Humanizing Brands



Story about #Meaning.

  • I met a guy for coffee and we described ourselves. He described what he was wearing and said he had standard-issue creative-guy glasses. I said I have jeans, button-down shirt, and socially conscious glasses:
  • We find meaning in the brands we choose.
  • Maybe not every brand, but at least the ones we are strongly #Benefit/customer loyalty# to.
  • There are more stylish glasses out there than the ones I buy from Warby Parker. But I buy Warby Parker for the #meaning not for the style.
  • His glasses said “creative guy”. Mine said “social good”.

> These days we tell our own life #story with the brand’s we buy; what does my purchase say about me?

  • A great product or service is not enough
  • There are 4 #Forces that affect every business
    • #Forces/Choice#
    • #Forces/Confusion
    • #Forces/Commoditization
    • #Forces/Constriction
  • brand #awareness is no longer a recipe for success (as it used to be)
  • #Solution/Stand out#
  • #Solution/Connect#

As a consultant I #Focus/develop the personal properties of a brand# for

  • #Results/Connection
  • #Results/Engagement
  • #Results/Relevance
  • #Results/Complexity
  • #Results/Emotion
  • #Results/Meaning

The #benefit include increased

  • #Benefit/higher revenues#
  • #Benefit/higher profit#
  • #Benefit/higher ROI on marketing#
  • #Benefit/better employee retention#
  • #Benefit/customer loyalty#
  • and so much more

in this course:

why awareness alone is not only inefficient but ineffective

look at the most valuable brands to learn how humanizing your brand impacts what you say, what you do, how you look and so much more

look at some mistakes by some major brands

understand how developing the personal properties of your brand brings incredible clarity

Today There has been a shift in the requirements for #benefit/customer loyalty# Some of the required elements are:

  • #Focus/emotion
  • #Focus/experience
  • #Focus/engagement
  • #Focus/excitement
  • #Focus/enablement
  • #Focus/meaning
  • and #Focus/care.

Providing a product or service is no longer enough. Making people aware of your products or service is not enough. In this course we are going to explore what it takes to stand out, connect, and create the bonds necessary to compete in the marketplace.


  • I have an entire class dedicated to defining this.
  • I have a 5-sided definition of BRAND, and I created a fun memory device for it, too:
    • Behavior
    • Reputation
    • Accumulation
    • Narrative
    • Device
  • See my other class for more detail


  • #Benefit/sales
  • higher #Benefit/margin #Benefit/profitability
  • higher #benefit/customer loyalty#
  • lower employee retention
  • tools for identifying the right hires, and tools for performance evaluation
    • more effective marketing spend (ROI)
    • greater audience reach
    • graphic design (logos, and more)
    • social media content
    • social media ads
    • new or updated websites
    • blog content
    • product development
    • more
  • your branding impacts all of this. in fact, it dictates all of this. but most of the times companies don’t understand it that way. They think they need social media content, when in fact, they need the RIGHT social content. They don’t need designs, they need the RIGHT designs.


  • it’s not enough to just provide a product or service
  • there are 4 forces affecting every business
  • if you want to remain a market player you must move past BRAND AWARENESS. most past “making noise”
  • You must developing the personal properties of your brand (we will unpack what that means soon)
  • The 4 forces:: choices, confusion, commoditization, constriction


  • more #choices than ever
  • when the tariff laws started 3 pages. today, 3000 pages
  • 1 brand even sells competing products
  • multi-brand:
  • different positioning in the market
  • dominate the overall shelf space
  • reduce opportunities for competitors to enter the market
  • win market share
  • offer variations: product size/quantity, fragrance, specific application or solution, bundles, etc
  • #Examples:
    • Unilever soap: Dove men+care 18, Axe 26, Caress, pond’s, Lever 2000, St Ives, Suave, Noxzema
    • Unilever ice cream: magnum, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Klondike, good humor
    • Nestlé: Dreyer’s, Haagen Dazs, HDHB, Edy’s, Nestle ice cream, skinny cow
    • P&G (laundry only): Bold 2 in 1, Cheer, Dreft, Era, Gain, Tide, Febreze?
  • What’s the point? We are flooded with #Forces/Choices


⁃ with so many option from just one brand (18 Dove men’s care products, 26 Axe, etc)

⁃ so many different options per brand

⁃ so much shelf space

⁃ it’s hard to tell the difference between the choices

⁃ this leads directly into the next problem


  • there is no easily discernible difference between options
  • to tell someone their product is a commodity says
  • you have no differentiation in the marketplace
  • one is just as good as the other
  • these are deadly
  • but, the fact is, the difference between products/options is harder to discern
  • advances in technology mean differences can be copied (and improved) quicker than ever
  • the product innovation cycle is so fast now that even in cell phones we know that there will be a new iPhone every year, and we know apple’s competitors will try to one-up the new iphone just weeks or months before the announcement. (this applies to almost every market)
  • companies are essentially saying: anything you can do I can do better
  • copying is easy. there used to be incredible value in innovation, and now it almost seems more viable to be a good copycat


  • flooded with choices
  • confusion over what the differences are
  • all of the possible choices look like they are about the same
  • AND we have NO TIME to figure out the difference, or what’s best for me
  • the average American receives over 30,000 marketing msgs per week
  • Social media content is consumed on a desktop) in just over 2 seconds; and on mobile it’s about 1.7 seconds (and getting faster)


  • we have no time to process everything
  • yet, most companies are just creating noise!
  • most companies are still talking about themselves
  • we need to create thumb-stopping content
  • scroll-stopping ads
  • need to #Focus
    • #Focus/Separate or stand out
    • #Focus/Engagement
    • focus on #Focus/Experience
    • create #Focus/Meaning
  • In short- relationships #Focus/engagement are key (not one-way streets)
  • end the “if you build it they will come” mentality of #brand awareness#
  • people #Human/Connect with people, not products, services, or even companies.
  • therefore, we need to #Human/Humanize your brand
  • need to develop the #Human/Personal properties of your brand


  • we need to make brands more #human
  • but most people don’t know how, or come up short of it
  • I created a memory device for personalize brands
  • #PERSON:
    • Personality
    • Experience
    • Relevance
    • Separation
    • Offer
    • Narrative
  • I develop, articulate, define the brand personality, brand experience, brand relevance, brand separation, brand offer and brand narrative
  • we will look at each one of these components separately



  • This defines attributes of the brand
  • “who” you are
  • one of the easiest tools
  • brings incredible clarity to the brand’s leadership as well as to your audience
  • Archetypes are not the only tool!
  • personality is KEY. and Archetypes are the fastest shortcut to identifying and articulating it
  • there is a lot of confusion about them, so research it, but you can’t take any one source as if it’s the absolute answer- especially when defining their interpretation of a brand
  • I will make a course specific to outlining these, since it’s such a great tool
  • there are 12. you are one of them, or possibly one main archetype with a sub-archetype
  • you can research it but I don’t agree with about 60% of what I read by other marketers
  • it’s valuable to add it to your focus!
  • these offer countless combinations and variations; endless creativity and opportunity
  • Articulate your brand voice (what you say): the personality of your brand. and the attitude it embodies.


  • Tone
  • Volume


  • Define your brand style (how you look)
  • Impacts many areas of your brand experience:
    • In-store
    • Photography
    • Icons/Graphics
    • Text
    • Colors
    • Layout (UI/UX)
    • and more


  • Identify your brand values (what you believe)
  • Makes you deeper
  • What you care about
  • Simon sinek
  • Care is two-fold:
    • Show that you care about me
    • And show that you deeply care about something. Not just me (stifling). Care about something and that drives what you do. (Behavior)


  • The way you act


Who you are, How you act, How you look, How you speak, What you do, and What you care about.


  • Outline your desired brand experience. Define it. Articulate it.
  • Think about the different channels, how each touchpoint should work together to tell the story of your brand
  • In order to succeed, your defined/desired brand experience must be #Human/human-centric
    • The #Human/human-centric attributes of the brand
    • Intentionally #Human
    • #Human/Emotional
    • #Human/Relatable
    • #Human/Consistent
    • #Human/Personality
    • #Human/Predictable

  • Focus on predictability, consistency, and alignment


Identify your target #audience

  • I am not talking PERSONA’s
  • #Persona comes from the word for mask.
  • That’s exactly my problem, personas are superficial
  • I focus on something
    • More #benefit/relevant
    • More #benefit/connect-worthy
    • #Benefit/deeper, more
    • #benefit/universal
    • and more #benefit/powerful bond
  • And I focus on #Audience instead of customer because you don’t make your brand, your audience makes your brand... not just your paying customers

Define your #Target/Personality

  • Look for areas of relatability between your brand and the target
  • Identify your Target’s PEN
    • #Target/Problem#
    • #Target/Emotion#
    • #Target/Needs
  • Aspirations/ Goals/ Motivation?
  • customer emotions drive purchase decisions (and profitability)


#Separation/Brand Position# How we want to be perceived within the landscape)

How? Analyze the #Separation/Competitive Landscape#

What separates us from our competitors

  • Identify #Separation/differentiation sources#
  • Apply #Separation/challenger strategies#
  • Develop #Separation/Proof points# Support of your claims. Proof Points outline the “reasons to believe” your brand promise and position. They are what set your brand apart from your competitors.


#Brand Promise#


Kevin Systrom when building Instagram...

“What problem are we solving? Share something that people love, and make sure that they feel great about sharing it.”

#Solution (how your company solves your targets’ problems)

  • People buy products and services to improve their conditions in some way.
    • To achieve a state of greater satisfaction.
    • People won't buy your service unless they feel that they will get improvement that more than justifies the cost and trouble of making the purchase in the first place.
    • Focusing your efforts on how your customer is going to be better off is the key to success in advertising and promotion
  • Emotion/Emotional Benefits
  • Functional Benefits: the reasons why people benefit from us

  • There are two questions your audience is seeking:
    • 1. What do you offer?
    • 2. How will it make my life better?

15 BRAND NARRATIVE | Verbal Foundation

There are three main areas when developing your brand #Narrative

Develop your #Narrative/Communications Framework#

  • #Verbs
  • #Modifiers
  • #Sentence Maps#

Define your #Narrative/Brand Story#

  • #Story Structure
  • Since we are wired for #story people process your offering the best in the context of story
  • #Story communicates your brand in an understandable, familiar, digestible format

Develop your #Narrative/Pitch


#PERSONALITY: Who you are.

#EXPERIENCE: How you do it. (what you do)

#RELEVANCE: Who you serve.

#SEPARATION: What makes you different

#OFFER: What you do

#NARRATIVE: What you mean to me


⁃ Questions about the material, ask!

⁃ How it applies to your brand, ask

⁃ /Will try to post exercises keep an eye out /

⁃ If you have a great example of a brand doing something right or wrong (or you don’t know) post it so we can talk about it

⁃ Reviews are helpful! Thumbs up or down, or 5 stars depending on the platform where you are seeing this

⁃ Connect on Facebook

⁃ I have an email newsletter signup on my site

⁃ Skillshare: I follow back

⁃ Udemy


  • what we #believe
  • Care- what you care about, and why I should care about you.
  • 7 P's to marketing mix: Product (service), Price, Promotion, Place, Packaging, Positioning, People
  • Marketing strategy (did I create this??): Specialization, Differentiation, Segmentation, Concentration
  • USP: This is what makes us special.









The investigation phase


Analyzing all of the answers from Discovery, looking for alignment and misalignment, reporting to the client.


Determining the best opportunities for Brand Identity and Brand Position in light of the results from Discovery and Analysis


Creative direction for campaigns, graphics, copywriting, videos, and more


The process of producing assets (video production, graphic design, copywriting, and more)

The goal of Discovery is to develop the #personal properties of brands. Humanizing brands has many powerful benefits, including

  • Higher engagement rates
  • Relatability
  • Better recall
  • Brand loyalty
  • Higher margins
  • Brand experience alignment
  • And much more

To accomplish this I identified six factors that are key to helping brands stand out and make connections with their Target Audience.

  • Brand Personality
  • Brand Experience
  • Brand Relevance
  • Brand Separation
  • Brand Offer
  • Brand Narrative

Brand Strategy Development

/Identify differentiation sources /

/Develop proof points /

Apply challenger strategies

Brand Opportunities

Develop your campaign direction

Generate your creative direction

Create your channel engagement plan

Evaluate various influence principles

Analyze emotion-strategies

Focus your marketing on attraction and awareness

Develop your brand meaning

what we care about, what we believe

we need to know that the brand cares about me

and the brand cares about more than me

if it’s just me, it’s stifling

caring about other things brings complexity

more interest

and tells my story