The focus for tech brands is often on, understandably, the tech.
Brands funnel huge amounts of research, development and investment into products and services to make them more capable, more innovative, a bigger sell for customers, and a bigger differentiator from competitors. While the technical details are undoubtedly a crucial part of a product or service, and in setting it apart from what else is on the market, humanising the brand is essential for tech brands in connecting with their audience.
This topic formed the basis of our recent roundtable with BusinessCloud, which explored how retailers are embracing new tech and AI, but crucially, why there is still room and requirement for the human touch.
The advent of AI
The rise of AI has arguably made the human touch all the more important. AI has quickly become a key focal point across many different industries and areas of business, and as Chat GPT marks its first anniversary, discussion around the use of large language models (LLMs) and various other AI applications show no signs of slowing. Many tech brands have been incorporating AI into their products or services to bring new speed, convenience, insight, revenue streams and experiences for customers.
Yet, because the inner workings and capabilities of AI remain a mystery for many, it can be viewed as an extraneous and intimidating concept, and make audiences feel distant from your brand and product. For this reason, it’s crucial to build up a solid understanding of your audience: their wants, needs and drivers, the spaces they occupy, and how they like to be communicated with.
Work back from your audience
The way you communicate with your audience, and the technical depth you incorporate, will largely depend on who you’re pitching to. If you’re selling into a large retailer, for example, the people you’re talking to aren’t always going to understand or particularly care about the technical ins and outs of your product or service. They want to know exactly how it would benefit their business and what they’d get out of it.
However, if you require buy-in from people in very technical roles, you’ll need to be able to relay the key information, with the required technical depth, in a way that resonates with them and gives them the knowledge and confidence to make a decision. While this will inevitably require more specific detail and jargon, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the people you’re communicating with are still human, with real interests, emotions and experiences outside of their job. Buying decisions are rarely made on product alone, and decision makers need to like and buy into the brand and the people behind it.
Humanising your brand
Establishing your brand personality, and ensuring it connects and resonates with your intended audiences, is key. It needs to be authentic and consistently reflected in your messaging, marketing and comms.
To help people connect with your brand, consider:
Storytelling – sharing the stories behind the brand can be a great way to give it depth and demonstrate real passion. Think about why the business was set up – what challenge or gap in the market did it set out to address or fill? A business’ backstory or journey can resonate with key audiences and encourage them to buy into the mission.
Show the people behind the brand – the people that started or make up the business form a big part of the brand, and bringing them front and centre of comms and content can help it feel more real and authentic. LinkedIn is becoming increasingly important in owning and sharing a narrative, and many tech founders are harnessing the platform to share their journey, wins and challenges. Use people-led images and videos to drive engagement and help the audience feel more connected.
Case studies – show your audience how your product or service can benefit businesses like theirs by showing real applications and evidence-based results. Communicate simply and clearly what the application of the tech really means for them and their customers. Bring it to life wherever possible with high quality images, video and client testimonials. While it’s important to be able to differentiate your product and service by demonstrating technical innovation and capability, the real value comes in recognising and addressing the ‘why’.
Successful business relationships are based on meaningful connections. People buy from people, and humanising your brand not only helps to communicate the real ‘why’ behind your service or product, but it can help to establish trust and transparency with your audience – a crucial foundation on which long-lasting relationships can be formed.
While AI is becoming increasingly versatile and sophisticated, real human connection is – for now at least – best left to the humans.