Welcome to the Human Era for Brands

These days, more than ever before, brands are behaving like people. It’s all part of a movement on behalf of many brands that want to be seen not big corporate behemoths, but as companies that value their customers as individuals. The latest trend for brands is to be simply “be human.”

 In fact, Jetblue this week announced the launch of a campaign called "Air on the Side of Humanity" focusing on the qualities that make them a carrier that cares about people. "Jetblue was founded on the mission to inspire humanity, it's always been important to us," Marty St. George, JetBlue's SVP-marketing and commercial, told Ad Age.

Still, he acknowledges that the company felt it should now further emphasize the message to consumers in order to help the airline differentiate itself from its larger competitors. The new ad suggests that JetBlue empathizes with how difficult air travel can be today, and it reminds viewers that JetBlue offers award-winning customer-service, free snacks and more legroom:

"There are competitors trying to make the humanity claim," said St. George. "We invented humanity in air travel. It's important to look at our ads and make sure they show our core DNA and say, 'only JetBlue can say that.'

In addition, TD Bank and Liberty Mutual are trying to distance themselves from being seen as institutions, and have devoted airtime to campaigns that tout being "human" as part of their brand platforms. Even agencies are jumping on the bandwagon – just this week an agency called "Humanaut" launched. The shop -- where the chief creative officer is a former CP&B staffer and the lead advisor and investor is adman Alex Bogusky -- says its platform is about exploring how "brands and technology collide with humans."

According to a recent study, the most admired brands listen to the world around them and are open to social influence. They use data to organize their capabilities around an individual's needs, rather than the other way around. In short, the most successful companies have recognized that 'fortress' behavior is no longer an effective approach to interacting with customers or communities.

The site even states, "Of course, we want everything to be perfect. But we're only human. So if there's ever an issue, we'll keep working until we get it right. That's what it means to bank human."

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1st, and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmandaCicc. 

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