Monday, July 4, 2011

Marketing trend: Brands presented as people

Tracy Harber from Google recently wrote an excellent piece on Adnews´ NGen blog about how brands are turning their brands into humans in order to connect with... humans :) I think it´s an interesting concept; brands are becoming like family members (read the blog post on how our brain actually believes brands are like family) and we interact with them, identify ourselves through them and live with them as if they were best friends. A part of our life. A part of us. 
This branding trend is moving the marketing world away from logos to the people behind it, from surface to content, from looks to personality. I bet it will change the way a brand finds its way into a person´s heart. We all know what happens when we drop the obsession with a hot body and start searching for the one with the good sense of humour - when we stop searching flings and start looking for LOVE...

Some examples from Tracy´s blog post:

- Expedia is launching a new global brand campaign with the tagline ‘People Shaped Travel’. According to tnooz, the idea behind the campaign is to show potential and existing customers the human side of the company. Whilst its competitors use the age-old imagery such as beaches and palm trees, this campaign uses members of staff that work for Expedia to highlight the unique benefits of booking through the online travel agent. This could be the edge that Expedia requires to take the lead from, a strong force in the Online Travel Aggregator domain.

- The recent logo change of ANZ bank was said to ‘humanise’ the brand by giving the design properties that made it look more like a human character with its arms outstretched. This ‘humanisation’ cost ANZ an initial $15 million, and coincided with the trend of banks repositioning themselves in order to ward off negative public sentiment during the global financial crisis. Their new tagline ‘We live in your world’, served to reinforce the human side of the bank. Despite criticism of the new brand, six months later, ANZ posted a 36 per cent rise in first half profit and most recently revealed a 23% increase in underlying profit for the six months leading up to March 2011 compared with the previous corresponding period.

- Apple personified their product in human form as a younger, trendier and laid-back guy, with direct comparison to the PC who was personified as old, out-of-date, and out-of-touch.

- AAMI, an insurance company that has featured a young girl in its logo and all its branding since 1976, has become a highly respected Australian firm. They updated the face of their logo five years ago to find someone fresh who ‘conveyed a friendly, approachable and credible presence – the same attributes we want customers to associate with the AAMI brand’.

- BankWest launched a campaign two years ago which saw animated characters with real voices talking about what makes them happy, which effectively positioned the bank as empathetic to the human needs.

Leo Burnett presented similar thoughts at the Cannes Lion festival (unfortunately the book was tooooo heavy to fit in my bag) Their theory was that we need to go from "speaking consumer" to "speaking human"; marketers have to start talking to people as people, and not some mysterious "market". True!

I think it´s fabulous that focus shifts from the product to the user, from the brand to the people, from what you wish to say to what they will listen to. It means the marketing and advertising community is starting to truly respect people, and by doing so they can build long term relationships.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. From @HURIMOZ to @love_branding

    I guess "Humanized" branding is part of the current global trend of moving away from macro-branding.

    Industrial companies understand they must revert to more intimate branding strategies.

    Did you see Imperial Leather's latest ad campaign ? We're smack dab in!
    Have a look at it


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