When it comes to winning customers and garnering brand loyalty, showing your human side is no bad thing.

It sounds obvious when you say it out loud; people don’t like big (or small, for that matter) faceless corporations. If your brand doesn’t pass the Turing test, people are hesitant to invest; both emotionally and financially.

We’ve all been there – we get an automated response or, even worse, no response at all, and our trust in a brand starts to ebb away.

It’s become so much more than that; the bar set by consumers is continually creeping higher and higher.

A friendly response from Adam in the Customer Services team is no longer enough to satiate consumers’ expectations for a brand’s altruism; you need to think bigger and you need to think smarter if you want to sustain and grow brand loyalty.

brand loyalty yoga

Who’s nailing it? 

Take active wear brand, Sweaty Betty for example. They’ve partnered with non-profit organisation Movemeant Foundation for the fourth year running, to put on We Dare to Bare events across the US.

The events, which celebrate all things wellbeing and fitness, were launched to promote body positivity among women, with proceeds funding body-positive, self-confidence building tools, resources and experiences. They help women for whom fitness and physical movement is the gateway to her feeling powerful in the skin she’s in.

“If you can feel that staying human is worthwhile, even when it can’t have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them.”

Being a brand that sells yoga pants which cost more than your weekly food shop, Sweaty Betty could easily fail the consumer Turing test. Big price tag + size 8 models + a concession in Harrods = unrelatable, right?

Wrong. By getting behind a body positive charity and encouraging women to “bare [their] vulnerabilities in an effort to conquer them”, Sweaty Betty have aligned themselves with a very human concern.

They’ve put themselves in the shoes of everyone who’s ever stood in front of the mirror and sighed, or switched a tight-fitting top for a loose one. Humanity, confirmed.

Fail

It works the other way too, as high-street giant H&M can attest to. Back in March, the Swedish fast-fashion retailer was embroiled in somewhat of a media scandal when they entered (if only briefly) into a legal battle with street artist Revok, a.k.a. Jason Williams.

The problems started when H&M released an ad for their line of work out gear, which featured one of Williams’ murals – without his permission. Not wanting people to think he’d created the mural specifically for H&M, Williams sent the brand a cease-and-desist letter. What followed next is an exercise in not showing your human side.


More from saintnicks: It’s been emotional. Creating positive user experiences

Rather than graciously admit defeat and revoke the ad, H&M decided to file a federal lawsuit claiming that Williams had no copyright to assert because his mural, like most graffiti, was created illegally. Not a good move. Shouldn’t we always get behind the underdog?

A huge multinational brand suing an independent artist was never going to fly. There was uproar on social media, among artists and punters alike, and H&M dropped the case just a few days later.

As for their credibility as a brand with a heart? Through the floor.

The takeaway

At saintnicks, we encourage clients to share their simple human truths, be confident with humility, humanity and their vulnerability – to create those genuine connections that make them more open, accessible, and appealing.

Consumers like to know that there are real people with hearts and souls behind the brands they invest in; we’re looking for a deeper connection than ever before. Isn’t it more rewarding for brands themselves to show a little humanity?

As George Orwell so deftly put it in 1984; “If you can feel that staying human is worthwhile, even when it can’t have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them.” Although in this case, the result is strong brand loyalty – and who doesn’t want that?

If you’re interested in learning more about brand loyalty and how we can help take you further, get in touch. Call Imogen Judd on 0117 927 0100 or email imogen.judd@saintnicks.uk.com.