Humanizing your Brand!

October 6, 2010

It is important for any of the brands to act more as people and not as  automated systems. I have even come across brands who use tools like Hootsuite, Cotweet, Jist and many more to post content regularly in order to look like an active brand.

But, that’s not sufficient for the brands. Most of the time one has to  interact with users regularly in order to suggest, resolve and discuss around various conversations and make sure there are real people behind every Twitter or Facebook Profile

But what about organizations that are leveraging employee participation to communicate with their audiences through social media? Here are a few tactics to consider implementing to humanize your brand:

  • Instead of an icon or logo, use a team photo for your Facebook page or corporate twitter account to show that real people are behind the brand.
  • Include the names of employees representing the brand in any account profiles, about us pages, etc.
  • Include a page on your blog with author profiles and photos – offer a behind the scenes look at their role within the organization.
  • Have a monthly “Meet our Team” post on your blog or Facebook page. This could include a text entry with an attached image or a video post that offers some insight into the personality of the organization.
  • Build stories around individual employees’ favourite products, why they love them, how they use them, etc.
  • Encourage team members to communicate on behalf of the brand through their own twitter accounts – which would include their photo, their role within the organization and a link back to the company website.
  • Get out of the office – have a plan that bridges digital communication with face-to-face audience interaction. This could include employees speaking at industry functions, hosting seminars or educational events, employee volunteerism within your community, regular pr/service visits into the marketplace, etc.

What other tactics could you implement to humanize your brand?

Understand Your Audiences

A word of caution before pulling the curtain back on your organization – take some time to really understand the needs of your internal and external audiences. Before setting out to humanize your organization through social media:

  1. Communicate social media goals and guidelines with employees – particularly if they will be representing your brand through personal accounts of off- hours.
  2. Understand the information needs of your audience and balance the frequency of culture posts – personal stories are great for building relationships but it’s important to be mindful of the fact that too much content related to the organization may not be of interest to your stakeholders.

These are the most aspects that any brand should start following. This will certainly help a brand to avoid crisis as Dominos Pizza faced last year.

Pls Note: This post was been inspired by the original post on Social Media Explorer

This refers to the Online  initiative taken by one of the Insurance Giant, Aegon Religare. Recently I was invited for one of the Blogger Meet, I am not sure if they had really visited my Blog which purely talks about Social Media and Online PR efforts made in India.  Well, I was really impressed with the efforts made by them to tap online Influencers and also the focus in the online Communications.

I have been discussing this fact in many of my older posts that Indian clients have to be more serious and focused in tapping the online Communications. Here it goes. Aegon Religare came up with a portal which purely relies on digital communications. They recently came up with http://buyonline.aegonreligare.com. Whats important about this portal is it does give a consumer the flexibility of subscribing to various Insurance schemes, but most importantly it has a focused CRM logic, which not only helps a user saving time and energy, but also regularly keeps him updated about his/her Policies. The tool has been developed based on extensive consumer research which very much fits the Social Media Model. Lastly, this tool and the associated Insurance schemes are exclusively sold online. That says it all.

Though it was a 2 hr Digital meet, but there was no mention about the Brand or any kind of promotional communication from Aegon Religare. They got it right here.. I guess they really understand what needs to communicated to the online Influencers.

The Best part of this meet was I had gained extensive knowledge about Insurance and what suits and fits my income. I am sure many of us have a wrong perception towards Insurance. The entire meet was presented by Mr. Yateesh Shrivastav, who was indeed very good in explaining and expressing facts. Most importantly he knew very well knew about the consumer’s perspective. That is what every brand needs to do… right..:)

“Insurance is always sold and never Bought” – Says Mr. Yateesh Shrivastav. I think this is the current scene in the market and there has to be a strong education done to everyone of us. We will await till the people realize the importance of Insurance in their lives 😉

He also questioned everyone about “what is the Total Insured Value of an individual” some said 1,00000 and some said 5,00000. Is this enough for the rest of our life or this is the actual value of an individual ? Gets us thinking.. right…. Everyone should think of it.

I think this is a great beginning for a Brand to use Social Media as one the key tools to market and share about their developments. I am sure very soon more and more Insurance Brands will follow Aegon Religare to support their marketing and customer service initiatives, keeping the cluttered world in minds.

This is a great example of using Online Communications as a key medium to connect the consumers directly. I hope I have not been very goodie to goodie for the Brand, but yes I do appreciate their initiative.

Some learnings out of this Blogger Meet at Mumbai :

  1. Don’t Push Branding messages
  2. Push about what you do and what you offer clearly with no loopholes, explain it without Jargon
  3. Be very clear in language and try explaining things in the customer perceptive
  4. Try accepting Market – Marketing facts (Good or Bad)
  5. Keep your focus very clear in communicating things
  6. For some reason if you had goofed up in some communication , please cross check then confirm it again, consumer will surely understand and will allow you to improvise on it proactively
  7. Also mention what are the current infrastructure loopholes and also mention about regularly working towards improvising it to make customer experience smoother
  8. Share your research secrets and key insights of your research, this will do help a customer to understand the Brand really well

To Sum up, its an initiative to be noticed and an example for all the Brands 🙂

Social media tools for socialites that is becoming increasingly popular is the internet. Reasons could be many, but main one is the content generated by the users which is directly from the public. Social networking sites and very popular with the users, and plenty of them can be found online. They are free to use and are advanced in technology. The concept of social media optimization utilizes such forms of media for increasing your website popularity and value. As a form of online marketing strategy, it is also a part of functions carried out by the search engine optimizers. Optimization of your content by keyword is crucial here. Make sure you update your content on regular basis. Do not forget to use apt keywords and phrases, but stay within limits and do not over stuff your content. When starting SMO, you should submit your main site to as many social networking sites as possible. Social Media Optimization requires lots of effort and hard work, similar to Search Engine Optimization. One will not be able to craft web space and presence without being patient and hard working. It is the unlimited web presence offered to the website optimizers, that is the main advantage of social networking sites. To increase business popularity, Social Media optimizers can use its name and reputation. Some use a fictional name for this purpose, which is also OK. We can therefore craft a profile of our virtual and non-existing person, but it should be avoided if possible. No matter what name you use, it is crucial that your profile shows strong background and experience in the required field of business. The most common cause of the marketing tools and techniques failure is inadequate exposure to the business that is being promoted which later leads to brand anonymity. It is very important these days that marketing is done in proper and continuous manner. Promoting is very difficult with a new business, but if you do it in a planned manner you can have really good results. Online business, in order to be successful, needs you to put a lot of work and effort. Many optimizers have agreed that social media optimization is a good option for effective website optimization.

Social Media Optimization also involves a clear strategy of the specific tool adoption. Sometimes, the selection of tools are very important more than the Social Media approach. The selections of tools directs us towards a clear goal of reaching our target audience and this has to be planned to what is the overall reach one is looking at. In some cases this is tedious in nature ensuring every tool is connected to each other to ensure a seamless content distribution. But there are some tools such as Friendfeed, Facebook, Tubemogul which helps content dissemination easier.

There has been a significant evolution with the current tools which have come up with more integration options. Thus, hoping to similar evolutions in future which will make things more organized and smoother for any Social Media Programs