Introduction to Humanisation
Over the years, B2B communication has always been formal and professional. Be it the language, the platforms used or the overall tone of the interaction, B2B communication has traditionally chosen to be a more direct and to-the-point form of contact. And while it is important to keep a formal tone to convey trust and standards, it is also essential for businesses to understand that they are communicating with other human beings. In order to leave a lasting impact, the communication and tone used needs to be relatable and humanised.
The humanised approach is especially effective on social media platforms where it is perfectly acceptable for B2B businesses and brands to adopt a less formal and more personalised approach in order to leave an impact on their target audience. B2C brands like Apple, British Airways, Unilever, Visa and many others have used this approach to create relatable brands with a large loyal following. For B2C brands however, this move towards humanisation and brand building has been slow, mainly due to the lack of stakeholder buy-in. But with the pandemic making one-on-one, in-person connections challenging, there has been a shift into digital commerce and B2B organisations who ignore brand building may lose their loyal customers to brands who do choose this approach.
So let’s start by understanding what humanisation actually means and how it works when it comes to B2B marketing.
What is humanisation?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, humanisation is the process of making something that is not human seem like a person, or treating something that is not human as if it is a person.
Brands can humanise themselves by adopting various human qualities and displaying them across digital channels, through storytelling and other similar tools.
Why does humanisation work?
B2B customers are humans after all, and humans relate better with communication that is clear, simple and human-centred. Organisations that talk about benefits and pain points in a clear, concise and simple manner, without treating their audience as if they were an algorithm are bound to get more engagement with their content.
In the age of digital, where brands are fighting to hold the attention of their ideal customers, companies who tell their story and take their customers with them on their journey are the ones successful at keeping their attention and building a community around their content. By taking a human-centred approach, B2B organisations can display their expertise, while showing their customers that they are not afraid to be different or to listen to their target audience.
The humanisation approach also helps brands to increase engagement and brand loyalty and to establish themselves as experts in their field.
Data Around Humanisation
A study by Lippincott reveals that B2B brand building has never been as important as it is today. Their statistical analysis revealed that, for business buyers, 39% of their buying decision was driven by the impact of the brand followed by the price (27%). This is mainly because business purchase decisions have long-lasting effects and involve various stakeholders, so more thought and research are put into such purchase decisions. Buying decisions are then followed by lengthy contracts and switching suppliers can often hinder productivity. Consequently, businesses want to choose companies that are reliable, trustworthy and offer the promise of longevity.
6 WAYS TO HUMANISE YOUR MARKETING
Now if you’re wondering how you can humanise your brand to make it more relatable to your audience, here are nine ways to do so:
THINK ABOUT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Before you build your brand personality, you need to understand your target audience. Take out some time to deep dive into the mindset and life of your target audience and build a persona. Think about how old is your ideal target audience, where do they live, what do they do and what hobbies they have. Write down what their personality is like, are they outgoing or introverts? Do they like being indoors or outdoors? Are they tech-savvy? Think about what inspires them and what motivates them. Answer as many questions and build a profile of your ideal target audience for your brand.
CREATE YOUR BRAND PERSONALITY
Once you know your ideal target audience and what inspires and motivates them, you can choose your brand personality accordingly. Sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness are the five common types of brand personality. Select one based on what would appeal the most to your ideal target audience and accordingly set the tone for all your brand communication.
PERSONALISE YOUR AUTOMATED MARKETING
Another essential way of humanising your marketing is by personalising all your automated marketing messages. This can be done by addressing emails with personalised greetings and using direct language. Choose words like ‘you’ rather than ‘we’ or ‘I’ so that your audience feels that you are talking directly to them.
SHOW OFF YOUR STAFF
Another great way to humanise your brand is by talking about your team. Use real pictures to introduce the core members of your organisation and tell stories about the funny and quirky side of their personality. This will help your audience relate better and will show them that real people like them run the organisation.
TALK TO YOUR AUDIENCE
Talking to your audience is essential to create a successful brand. Use social media to conduct polls, ask your audience for their opinions and make them a part of your decision-making process. This will help your audience feel more involved in your brand and help build a long-term relationship with your brand.
TURN EMPLOYEES INTO BRAND AMBASSADORS
Turning your employees into brand ambassadors is a risky move, but if managed well, it is an excellent way of humanising your marketing. Ask your loyal employees to talk about their experiences on social media so that you can gain access to their friends and social circle. This can be a great way to cross-promote your brand.
Another way you could use your employees as brand ambassadors is by asking them to take over the social media of the brand for the day. They can use the stories feature on Instagram and Facebook to show the audience what typical day at work looks like for them. This is an excellent way of showing the fun and exciting side of the brand.