Many of us have gone through the exercise of humanizing a brand; where you are asked if your brand is (for example) a PC or a MAC, a 4×4 or a sportscar, a suit and tie or jeans and a tee-shirt. You are taken through this exercise to give your brand human characteristics that are then used to determine your brand’s tone, look, and feel.

Why is it essential to determine a brand’s human characteristics? Quite simply because we are in the era of human-to-human communication; conventional business-to-business and business-to-consumer communication is dying as more and more focus is put on emotional and functional communication that engages a human (not businesses and consumers).

Consumers of the past were accepting of one-way communication; they would receive a message through advertising and make a decision. Humans of today do not accept one way communication, they want to be heard more than they want to listen. They want to engage, respond, review, and make their feelings known. Their demand for dialogue (two-way communication) has forced brands to put more focus on creating emotional bonds and on giving reasons to believe.

Still don’t believe me? Take two competitive brands, both giving you the exact same functional benefits, prices and quality. Yet one brand actively participates in protecting the environment and the other doesn’t. Which brand would you (as a human) connect with

Many of businesses target other businesses, but decisions are made by humans (general managers, purchasing managers, etc). Yes, I know, those humans will follow a procurement policy when making a decision, but they are still humans and being able to connect with a brand will always sway their decision. Across businesses, there are people who represent us and help drive in new business and maintain existing business. The most successful of them are the ones that show human characteristics that the person sitting on the other side of the table can associate to. I am not belittling here the strength of the brands represented as that is surely a significant strength, but when paralleled by a human connection, that strength is multiplied.

The era of human-to-human is upon us.