How can a brand remain human in a digital world?

James Kyd

James is the head of global brand and marketing at Xero. Before joining Xero, James was CMO at founder-led global business, Coretex, and before that CMO at one of New Zealand’s largest tech companies, Tait Communications. Prior to that he was with IBM for more than 15 years, where he had global sales and strategic marketing roles including focusing small business markets, along with running Asia Pacific brand and communications.

Some commentators estimate that by 2020, 85 per cent of buyer-seller interactions will happen online through social media and video*. That’s only two years away, and pertinent for any marketer.  

As our world becomes increasingly digital, brands like Xero are investing heavily into emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to deliver far more value and a better experience to customers at scale.  

But there’s one thing no marketer should ever forget: People are social creatures and will always value the human connection in a brand experience. And for challenger brands that typically look to spend less on traditional marketing, that’s good news. If you can foster those human and social connections, you’ll help build a community that values you enough to advocate on your behalf.  

So as the world becomes increasingly digital in the way it creates and consumes media, how do we remain human?   

Design deliberately where machine meets human  

Our customers are human. But it’s easy to forget that if you rely only on the technology at your fingertips, and the behavioural metrics, persona mapping and other insights that may help you scale at speed. The challenge is to interpret those insights through a human lens, and to design deliberately and create an experience your customers love and value.  

No linear customer journey map can capture every possible customer interaction with your brand. A challenger brand must develop the authenticity to embrace human behaviour and create genuine moments of connection, even when they fall off the model journey map.  

Start from within  

The human aspect of a brand can’t be faked. It comes from within. We work to foster a company culture that values the human aspect. We strive toward a workspace that empowers people and promotes psychological safety.  

If you can build an empowered, confident and impassioned team, you’ll see those qualities flow through to your brand experience and into sales and marketing funnels. Whether it’s via your customer communications, technical support, user community or the product experience, you’ll have a team bringing heart to your brand identity, and customers will notice.  

* Source: TeleSmart Communications

Tags: marketing strategy, brand strategy

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