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Business is Always Personal. Brands are Always Human.

As a kid, I was instinctively, drawn to stories about overcoming challenges – from the scruffy underdogs, who against all odds, are determined to win (and do), to the little guys who become unexpected heroes when called upon to save the day.

The narrative is compelling. The resolve of the main characters is stirring. And, the universal conflict of right and wrong and good vs. evil is undeniable.

As a marketer and brand strategist, these types of stories have always influenced my perspective on business, they are one of the reasons I enjoy what I do, and they still grab my attention today - now, more than ever.


Because all too often, in a world of digital transformation, the personal charm and wit and feelings that make us all human are lost. You know, those so called, "soft" fringes of our personality that make us unique, interesting and relatable.

The Power of Relatable Characters to Create Human Interest

In terms of great storytelling, these main characters are relatable and most of all, they are human. They are real people.

Real people with flaws. Real people with flaws that find opportunities of self-realization and redemption.

These are real people we all know - have interactions with and root for to win. Quite possibly, these are real people we see staring back at us every day in the mirror.

The Power of Relatable Brands and Businesses is in Being Human and Personable

In relation to our professional lives, what are we doing to create a brand and business that operates and acts more like a real person?

You know, a human being.

One who is constantly working to improve. One who is aware of their flaws and is actively working to make positive changes.

They don’t hold back with making their way in the world, reaching out to connect with others and making mistakes along the way, learning from and sharing with partners, and collaborating with like-minded supporters. Putting it out there without the expectation of getting something in return.

This may be pushing it too far, but hopefully you see where this is going…

Our Digital Transformations Must Be Human-2-Human

When considering our brand and business priorities for 2019, the digital transformations we are all working towards must lead to a more human response and interaction.

In an era when companies are legally equated to people by the United States Supreme Court, it is high time we stop pretending that business is not personal.

The Business of Becoming a Personal Business Must Become Our Professional Passion

Business is personal. It always has been. And, always will be.

Just ask the sole proprietor of a new start-up, or the third-generation family business owner or the CEO of a multi-national company.

Ask the shop steward, or the production line worker, or the desk jockey, all of whom put in the extra hours for the sake of the company, or to maintain their job or to keep the business afloat or to simply know they have done their best.

Oh, business is more than just business. To all of us, from our own unique perspectives, business is definitely personal.

And yet…Why do most companies, when they find themselves in an uncomfortable or unknown situation choose the convenient default position of acting like non-human automatons - appearing all too eager to eschew any recognizable sense of humanity?

In 2019, that mindset must change or we will face disruption and displacement by competitors.

The Irony of Technology as the Catalyst for Humanity

With Technology 2.0, the rise of the machines is accelerating. On the positive side, that means more opportunity for brands and businesses to recreate human experiences.

Through Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Machine Learning and IoT, we as marketers have new tools and mechanisms to create and deliver more human and personable experiences.

How we do that will be as unique and specific as the needs of our customers. By focusing on developing a Customer-In-Control Strategy rather than a brand strategy, we have the opportunity to engage and collaborate throughout the organization to build consensus for change.

Leading with a Customer-In-Control Strategy with respect to cross-channel platforms and throughout a user’s journey will be key.

Commit to a Customer-In-Control Strategy

As we start the new year, do our customers and prospects view our company, business and/or brand as a familiar person they all know?

Do they look forward to interacting with us? Do they enjoy our company and see added value for spending time with us?

If not, we need to discover the humanity of our brand. Find the compelling aspect of our business that makes people want to work with us, collaborate with us and continue buying what we have to offer.

Once that is understood, we will be able to build-out a customer-In-Control strategy that has far reaching implications across the entire organization.


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