A Little Human Touch

Headshot of Andrea Syverson

Premium ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s places a major premium on people. Here’s one of its stated “progressive values”: “We strive to show a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.”

How does your brand show respect for all the human beings inside (employees) and outside your company (customers)? Just how human is your brand?

Many years ago, futurist and author John Naisbitt wrote about the megatrend of “high-tech/high touch.” In my consulting work, I’ve found that companies spend quite a bit of time on the techy-ness of their brands, but not so much on the high touch-ness of their offerings. How much human touch is part of your current brand experience? I believe this is one of the most overlooked aspects of branding, and yet one of the best ways to set your brand apart from your competitors.

What are some ways you can express your brand personality this year? Let’s look at a few ways some companies are creatively leveraging their human touch:

The Food Network has done a brilliant job of allowing its repertoire of chefs to truly be themselves by highlighting their various personality quirks through shows, cookbooks, blogs, magazines and branded product lines. Viewers are given front row seats to the inner lives and cooking techniques of these star chefs. They meet their mates and their children; they visit their favorite shopping haunts; they learn personal tidbits about what makes them tick. From the Barefoot Contessa to Giada to Alton Brown, this eclectic collection of cooking experts provides culinary entertainment and education to audiences hungry for these particular chefs’ views on all things food-related, and sometimes life-related.

Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of creative branding and merchandising consultancy IER Partners. For 20+ years, Andrea’s joy has been inspiring clients with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She’s the author of two books about brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants and ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators. You may reach her at asyverson@ierpartners.com.