Brands breathe, feed, age, and sometimes vanish with time if not provided the care they need to flourish. A brand has persona when a customer connects with the brand emotionally. This humanization process of brands is termed as anthropomorphism of a brand, to make it human-like, giving it a face, enriching it with stories, and connecting with customers who have congruent characteristics with it.
Brand Persona :
A brand persona can be expressed well in a character or icon representation and is based on the customer’s lifestyle. Customers prefer human brands, their stories, and the concepts.
A Harley Davidson biker is on the road all-time, in packs and groups, looking to explore, roaring for freedom, independence, and unity. Brands can create a culture where the soul of the brand is the representation of its character.
Brand Metaphors :
Brands when they are alive, have identifiable metaphor which enables connection and communication with the customers.
For example, the Michelin man, the McDonald’s clown, the owl of TripAdvisor, Mickey and Mini mouse of Disney and the cheetah of Cheetos. Humanizing a brand doesn’t mean using only humans as a symbol or using any symbol at all. It is all about the story which the brand has – the character representation is part of the storytelling process.
The Competing Brands :
Brands do not live in their own world. They choose to be different in all ways from other brands in the market. It might be a colour, a location, a specific type of melody, the use of a particular scent, and so forth.
Apple as a brand caters to innovative customers who chose to be different in many ways – including the choice of their brands. It is very convenient for an Apple customer to use a Mac computer representing their innovative nature and capacity to digest complexion and produce the best of results.
What can go wrong with brand anthropomorphism?
When providing human-like capabilities to a brand– we grant the brand value and moral. An anthropomorphic positioning of a brand can have negative repercussions as well if the brand is perceived responsible for its wrongdoings.
In 2008, M&M’s received negative publicity when traces of melamine, a poisonous substance, were found in M&M candies.
At the end, brand anthropomorphism can be a double edged sword, if making brands more humane can create connections and engagement with the customers it can as well allow more liberty for judgement as viewing the brand as a human.