We all know that we have to activate emotions in order to create customer relationships and preference – also when it comes to B2B. Fine in theory, but in practice products, activities and communication often become somewhat aloof and robotic, and this obviously affects our brand experience and desire to engage and buy.
Inspired by a full day in the great company of Martin Lindstrøm (Small Data Symposium in Copenhagen), I’ll zoom in on the value of humanising brands. We are very aware of not forgetting the human dimension in the excitement over the endless opportunities for automating services and communication – especially in connection with customer service and written communication. But what about all the other elements that make up the total brand experience?
There are many ways to give brands a human touch, but it often is the small symbols that generate emotions, true customer engagement and loyalty. Lindstrøm showed a couple of examples, which made even this audience of professional marketeers coo: “Oh, so cute”:
- When your Mini is returned from the body-shop with a note on the dashboard saying “I’ve missed you!”
- When Roomba, the robot hoover, says “Oops” upon its light collisions with you or the furniture
- When the toy store has a big door for grown ups and a small one for kids
It sounds simple
It sounds simple, but often the simple stuff is the hardest to come up with.
I’ve given it a go for household appliances:
- These products are loyal housemaids, so why make them so dull, clean and impersonal in their visual design? And what about sound design – why doesn’t my washing machine play “We are the champions” when it’s done, instead of 3 long piercing beeps?
- Delivery often happens in a brown box by the door. Why not add a big brightly coloured bow and a card saying something like: “Congratulation on your new best maid!”?
- Follow up and inspiration, I’ve never actually experienced – but how about tips on how to make your teenager best friends with new Mr. Washer?
- Service. And when Mr. Washer falls ill, it would be nice if you could book a technician to come at 7-8 am, 6-7 pm or even on the weekend, instead of having to take out a plus 4 hour slot during work time.
There really is plenty opportunity for humanising brands and improving the cuteness factor, and not only for household appliances.