AUDIENCES ARE, ABOVE ALL, HUMANS
This title may seem obvious, and yet, several companies communicate with their audiences in a generic way or worse, without infusing their personality. So how do you humanize your communications? Here’s an overview.
First, what is humanization? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, this term refers to the human, authentic, and true side of an entity. From a communications perspective, it takes on another meaning: that of highlighting the human side of an organization or a person.
Connecting with others is a fundamental need that is particularly important in the context of the pandemic and the collective awareness built in recent months. Statistics show that 92% of consumers want brands to show them stories rather than ads, and 90% of them mention that they would be more inclined to give a second chance to a more human and authentic organization following a bad experience.
Here are our five tips to humanize your communications.
Involve the management team
Any organizational or communicational change usually starts with management. Involve managers from the beginning and ask yourself what the real personality of your organization is.
Once it has been determined, identify the best person to represent it, both internally and externally. Then, select the best channels to show your human side. An example? Michael Dell, the founder of Dell computers, hosts video chats with his clients on a random basis.
Personalize your communications
With the wealth of data available on your various audiences, personalizing communications matters more than ever. As many as 80% of consumers are more likely to consider a brand for a purchase if it uses personalization.
To do this, segment your audiences and create personas for each of them. This can be done on several bases, including geographic location, interests, and the buying journey. Netflix is a good example: by offering choices tailored to its users’ tastes, the platform makes sure to maximize their viewing time. Closer to home, Lufa Farms, a company that delivers organic and local food baskets to its subscribers, uses social media to target residents in neighbourhoods where their delivery service is available.
Use artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) can also help, surprisingly, with humanizing communications. While 79% of the population prefers to talk to a human rather than a machine, AI can help us analyze the attitude of audiences, identify their consumption habits and interests, and predict their interactions.
Chatbots are a good example of a successful marriage between humans and artificial intelligence. Mastercard uses this tool to interact with its clients, who can directly ask the organization, through instant messaging, how much they spent in restaurants this month, or how much their credit card balance is.
In Quebec, Montreal mayoral candidate Valérie Plante used a personalized text message functionality that allowed citizens to ask her questions directly by text message.
To make your personality better known to your audiences, it is crucial to take a stand on the issues that concern you or that echo your values. It could be an internal situation that needs to be addressed publicly, or it could be public news that aligns with your beliefs. Transparency is now a prerequisite in the eyes of many people, as confirmed by this infographic published by Sprout Social. However, be sure to balance your outings in order to maintain your authenticity, a necessary pillar for any relationship built on trust.
Be funny (a bit)
Laughter triggers the production of endorphins, which can lead to deeper social connections. Everyone loves to laugh! Even the most serious shareholders.
Select the appropriate times when the organization can afford a touch of humour, and make sure you only laugh at yourself and not at others. If humour doesn’t seem to fit your organizational personality, showcase the playful personalities of some of your employees, for instance through portraits.
Humanizing an organization’s communications can be complex as it involves a constant navigation between authenticity and personality. However, this notion is of paramount importance in the era of social distancing and societal reflections. It should therefore be of interest to all communications professionals.