People Like People, Not Companies—How to Humanize Your Brand

Think back on any great service you’ve received in recent years and behind that great service is undoubtedly a human being who made that service great. We go to our favorite coffee shops not only because the coffee is great but because the service is great as well. The baristas say hello to us, they remember our name and order, and they make us feel connected to their brand.

The same is true for any business, whether it’s something fun and flashy like fashion or traditional and conservative like mortgage—you can still humanize your brand and endear people to it. The bottom line is that people like doing business with people, not companies. Here are four ways you can humanize your brand and connect with your customers.

Customer Stories

One of the best ways to show your company’s humanity is to share stories from actual customers. And I’m not talking about a two-sentence testimonial on your Facebook page. I’m talking about sitting down with your customer and having them tell their story, either on video or in written form with accompanying photos.

Great Examples

cityhomeCOLLECTIVE created this great video interview with one of their clients, the Smith family. Here’s what we love: 1) it tells the family’s story and it’s all about them, 2) it takes place in the client’s home, further humanizing their story, 3) it’s not stuffy or rehearsed.

Here’s a customer story and after photos from one of our clients at Citywide Home Loans. He showcased one of his clients who used a 203(k) loan to finish his basement and remodel his home. Here’s what we love: 1) Shaun told the whole story—the great parts and the hard parts, 2) he included lots of after shots of the actual project, 3) he got more mileage out of the story by breaking the content up into two separate posts.

Tips

  • Don’t forget the visual elements. A customer story with no photos or video of the customer isn’t nearly as appealing (or believable). Besides, many people are visual, so you’ll want to give a bit of both.
  • Give your customer the questions beforehand so they have time to prepare.
  • These customer stories can be used for years to come, so spend some extra time and money making them right. Use a professional photographer and videographer, and make sure you have someone read through the content for grammar.
  • Make it all about them, not all about you.

FREE DOWNLOAD: CLIENT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Download the same interview questions we use when talking to our own customer’s clients.

DOWNLOAD IT NOW!

Office Life

Another great way to bring a human feel to your brand is to give people a glimpse into office life at your company. What’s it like to work there? Who works there and what do they do? Customers like knowing they’re working with a company whose employees are treated well, so make sure they know that.

Great Examples

AmeriFirst Home Mortgage had some fun photos on their Instagram account of their office dressed up for an ugly sweater party. Here’s what we love: 1) they’re candid photos, 2) they used hashtags—important on Instagram, 3) they tied in with a current/timely event (holiday parties/ugly sweaters).

Here’s a great employee spotlight from our clients at Strive Lending. Here’s what we love: 1) it’s a great, sharp photo of the employee, 2) it’s well branded, 3) it’s written in the employee’s own words.

City First Mortgage highlights their employees of the month on their company blog. Here’s what we love: 1) they show photos of the employees with their award, 2) they include the nominator’s quote, 3) they’re consistent with posting one each month.

Tips

  • Have a camera (and someone who can use it) on hand at all times. Whatever you are doing in the office—whether it’s big like a company party or small like a meeting with your team—snap a few photos and throw them up.
  • Do your best to connect the content with the brand. Show employees in company swag, align the photo with a core value, and get a brand element in there somewhere (logo, colors, etc.).
  • Don’t just post photos—tell a story with the content.

Out-of-Office Events

It’s important for customers to know they’re working with a company whose employees give back to their customers and their communities. Showcase charity events, service projects, and other ways your employees give back. And don’t restrict this to company-sponsored events. If you have an employee who’s doing something great on their own or through another organization, share it!

Great Examples

Here’s a great video from Vail Resorts, which built 80 bikes for an elementary school in Colorado. Here’s what we love: 1) their actual employees are doing the work, 2) they branded the content by giving their employees company shirts, 3) you get to see the kids who benefited from the project.

One of our clients at Guild Mortgage gives away Christmas trees to their customers over the holidays and also partners with the Portland Food Project to donate food. Here’s a great photo of the booth set up in the parking lot. Here’s what we love: 1) they mentioned the people in the photo, 2) they branded the photo with the non-profit they were helping, making it not all about them, 3) the Portland Food Project responded to the photo with their thanks—a great bonus!

Tips

  • Working with other organizations is a fantastic way to cross promote. Get your partners involved in whatever you’re doing and make sure your teams are working together to raise awareness and increase promotion.
  • Brand your events. If you have a yearly event, consider giving it its own branding. This will help customers recognize it from year to year.
  • Crowdsource your content. If your team is participating in something, have them take photos and videos throughout the event and submit them. This will give you lots of perspectives and additional content to share.

Daily Life Realness

People often think they need something monumental to be happening before they can write a blog post or put something on social media. The truth is, some of the most humanizing and interesting posts fall into the category of “daily life realness.” These can range from a photo of your team members working hard at their desks to a photo of you meeting with a client in your office (or even a photo of you meeting with your referral partners for lunch).

Great Examples

Probably our favorite example of daily life realness right now is The Daily Vee from Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary’s team follows him around and puts out a video of him hustling throughout the day, meeting with different people and interacting with his team. It’s something to behold. Here’s what we love: 1) it’s real—nothing’s more real than Gary, 2) it’s interesting—people want to know what other successful people do with their day, 3) it’s put together well—even though it’s rough footage, it’s done professionally.

Here’s an example of a daily life realness post from Veterans United Home Loans. They’ve taken a minute to introduce you to a VU team member. Here’s what we love: 1) it’s a candid shot of him at his desk on a normal Tuesday, 2) it furthers their brand story as a veteran home loan company because he’s a veteran himself, 3) it tells a great story about the company that people wouldn’t otherwise know.

Tips

  • No day is insignificant or boring. There’s something in every day worth posting about.
  • Keep it light and tell a story with everything you post.
  • Give members of your team a chance to “hack” the profile or website each week (let them take over and post). This will give you different perspectives and different content.

Just Be Human

I often tell customers on the phone, “you’re already doing everything you need to do,” and for the most part, this is true. You are likely already meeting with clients in your office, participating in charity events, announcing employees of the month, etc. What people fail to do is capture these moments, share them with the world, and tell a story that humanizes their brand and connects with their customers.

FREE DOWNLOAD: CLIENT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Download the same interview questions we use when talking to our own customer’s clients.

DOWNLOAD IT NOW!

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