaishnani founded Litmus in 2001 to water his passion for creating brands. Kapil’s a creative brain hitched at business. He firmly believes that focused communication is the key and it must carry a purpose that serves both brand and business. Simplicity is Kapil’s power gear that has shaped some of the prominent brands in India and globally. His passion-filled sportsmanship with multi-disciplinary talent is brimming with experience of 20+ years. Talk sense and he is all ears.