Not long ago, when people were talking about brands, they were only concentrating on functionalities, with the only focus on the product, its qualities, price and overall performance within the market. More recently there has been an emergence of lifestyle associations with brands, with strategies intending to bring the consumer in contact with the product, not for what it does in a functional way, but for what it reveals about the consumer who purchases and wears it. These processes create relationships with the brands and give them unique personalities, just like people, with attitudes and beliefs. There are many names for this phenomenon, call it the ‘Human Era’, ‘Brand Personality’, ‘Animism’ or ‘Anthropomorphism’: It is a given fact that customers can perceive companies and brands in the same way they perceive people, assessing them for the character, attitudes and beliefs. The rise of the human brands has provided most businesses with more thorough abilities to differentiate by valuing, uniqueness, warmth, friendliness and originality of human characteristics.
People have a primacy for warmth and competence and from a purely evolutionary perspective, these competencies are essential for survival as we constantly assess, if people’s intentions are positive or negative. In a world where social media, excessive comfort, overt appeals to status and mistrust in institutions are increasing, it becomes even more important to create genuine relationships, with meaningful connections to customers. In the eye of the consumer the world resembles a chaotic, almost dystopic place. This disenchantment of current conditions increases the need for the human touch and trust. If brands are perceived as human-like, then it can be assumed that psychological studies can be applied to brands as well.
This proofs that the world’s most important aspect of the creation of enduring brands is the narrative behind the brand. Tiffany and Co. for example utilizes a micro- site called ‘What Makes Love True’, in order to market an online narrative to go along with their rings. Harley Davidson’s culture evolves around i.e. bottles that resemblance woman’s bodies or Volkswagen with its Beetle Model: Better known as the ‘Bug’, succeeded in defying traditional conventions of the post-war generation with their living-room-on-wheel cars, representing the children of the rejected generations, which were the rebellious children of the 60’s and 70’s. The car was given the personality of the anticar, with its round lines and cuddly face. The Beetle story also shows what kind of powerful impact the application of human characteristics can have. Bug not only makes people smile, without knowing, but also shows possesses an enchanting personality, almost cute and cuddly, like a pet, with its flower-flare and the bright and funky colours. These attributes are what define the brand’s personality as a car and give it a hert and soul.
In today’s world, social media are useful platforms to give brand personalities a voice to speak up and built warmth and competence around the experience. Creation of devotion and passion around the brand, in order to provide emotional bonds with consumers are the most important tools for humanizing brands. In the era of Human Brands people need to understand that branding is a culture and way of living with the focus on human interactions, with the consumer as the real force and reason for success of the brand. Brands have switched from rationality to the realm of sphere of desire, from objective to subjective. We need to unlock the psychological powers of brands making them for more compelling and relatable. A brand has the possibility to be conspicuous but without a story or a character or any other noise, it has no meaning. It is like a person without a heart and soul, cold, uninteresting, just like a robot.