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More human than human.

Brands take on personalities.

Social and digital media have changed consumer expectations.

Brands are no longer perceived as vehicles for selling. Today, brands are personalities.

They are born and developed with a unique voice. They have distinct thoughts, even a soul. They live and function in the same world as their human architects. They interact and create relationships.

In response, brands must alter the way that they think and act, particularly when it comes to social media.

As a person-to-person platform, social media naturally lends itself to fostering consumer engagement and creating relationships. However, engineering this degree of personality into a brand’s social media presence can prove difficult.

Brands that are able to strategically utilize social media to position themselves as “people” will find that they resonate more profoundly.

To reach consumers on a more intimate level, keep the following in mind.

Pay attention to human instinct. While the use of big data to inform marketing decisions is undeniably powerful, brands must be careful not to replace human insight and emotional capacity—the ability of the brand to genuinely empathize, understand and listen to consumers.

Don’t underestimate the power of casual banter. Brands often opt to give their consumers an ultra-sharable, head-turning experience. But human relationships develop based on much simpler interactions, like casual chats. To this point, brands should not ignore the significance of lighthearted small talk or sharing everyday moments. Repeated positive exposure under insignificant circumstances can forge lasting and loyal relationships.

Recognize that your brand is part of a bigger conversation. We live in a world where brands have become both ambassadors of social change and expressions of consumer values. When a consumer buys into a brand, they are really buying into much more—they are buying into the character of that brand. An old proverb applies here: You are the company you keep. In a sense, consumers are letting their choices of brands speak for them. So what you say is that much more important.

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