Brands are living beings; this may sound odd but it is true.
Brands do everything that living beings do; they breathe, feed, age and if not provided the care and attention they need they can deteriorate rather than flourish.
How does a brand become a living being? It’s the customers. It’s how a customer connects with a brand on an emotional level and how they understand its values.
A brand’s values are part of its persona. A brand’s persona is how marketers decide how it should be represented.
It’s the human aspect of the brand; as this is the part that customers can associate with and communicate with.
The humanisation process of a brand is also known as anthropomorphism.
Through anthropomorphism you are making a brand human-like, enriching it with stories that customers can connect and engage with.
How Apple used anthropomorphic marketing
Apple is a great example of anthropomorphic marketing. The people behind Apple knew they had a good product; they just needed to market it properly.
In one of its first, and arguably most memorable, advertising campaigns they decided to personify Apple in the form of ‘Mac’ (who was played by Justin Long) and the competition was personified in the form of ‘PC’ (who was played by John Hodgman).
‘Mac’ and ‘PC’ were complete opposites. Mac was definitely the charmer, who was smart and witty. PC, on the other hand, was awkward and not too clever.
Top marks Apple. Through personalisation they gave their brand a very likeable spokes-character. Apple customers not only had someone to connect with, but also aspire to be.
Customers knew who Mac was and they wanted to be him.
The process of brand anthropomorphism
How does the process of brand anthropomorphism take place?
Typically there are three steps involved:
Step 1 – Brand Persona (Personification):
This step has really been covered in the introduction, and is an example of how Apple used anthropomorphic marketing.
Through personification customers can connect with brands on a much more personal level.
Customers prefer human brands, and their stories and concepts that go far beyond the price tag. A brand’s persona must adhere to and understand the customer’s wants, needs and desires.
Step 2 – Brand Metaphors:
Living brands have identifiable metaphors that give a true understanding of a brand.
There are various elements involved here such as: stories, characters, imagery, music etc. These elements are all part and parcel of the anthropomorphism process.
For example, ‘Tony the Tiger’, who is the symbol of ‘Frosties’, or the ‘Duracell’ bunny. When we talk about humanising a brand it doesn’t just mean using humans.
It doesn’t just mean using symbols either. It’s all about telling a story that these characters are part of.
Step 3 – Competition:
All brands have to compete with others in the market. Nowadays, no brand is truly unique. Brands need to understand how similar and competing brands represent themselves. Are brands using the same sort of colours, location, melodies, values etc?
Brands that are innovative dare to be different. They are different in what they offer and how they represent themselves.
Take, for example,’ T Mobile’, its competitors use blues, blacks and greens whereas they dare to be different and chose their colour to be pink.
When done right humanising a brand through anthropomorphism can have many advantages. Today, brands need to think beyond the price tag and benefits of their products and services.
What’s important for customers is how they can connect with a brand on a personal level. Can they resonate with a brand’s values and beliefs? Customers that can connect are also loyal, and brand advocates.
Now isn’t that something worth working towards with your brand?Back to case studies