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Be Human: Why brands should embrace their humanity

Human Brand


We believe in empowering brands to be human – this is a methodology that guides our everyday decisions and work here at akïn.

However, what makes a human human is debatable, even amongst the team. Capability of emotions? Responsiveness to external stimuli? Empathy to other human beings? We could go on all day (and trust us, we have)!

Between boxes of pizzas and rounds of Cards Against Humanity, we’ve managed to narrow it down to three basic pillars. These are the three same pillars that form the foundations to our Human Brand Methodology – the core, the body, and the realm.



The core is made up of the things we believe in; the reasons that drive our every action. We see this as the heart: the space where our values and beliefs come into play with our decision-making. These are the things that ground us, that remind us of our purpose and that steer us to staying true to it. Yep, much like Kylo Ren’s pursuit of the Dark Side


body.png Body

Passing quick #judgements and stereotypes has always been part of human nature, made even more prevalent in today’s digital age when ain’t nobody got time fo’ (dis and) dat. The body encompasses all visible aspects of a person’s identity - our outer appearances, our little fidgeting actions, and our choice of insults.



Then comes the realm, or the space in which we exist. Human beings are always in constant interaction with other human beings (unless you’re Matt Damon), and no man can truly be an island. We speak in the same language as those in our realms, constantly seeking to inspire, connect and interact.

That’s also why we like it when non-human things behave like humans, as it allows for us to understand them better.In the advent of digital, we have begun to subconsciously pass these criterions onto non-human beings such as companies and brands. We fangirl over our smartphones, hate our network providers, and think that banks are out to get us. Brands navigate the digital landscapes of today more cautiously than ever, with a constant worry on their minds: “Are our consumers loving or hating our products?”

To which we simply say: embrace being human.

Humans are a familiar sight, and everyone has intimate knowledge of at least one of them (i.e. themselves). That’s also why we like it when non-human things behave like humans, as it allows for us to understand them better. We know this is true, since we talk to our office pets every day.

Be-Human-2-large.pngBrands, on the other hand, are abstract, which make them very difficult to understand on their own terms – so we don't even try to. We talk about brands in terms of their values, their personalities, their culture. We root our understanding of brands in humanity, because humanity makes sense to us.

This may seem natural, and a little duh­, but trust us when we say that not many brands are doing it.

In addition, consumers like you and I are also beginning to view emotional connections as one of our most important considerations when shopping. However, the disjoint here is that the world is currently facing record low levels of trust, with businesses and corporations coming in at the very bottom.

It isn’t looking too good for brands in our little red dot either, as Singapore slips down the trust level index, more than in any other country measured. The reason for our drop? Failing to ‘contribute to the greater good’.

Consumers are increasingly starting to view brands as not just corporate behemoths, but as one that values their customers and the community we co-exist in. Brands are expected to contribute to society as much as they interact with it. Or at least, that’s what consumers like us are expecting of them – to be just like any other person.


Source link: Stream Africa, http://streamafrica.com/al-jazeera-english-launches-global-brand-campaign-africa/


With the dawn of the digital age, opportunities for brands to assume this position have been aplenty in fertile soils, and it’s up to them to embrace their humanity.

So, be human.


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