How to Humanize Your Brand


Have you ever heard of corporate personhood? It's, well, I could paraphrase Wikipedia, but why do that when just quote it: "Corporate personhood is the legal concept that a corporation may sue and be sued in court in the same way as natural persons or unincorporated associations of persons… the doctrine does not hold that corporations are 'people.'"

So, basically. You run a business. Until you give a customer a name or a face they can associate you with, you're just a cold, impersonal corporation. That's why customer service is so freaking important, because it oftentimes is the only – and sometimes last – time folks will come into contact with a living, breathing person from your organization. And coaching the heck out of your people to be, basically robotic humans isn't that great, either, which comes from a desire to have your people not be provoked by grumpy customers and also to stay on message.

But that's incredibly frustrating. It isn't like talking to a human at all.

Taking stock, that means we have a lot of companies and individuals from companies trying to be something they're not. Does that mean you should give up on trying to be more humanish in your efforts? Of course not.

The question, as always, is how do you do it? Hubspot has recommendations for a dozen ways. They're all really great, though the standouts for me are posting photos of your team just being themselves, introducing your community managers online (even in a Facebook photo album, for instance) and also to sign your social updates. On that last tip:

If you don't have just one dedicated community manager, it may seem unwieldy to introduce the entire team -- this is a common problem faced by enterprise organizations. Consider signing your social media updates if you're one of many posting to a social account, particularly if you're using it for customer support… This helps remind people that even though they can't hear your voice, there's one real, live, breathing person that's dedicated to helping them.

That's completely true. I know with the bands that I follow on Twitter that when they do this, it's pretty cool. You have that moment of realizing, "Hey, this person from that group actually just sent this out." (I also get that excited about some of the senators I follow – mad shout out to my boy Bernie Sanders) That's good. It makes you warm and fuzzy inside, a fleeting moment of excitement and connection with something that matters to you.

That's what you want people to have with your business.

So give this list a read and get your warm fuzzies on, y'all.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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