The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Act More Human
Businesses have a reputation for being callous and soulless, and this is because they do things that, were a human to do the same, would be perceived as sociopathic. Allow yourself and your committee to make decisions that don’t directly impact the monetary bottom line. Consider it a brand-building exercise if that helps, but recognize that being “good” in the human sense will also be good for your profits down the line.
2. Use Humor
Create humorous articles and post them on your blog or social media accounts. Make light of a recent mistake you made and write about how you overcame it. Find funny content on the Internet and use it as part of your content marketing strategy. People always love a good laugh, and you’ll make your brand more human as a result.
3. Show You Care
If our customers take the time to give us their feedback we take it seriously. We make sure our customer service team responds to everyone. Furthermore, we log all comments (both positive and negative) and when we see patterns in our feedback we are sure to act.
4. Tell Stories
Apple, the most valuable company in the world, tells a story with every product they sell. From their famous 1984 Super Bowl ad to “Here’s to the crazy ones” to selling their latest iPad, Apple creates an emotional connection with stories that are at the core of being human.
5. Add Employee Photos to Your Site
6. Take People Inside Your Office
The simplest adjustment a company can make to create a more human brand is to show its human side! Tell customers about the people behind the company. Ditch the jargon and the veil and let people inside (you can do so literally with a video office tour). Who is the leadership behind the company? What do they believe in? A good example of a company that does this is Mind Valley. They have photos and bios for all of their key staff.
7. Connect Employees to Customers
There is a big push right now around creating employee brand ambassador programs. One way to have a more human brand experience is to connect the employees with the customers. Think about where you would automate or provide some soulless interaction and replace it with a live human being (you can have different people rotate). Have some of your product creators available for Q&As.
8. Put a Face to Your Company
Make a specific person or group of people identifiable to give your company a face. Make their presence consistent, and let people know they can communicate with these real people and not just the company as an entity.
Daniel Wesley, DebtConsolidation.com
9. Reply to Comments on Social Media
Replying to all comments on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social platforms where your brand has a presence is a great way to give consumers a meaningful connection to your brand. For example, if a consumer is taking time out of his or her day to send a message to your brand’s Twitter page, it’s imperative that you reply to let them know that your brand cares about their satisfaction. A tweet might be all it takes to create lifelong loyalty.
10. Cut the Legalese
Do not speak to your customers like they are a liability. Instead treat them like human beings that deserve dignity and respect, especially because they’ll be paying you for your product or service. Even if there’s no cash exchanged, remember that they can easily turn to another provider to fulfill their needs. So make sure you offer a bit of personality instead of coming off as distant and unapproachable.
11. Establish an Emotional Connection