Why ‘human brands’ are a terrible idea

Brands are made for and by humans. Their greatest wish is to connect with humans. So why do they find it so difficult?

From jarringly, chirpy social media personas to painful customer experiences and misguided content, brands’ (and, let’s face it, agencies’) attempts to ‘be more human’ often make us cringe. And now, algorithms and big data means brands know more about us than ever before, and with this, their opportunities to ‘act human’ have multiplied exponentially. But in many cases, they’re failing: either to be convincing or in adopting the right aspects of humanity. And in doing so they become clingy, nosey or just plain creepy.

In this presentation, originally delivered at Eurobest 2016, I explain the paradox brands face: the more brands try to be human, the more they risk alienating the humans they so want to connect with. So can brands be ‘more human’? Or more importantly…should brands be more human?

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