Keep your key messages human

Newspapers report projected targets of gold medals at sports events.

Better newspapers report the athletes to watch.

Which one do PR practitioners want to appeal to?

By focusing key messages on human factors, brands can leverage on the following 4 outcomes:

1.Ease of building brand relationships
One sure-fire way to make your brand more endearing and facilitate positive engagement with consumers is to have key messages that relate to them and which they can relate back to. The Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Credo is one such key brand message that clearly state the people-oriented nature of their business. While communicating such human-centered messages, constituents will be more ready to respond to any message put forward by the brand, for example advertising messages.

2. Greater tolerance of brand shortcomings
Human beings are more compassionate toward their fellow rational beings. During a crisis, publics respond more favourably when the key message of a brand is focused on the stakeholders that contribute to it. Emotional attachment can soften the impact of a factual shortcoming, preventing loss of faith and confidence in a brand among consumers and investors. The goodwill fostered between J&J and their customers helped the brand bounce back strongly the Tylenol crisis. Likewise, a football team dedicated to people development, like Arsenal Football Club for example, can divert fans from getting hung up on results and hence foster an internal culture of goodwill and patience that brands can learn from. Success can then be spurred from this internal goodwill – Google and Starbucks show us that.

3. Increase brand equity
By keeping key messages human, brands can leverage not only on brand equity of the brand itself, but on the equity of the many personal brands that can help create a whole much bigger (and friendlier) than its parts. Human interest has long been an integral part of the journalistic news value; much like how a story with a moving, human angle can attract readers and give substance to a news publication, a brand with human-centered key messages is a brand that can successfully tap upon the intangible assets of its individual constituents.

4. Differentiation of brand from competitors
Human key messages are a good way to distinguish a brand from its competitors. What makes the Barclays English Premier League (EPL) so popular over other accomplished football leagues in Europe? It is the emphasis on the players that make up the league. Official television programmes like the weekly EPL highlights do more than just show the game, but also invites viewers around the world to a sneak peek into the lives of footballers where other league programmes do not. Football fans are fans of the EPL by virtue of longtime identification of the personality of the teams, managers and players created and sustained by the media, so brands should not neglect the human aspects of all brand touch-points.

These outcomes can protect a brand with human key messages to a great extent from the impact of market forces, while serving to strengthen existing brand attributes. Focusing on making key brand messages human can go a long way to help ensure a brand’s survivability in the long run.


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