A recent article by Pernell Cox (Director of CX Consulting at Material+), caught our eye. It hit upon some themes we’ve been hammering on our blog in recent months.
The article was entitled, “Enabling with technology, differentiating through humanity.” Sounds like what we wrote about “having a human side” and “bringing humanity into your voice.” This is important because “the need for human touch varies throughout the customer journey” and companies have to “be mindful of” their customers’ “rational and emotional needs.”
Basically, if you lose the humanity in your marketing, it comes off as cold and impersonal, which turns off potential buyers.
We also noted that Pernell writes about the importance of engaging your employees. After all, your employees are your human side and can be the human face of your brand.
He also underlines the need for brands to “be inclusive.” Meaning, “don’t just focus on the CEOs in the ivory tower: you need to co-create with (and learn from) your frontline employees.”
As we’ve pointed out before, giving your employees a seat at the table is one tangible way to demonstrate your commitments to equity and inclusivity. It will also help you attract and retain younger workers.
An important part of keeping the humanity in your branding is treating the actual humans in your company with dignity and respect. That means everyone, not just the C-level staff.
As the world becomes more digitized, it’s becoming at once more convenient and more impersonal. We can get everything we need with the click of a button, but that means there’s less casual human interaction. With Facebook’s recent rebrand as Meta, we’ve been hearing more in the news about the coming “metaverse.” While some people are excited for virtual reality, others are hesitant.
In his article, Pernell notes that people are naturally a little averse and shy to the digitization of everything. The self-checkout is convenient, but a little lacking in human warmth. Counterintuitively, if you move too fast to digitize everything so that you can “personalize” every customer’s experience, you might make their experience impersonal.
Pernell recommends listening to your customers, and your employees, and hearing out their concerns. As you digitize and modernize, make sure you demonstrate to them that you still have their best interests at heart. Don’t move so fast that you lose sight of who and what really matters.
This is how you balance moving towards the future with keeping your “humanity.”
Keeping Humanity in Your Content
If there’s any palpable coldness in your content, it will hurt your ROI. If people can’t relate to it, they’ll disengage. Perhaps more important than any metric is maintaining a human touch in your marketing.
How do you do that?
First, ditch the jargon. If you overuse phrases like “generating fresh content” and “optimizing your CX,” it comes off as strangely cold. I know, I use these terms too. It’s okay to write like that some of the time. But if all you talk about is numbers and acronyms and metrics, your audience will turn away. Use language that speaks to people.
How do you speak to people?
Well, part of keeping “humanity” forefront in your content marketing is remembering to keep it forefront in your content marketing. If you treat it like an assembly line, where you’re churning out “stuff” for faceless automatons to “consume,” people can tell. If you want content that converts – that has a high ROI – you’ve got to keep in mind what you’re actually doing.
What are you doing?
You’re producing articles and videos and graphics (and podcasts, social posts, etc.) that present your audience with the information they need and want in a way that is enjoyable and engaging.
Who is that audience?
It’s not made up of faceless automatons. It’s comprised of diverse individuals. But if you treat those individuals as faceless automatons, they will view your company the same way. Your company isn’t comprised of faceless automatons, either. It’s also made up of diverse people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets.
Which brings us right back to where we started: keeping the “humanity” in your online brand-building. Keeping your human voice human when producing content. Engaging your employees by treating them fairly. Including your employees in your digital brand. After all, the “human side” of a company is made up of all the humans who work at the company.
Ultimately, it’s just less stressful when you stop trying to force yourself to take your natural humanity out of your business interactions. Trust us. If you relax and just “be a human,” you’ll start seeing better ROI in your content marketing than when you just churn stuff out.