Is your brand relatable? Do your customers feel a connection with you? Do you engage with your target audience in meaningful ways? Read this blog to understand the importance of having that human touch in digital marketing, when so much of your brand strategy is online, instead of in-person…
Perhaps it felt easy to completely digitise your brand strategy as everyone else did. Ploughing efforts into everything, from social media to website tools, so your brand strategy could translate into a completely digital world. However – and here’s the big ‘however’ – how easy has it been to remain truly connected to the people your brand reaches out to?
2020: the year where digital kept us connected. Well, that was certainly the case for many successful businesses. It was a real saviour in many ways! Yes, we all had those moments of “not another Zoom meeting” but on the whole, digital tools ensured business could continue – and even grow!
The thing is, a brand is not just what you do through your marketing tactics. It’s so much more than that. It’s a feeling it stirs, an experience it creates and a story it tells.
But in simple terms? Your brand is your business’ persona and it has a huge responsibility in curating a unique identity that your target audience loves.
What’s the challenge with brands in the digital world?
Well firstly, there are many amazing things brands can do in the digital world! But often, if you’re feeling like your brand isn’t quite packing a punch it’s probably because your marketing has become
- over-automated (you can schedule everything, which is wonderful – but does that lose the realness?)
- static (it’s easy to get this message out via digital tools – but are you forgetting to think creatively?)
- samey (everyone else is harnessing these digital tools too – but are you harnessing them any differently? Or do you just blend into the crowd?)
Essentially, you lose the human side to your brand because all real in-person connections are lost (pandemic, we’re looking at you!). We love digital marketing but it’s not just a robotic “push the button” operation. Well, not if you want to truly thrive in the digital world. No, no. We might have everything from artificial intelligence (AI) to email automation, but to be a real success, brands still need a human element as part of their digital brand strategy.
This answer differs across sectors – but let’s give some examples to get started…
B2B professional service provider
Investing in a professional service is a big deal – and often represents a considerable investment. So, you can have the best-branded merchandise in the world and an all-singing, all-dancing website – huge ticks for your brand – but at the end of the day, your potential clients are still going to want to know who exactly is delivering this service. Via your digital tools, give insight into the real people and the reputations they hold to give your prospects the confidence to trust in you.
Emotion is key within a charity’s messaging. They want to connect with likeminded people who support their values and will therefore support them financially. By missing real-life stories, your charity risks looking inauthentic, and not fitting into the ‘real world’ of your target audience.
It’s easy to assume that when shopping online you honestly don’t care about the humans behind the brand – especially with the big retail brands. After all, all you want to do is buy your goods and check out. But is that really the case? With so many options out there in such a competitive marketplace, how does one retailer differentiate itself from another? It’s often down to how they connect and interact with you. This can start with the initial brand awareness – in targeted ads that speak directly to you – right through to the loyalty and advocacy stages, where customer retention is key. If you’ve ever experienced a faulty product and need to complain, you’ll know exactly what we mean – because you instantly want to reach out to the humans behind the brand. Cue Twitter!
Overall, the human touch in digital marketing makes your target audience feel confident that your service or product will help them.
It’s about an actual human connection with a loud and clear message, “we can help you”. Additionally, being trustworthy is something that is inherently human.
So how do brands become human, exactly?
We’ve all been basking in some good news recently. Dare we say it? Yes, the roadmap to ‘normality’ has been set out and the concept of being able to do business in person, with actual people, has become tangible again. For many businesses, this is welcome news. Not only does it mean fewer Zoom meetings, but it also potentially signifies the return of events, conferences and other in-person marketing events. Real people doing real jobs, securing real business.
So, it’s simple, right? That’s how you breathe the human element into your brand again! Well, although we love a simple answer, unfortunately in this case it isn’t that simple. Because even if things go swimmingly and we’re back enjoying the satisfaction of a great client meeting over a cup of coffee (or a drink in the pub, woohoo!), digital has a prominent and important place in your brand strategy – so it will stay. After all, the pandemic – and enforced physical distancing – has taught us that we can actually do things better with digital marketing. And your target audience loves it too. So, even if we are back in the boardroom come July, your digital transformation efforts will continue to thrive – and the demand will still be there.
A holistic approach to digital marketing and “the human touch”
So instead of accepting that digital must be enhanced by your in-person brand touchpoints in order to tick the “human” box, it’s time to think of it as a whole…
Here are some practical ways to ensure a human touch in your digital marketing strategy
Hone your voice
How does your brand sound? Reflect on your tone of voice and make sure it is consistent and clear across the board. This will help your audience build a picture of who you are, what you say and what you stand for across both online and offline platforms.
Avoid hiding behind fancy tools if you can’t replicate some kind of realness. What we mean by this is it’s good to plan ahead – but be switched on to the real world. Big news event that could impact your clients? How will your marketing – such as your social media content – address this? Being proactive is wonderful but being reactive showcases your human element.
Refocus on your audience
Dial it back and revisit your audience. Make this a frequent task. How are they changing and what do they want right now? How can you adapt to this? Sometimes it’s tempting to focus on what your competitors are up to – and although that is important, it’s often more useful to go back over your target audience in detail to build a real human connection with them.
Listen to feedback and act on it
Finally, digital tools mean analytics and reporting – which is great! Harness these tools and you will discover what works for your audience and what doesn’t. This allows you to tailor your marketing to suit their needs.
Here is a quick round-up of the useful ways you can inject some realness into your brand.
According to a study carried out by Experian, personalised promotional emails have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalised mailings. In simple terms, this shows that when you speak personally to a member of your target audience, you’re more likely to convert.
Are you ready to help your clients – online? If you’re available to answer questions, a great feature of any website is a live chat box. That way your audience can easily reach you – with minimal effort. This is a great opportunity to connect with your prospects and clients.
84% of people say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Why is that? Well, often it’s a quick and convenient way to get a message across. But in many cases, it also allows the brand to showcase how their service or product works in real life. As this great article by Think with Google explains, videos allow you to “land a message, not a sales pitch.”
Discover our video and animation services.
Blogging and thought leadership
Be that helpful, educational and sometimes even authoritative voice in the industry that your target audience trust. By releasing regular blogs and articles, you share a portion of your knowledge in exchange for building trust with your audience. Essentially, they come to think of your brand as the expert – and that’s not something a digital tool can automate, it’s very real and very human.
Case studies and stories
Tell real stories and see real results. Your target audience wants to see proof of how your services or products have impacted – and improved – the lives of real people. It’s an important part of building trust and can be key when a prospect is at the consideration stage, leading to a conversion in the bag.
Photography and imagery
An obvious one but an important one! We see so many brands relying on repetitive imagery that depersonalises their brand. Instead, speak to us about creating unique images that represent your brand exactly as you need to – giving you that unique human touch in digital marketing.
Apply a human touch to your brand and marketing
The main takeaway from this blog is that brands must remain ‘real’ when everything is online – and not in person. As you continue to grow in your digital arena, always remember the value your human side has. That human touch in digital marketing is where you can see real connections grow with your audience.