With the explosion of new mobile devices, the way brands engage with customers is evolving. Customers now expect experiences that are personalized, relevant, and assistive. And part of this search for the best customer experience means creating a brand interaction that feels human.
According to the Braze Brand Humanity Index (BHI), based on a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Braze, 57% of consumers said they would be more loyal to a brand that creates a human feel during the customer experience. And most crucially, we learned that consumers are 17% more likely to make a purchase or use a human-like brand’s services. Simply put, humanity in your brand interactions can help you drive more conversions and realize better business outcomes. Here are four steps that will have your brand on its way to true humanity:
1. Build a culture of empathy
Humans have an instinct to help one another — it’s part of what makes us human. And so as consumers look for more human brand experiences, they want their brands to be responsive and assistive as they research and purchase products. Providing the right assistance at the right time requires an understanding of your customers on an empathetic level. What do your customers want? How do they feel?
Part of this empathy is driven by data. Quantitative information can give you a clear understanding of what your customers value and respond to. These analytics help you optimize the customer experience you’re building. Beyond the numbers, you need to create a culture that is obsessed with understanding how your customers feel and recruit talent that prioritizes empathy. It’s a crucial first step towards humanizing your brand.
2. Let emotion guide your brand voice
As a part of the Braze Brand Humanity Index, we analyzed which emotions drive consumer perception of humanity. Emotion — getting at how customers feel when they interact with your brand — plays a central role. We found that “responsive”, “friendly,” and “thoughtful” were some of the main emotions brands should go for when developing their voice. These qualities make a consumer feel like they’re being helped by a human friend who is consistently considerate of their concerns, time, and goals.
When you’re developing this brand voice, make sure you value substance over style. So much of our data indicates that focusing on being helpful is much more important than focusing on being entertaining or unique. For instance, we found that emotional attributes like “exciting,” “amusing,” “fun,” or “quirky” were much weaker predictors of whether or not customers perceived a brand as human. Find your brand’s authentic voice — it might be humorous, it might be sincere and thoughtful — and ensure it is always guided by an empathetic understanding of the customer.
3. Carry this voice over to every customer interaction
You have your voice — and it’s built on empathy. Now you need to make sure this voice is consistent throughout your business. It needs to be present digitally and in person. And you need to get to a point where you see every customer interaction as a chance to show off this voice, connect with customers, and develop a deeper bond with your audience.
It starts with employing the right people. Whether they are interacting on the phone with customers, in the store, or crafting social media copy, your team members are the practitioners of this voice — and have the opportunity to make or break its humanity. When recruiting talent, stellar communication skills has got to be at the top of the priority list. The same communication style you value in recruits must align with this brand voice. That way, you ensure you’re using every opportunity to reinforce this voice and be consistently human.
4. Tailor this voice to mobile and beyond
True brand humanity means you’ve found a way to express a human voice across digital platforms. As you can expect, this isn’t an easy task. According to our index, 76% of respondents are checking their mobile device multiple times a day — so that’s where you’re likely to run into your customers. A customer journey might start on the phone, continue on a desktop, and then end — after weeks of research — with a purchase made via voice assistant. Was your brand helpful and human this whole time? Did they have that responsive, assistive experience that is so important to reaffirming brand humanity?
Your entire digital experience — be it email, push notifications, chatbots, social media, or basic website copy — must have the same human voice. Emerging technologies like machine learning can help you keep this voice consistent no matter where your customers take you. Given the ubiquity of mobile technology, brands that are prioritizing this far-reaching humanity across devices have a clear advantage.
Humanity is a major differentiator among brands. As such, building a human voice requires a long-term commitment that isn’t afraid to leverage advanced technology or to require major cultural shifts within your business as needed. Download our Brand Humanity Index to better understand the importance of humanizing your brand — and to learn how to merge humanity into your enterprise.