Just like two new friends forming a bond, building a brand that develops a rapport with and instills trust in its audience is essential if you want to establish customer relationships that thrive. But transforming into a human brand requires a lot more than a conversation with your employees and an updated comms plan.

Rather, it’s putting the customer experience at the focal point of everything you do – from how you talk to how you act to how you problem-solve. To put your human brand into action requires a customer-centric mindset that is infused across your corporate culture.

Put empathy into action

Nothing erodes trust in a brand faster than a gaping hole between what it promises and what it delivers. For your brand to be more human, it needs to empathize with everyday human needs, human challenges, and human schedules. Much like humans are there for one another, your brand needs to follow suit by exhibiting its flexibility and its capacity to create more autonomous interactions that meet your customers where they are.

Take, for example, Strava – an exercise app that doesn’t just track your runs; it incentivizes you by encouraging you to reach new milestones, tackle inspirational challenges, and connect with other runners who encourage each other to push further.

The platform not only brings an active community together by focusing on what they have in common, but it also inspires them to keep going and stay engaged by empathizing with its users in their moments of need. If the app glitches, customer service representatives are empowered to make quick decisions on their own so they can make things right quickly. Strava was able to humanize its brand because it made its app truly feel like a community that has its back.

Strava has succeeded expertly in cultivating an empathetic culture that its people have adopted. The result is a team of brand advocates that put themselves in their customers’ shoes daily to elevate their experiences.

Embrace a culture of continuous improvement

A human brand that shows it has room to evolve and grow—to become a better and stronger version of itself—builds trust by admitting it’s not perfect, but is committed to continuous improvement.

Your brand should embrace a culture where your people approach every customer interaction as if it could be your last. Whether it’s through satisfaction guarantees that you deliver 100% of the time or exceeding customers’ expectations by solving problems they didn’t even know they had, showing your customers that your brand is always working hard to earn their business proves to them that they’re at the center of your universe.

Think about Uber. Before they came along, summoning a taxi was almost always an uncertain and inconvenient experience. But then Uber made the experience of securing a ride fast and easy, complete with an estimated fare and trip time. And they didn’t stop there. Want a bigger vehicle? Want to save money by sharing a ride? They got you.

Uber adopted a culture of continuous improvement that makes their customers continually feel like VIPs, exceeding their expectations through unexpected offers and an unwavering focus on serving their needs. By striking a balance between reality and aspiration, Uber continues to illustrate that a human brand is 70% authentic to where it is today and 30% aspirational in the direction it’s heading.

Ultimately, the most beloved brands don’t rest on their laurels but instead nurture a culture focused on understanding customers more deeply every single day, and then applying those insights to provide exponential value.

Put your money where your mouth is

When customers experience brands that say one thing but do something entirely different, it never ends in a positive customer relationship. Ensuring how your business ‘talks’ fits how it behaves when it’s actually interacting with customers is perhaps the most critical aspect of humanizing your brand. It’s where the rubber meets the road. Your words and your actions simply need to match.

Human brands keep their promises. They’re open about shifting priorities. When mistakes happen, they own up to them and offer solutions. Human brands connect with people by making human-to-human promises—and they keep them at all costs.

Take Rent the Runway, whose business hinges on customer trust in product reviews, delivery, and item quality for special occasions. If a dress is returned late or damaged, RTR prioritizes timely resolution by offering an alternate dress. Even if your dress arrives on time but just isn’t to your taste, RTR swiftly provides a last-minute alternative. Instead of placing blame on customers or referring to the fine print, they bend over backwards to ensure the customer gets exactly what they want, every time.

Do they lose money on some transactions with this business model? Undoubtedly. But what RTR understands is that in the long run, satisfied, loyal customers are more profitable than margins on individual orders.

Your brand: the connective tissue between your people and your customers

The most beloved brands are the ones that make us feel most human. They nurture relationships and foster community by truly listening and responding with empathy and care. Ultimately, the brands we cherish the most give us a space to be our authentic selves by being theirs.

But humanizing your brand goes far beyond tweaking your ad copy with the right buzzwords and zeroing in on your most lucrative target audience. It’s making a promise to your customers that needs to be kept – and recognizing that promise is only as powerful as the people who deliver on it.

When your team feels connected to your brand internally, they feel empowered to live it and advance it externally. Cultivating a customer-centric culture starts with inspiring your people to bring your brand to life at every customer touchpoint. It’s an ongoing journey that helps fulfill your brand promise and keeps your customers connected every step of the way to help your organization reach its fullest potential.

Are you ready to bring your human brand to life? Send us a note and we’ll be in touch.