It’s becoming increasingly important for modern businesses to make human connections with their customers.
Digital technologies and concepts like process automation and data analytics have a vital role to play in the corporate environment, of course, but when it comes to building your brand and nurturing meaningful, long-term audience relationships, the human touch is essential.
One sector where this is particularly evident is beauty, an industry where the brand is everything. Building your brand on the basis of human engagement and understanding of your customers can lead the way to long-term success in this competitive sector.
The Glossier Approach
Glossier is a powerful example of a brand that has achieved great success with a marketing and communication strategy that places a strong emphasis on humanity and relatability.
The company is a relatively new player in the beauty and cosmetics space, having been launched in 2014 by entrepreneur and former Vogue styling assistant Emily Weiss. Over the course of just five years, Glossier has expanded into a business with more than 150 employees in three countries, and revenue that was forecast to pass $100 million (£81.6 million) by the end of 2018.
According to the report, one of the key lessons growing beauty businesses can learn from the company’s methods is the value to be gained from treating customers like friends. Much of Glossier’s approach stems from its origins as a content platform, which built a community and created products to meet members’ needs.
The brand often uses relatable language and light-hearted content to strengthen the human connections with its audience, particularly younger consumers who are less likely to be moved by the traditional advertising methods used by some of the well-established names in the industry.
“It’s important to humanise your content to set yourself apart from more straight-laced, corporate brands that take a harder line to online advertising,” the report authors write. “Speaking to your customers on a personable level encourages a personal connection with the brand.”
Building Brand Humanity
Separate research has provided insights into exactly what it means for brands to achieve human engagement with customers, and what businesses can do to make these connections.
Braze, a software firm that specialises in mobile marketing automation, teamed up with Forrester Research to create the Brand Humanity Index, which was based on a survey of more than 3,000 consumers. Respondents were asked to think of a recent experience with a brand, report whether or not it felt human, then rate various functional and emotional attributes based on how well they aligned with their experience.
The findings showed that 33 per cent of brand humanity comes from prompting emotional responses in customers. The brand attributes found to be most important to consumers were:
A similar level of importance (31 per cent) was attached to being perceived as personal and considerate, which comes from customers feeling confident a brand knows them and understands what really matters to them.
At an event introducing the study, Dipanjan Chatterjee, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, underlined the importance of businesses having empathy, even in an age when digital technologies allow consumers to have strong brand relationships without ever engaging with a company face-to-face.
“Remember, at the other end of the device is a human being, with her hopes and aspirations, with her trials and tribulations,” he said.
Understanding and Communication
Developing a deep level of understanding of your customers and knowing the most effective ways to communicate with them can prove particularly important in industries like beauty and fashion, where the products you’re selling are closely linked to issues such as people’s self-confidence and sense of identity.
In an article focusing on successful women and how they got their start in the beauty sector, Byrdie spoke to Annie Tevelin, founder of SkinOwl, who stressed how vital it is to have human understanding.
“I learned so much about people just from asking about their skin or what lipstick shade they were looking for,” she said. “At the end of the day, if you understand people and their myriad of personalities, you can earn their trust.
“Once you earn trust, the sky’s the limit.”
A sense of understanding between brands and customers is closely linked to businesses’ capacity for natural communication. The Braze/Forrester research found that 36 per cent of brand humanity stems from the company’s ability to speak like a regular person, in a tone that resonates with consumers.
Coming up with marketing content and communications that feels natural and completely appropriate to your target audience can be particularly challenging when you are operating internationally.
To find out how Locaria can assist in your efforts to grow without losing your brand appeal, give us a call on +44 (0)20 3948 6800.