I cant help but giggle to myself that the “new" word in marketing and business today is human. It's like helloooo we've been human since we first walked on this planet!
But why have we been using the word 'human' so much lately?
Because the business world is waking up to the realisation that we have been living in a time of dehumanisation.
Michelle Maiese, Professor of Philosophy at Emmanuel College Boston defines dehumanisation as “the psychological process of demonising the enemy, making them seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment.”
In business we don’t have to look too far to see this happening, trolls on social media, memes of political figures, and what shocked me more that anything, how friends treated friends around the Brexit vote.
We are hiding behind our screens and dehumanising people… whether in politics, on social media or a caller on line 4, we are treating people like a number on a spreadsheet, like a emoji on the internet, it's easy or easier to dehumanise someone when you don’t see them as human.
However, get up close and personal and it's VERY difficult. You try looking into a mothers eyes who simply wants the best product for her child and has been disappointed, try giving her bad service then. When we look, really look, that caller, that customer, that politician is a human being just like you or I. They have worries, anxieties and insecurities. They love like you, they hurt like you, and they are just trying to do their best, just like you. When we see the human for who they are it’s almost impossible to dehumanise them.
But what effect does that have in business? Dehumanisation sounds a bit negative and sad, but luckily there is a movement in business to be more human. And when we do, life and business is much more fulfilling.
The Benefits of Being Human in Business
Being more human makes us better marketers and sales people.
Although we are each very different, we are also very much the same. We are all humans, and have the same innate human needs. In fact there are 6 of them (thanks Tony Robbins).
The 6 human needs:
- Certainty & comfort: The need for safety and stability, knowing there is a roof over your head and you have a job to pay your mortgage. Determine how risk averse your audience is and tailor your pitch or wording. If they are risk averse suggest a free trial or a starter package, whereas if they seem to be willing to take risks suggest the 12 month contract.
- Variety: It’s the spice of life! Provide people with fresh unexpected opportunities to grow their businesses or personal development.
- Significance: Everyone wants to feel valuable, needed and different. Make them feel important.
- Love & connection: Relationships and communities make us human. Connect with humour and have a laugh with them, or make them feel loved and part of your tribe.
- Growth: It gives people true fulfilment. How can you help your customer or prospect grow?
- Uncertainty: The anticipation of the unknown keeps things interesting and exciting.
The more interactions between brand and customer hit on these human needs, the more engaged the person will be. It really is that simple. Its social science not rocket science.
Humans are at the core of the business world. They run the companies who create the things we buy, and they buy the products and services our businesses sell. They are not a number - they kiss their kids in the morning and pick up dog poo in the afternoon. So treat them like the human they are imperfectly are, trying to be the best version of themselves just like you.
So no matter the AR, VR chat bott stuff. Variety, certainty, significance, growth, contribution, love and connection is all you need your customers to feel to be successful in business.
"Its social science, not rocket science."
Make your customer feel special and significant. This ones easy, we all love to feel special, significant and like we are the only ones that matter, we know this in romantic relationships, where has it gone in business? Let's bring it back.
Mix it up with variety, talk to them in different ways, offer them different products, keep it new and exciting.
Help them grow, don’t just sell them "stuff" inspire them, add value to their lives in ways that transcend your product or service. Help them be the best human they can be.
Make sure they are certain they can rely on you and trust you.
Give a damn about the planet and people, show you are contributing and get them to join in so they can contribute too.
Show them you love them - I did a whole talk here called what's love got to do with it.
Top tip - if you find yourself treating your customers as numbers or dots on a chart - print their faces out all over your office, invite them in with their partners, kids, dogs etc. Go and meet them.