In the world of branding, there is nothing more important than connecting with your customers. These days, it isn’t as simple as stating your name, laying down the facts and hoping you get noticed because of your stylish, sophisticated packaging. You’ve got to have pizzazz, an edge, something that’s instantly recognisable, and all that jazz.
One way companies are doing this nowadays is by humanising their brands.
By this we mean, lending human characteristics to their brands, or actually personifying their brands as a particular human (or human-like) character.
The best example of this is probably the funny, quirky Apple commercials, which portrays the brand itself as a younger, trendier, more laid-back guy, in direct comparison with the personification of the PC, an old, out-of-date, out-of-touch office salaryman-type character. The commercial not only makes the Apple brand cooler, savvier and more relevant, but indirectly provides a benchmark of what its USERS are like. It’s a smart play that’s solidified the game-changing attitude of the brand.
In Australia, a company called Black Squid Designs repackaged cauliflower (which is conventionally boring and bland) by imbuing it with distinct, charming personalities. Using 4 familiar names, they came up with characteristics, likes, dislikes and quirky attributes for the cauliflower itself. However, they also included interesting cooking suggestions for the cauliflower itself, staying clearly within the boundaries of what they wanted to sell, but doing it in a relevant, engaging manner.
Sure, by attempting this strategy, these companies, and many others around the world that have tried the same, need to take some huge risks.
What if that character you’re selling falls flat or just doesn’t appeal to the consumer?
What if the brand’s persona reminds a particular customer about someone they despise?
What if people don’t get what the character is about?
That’s why, just like in every advertising, branding and communications initiative, it’s of paramount importance to KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO.
After that, it’s about finding the humanity in your brand, and taking it to the next level.