The Human Brand


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Lecture notes based on The Human Brand by Chris Malone and Susan Fiske for Digital Reputation Management course -- photos removed for copyright purposes

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The Human Brand

  1. 1. The human brand Branding people, humanizing brands Karen Russell, University of Georgia
  2. 2. • The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products and Companies • By Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske The Human Brand
  3. 3. Susan Fiske: Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton Chris Malone: marketing consultant; worked with Coke, NBA, Procter & Gamble The Human Brand
  4. 4. Warmth Competence • Kind, friendly, goodnatured • Sincere, honest, moral, trustworthy • Helpful, tolerant, fair, generous, understanding • INTENTIONS • Efficient, capable, skillful, clever, knowledgeable • Confidence, appearance of ability to carry out their work • ABILITY How we judge others
  5. 5. Warmth & competence
  6. 6. USPS BP Brands Hershey’s Rolex
  7. 7. • After 9/11, the U.S. airline industry was in a dire situation • No one wanted to fly Example: SWA
  8. 8. • Three key decisions • No layoffs • No pay cuts • No-hassle refunds for any customer who wanted one Southwest Airlines
  9. 9. • Combined, shed 160,000 employees in the 10 years following 9/11 • Laid employees off because people weren’t flying • Trying to balance supply and demand • Took 10 years to return to year 2000 level of passengers travelling by air Other airlines
  10. 10. Southwest “Big” airlines • In 2003 earned more than all other airlines combined • Best-performing stock • Fortune “Most Admired” lists for years • • • • Results More planes More routes More revenue (less profit) More passengers (if you include overseas)
  11. 11. Repeat patronage does NOT equal loyalty • “As anyone who has been frustrated with the service provided by their wireless carrier, cable company, or the dominant airline at their nearest airport can attest, our continued purchases are typically not a sign of our loyalty. Rather, they are more often a sign that we are essentially being held hostage…” A question of loyalty
  12. 12. Cheap grocery store Trader Joe’s • You have a loyalty card • You are rewarded for shopping there • You don’t enjoy shopping there • You have “loyalty” cards to multiple stores • They don’t offer loyalty cards • You like shopping there, even if it costs more • You are loyal without a loyalty program A comparison
  13. 13. • A relationship-building strategy that involves attracting and keeping customers by consistently putting their best interests ahead of those of the company or brand The principle of worthy intentions
  14. 14. Mess up + fix it with good intentions = most loyal customer • “The best time to win customer loyalty is when you make a mistake.” • IBM executive quoted by Arthur Fink Loyalty formula
  15. 15. We are much more predisposed to trust other people than we realize: our general expectation is to expect good things from someone until proven otherwise Trust
  16. 16. Conditional Unconditional • If we believe the partner is self-interested (like a company) we behave with cautious trust, thinking harder about cost/benefit • Not surprised if betrayed • When we believe the partner has worthy intentions, our brains don’t have to think as hard • But betrayal has a much higher price Types of trust
  17. 17. Lifetime guarantee on everything they sell We think they deserve to be successful Example: L.L. Bean
  18. 18. Shared moral and cultural values = Choboniacs Example: Chobani
  19. 19. Compliance: we go along with a requirement We buy Domino’s pizza because it’s cheap Levels of loyalty
  20. 20. Identification: we feel inspired by the company We buy Domino’s because the CEO admitted it used to be bad and we identify with his brave statement 6jILag Levels of loyalty
  21. 21. • Internalization: we share the company’s values • We buy Domino’s because it exemplifies respect and integrity Levels of loyalty
  22. 22. Based on what you know so far, how would a Groupon deal affect LOYAL CUSTOMERS, COUPON USERS, EMPLOYEES? The Groupon effect
  23. 23. ENTER THE INTERNET How do warmth and competence work online?
  24. 24. • Study of retailers: Sears, Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s • Pattern: customers ranked each brand as more competent than warm, but their websites were rated even more competent than warm than their stores • Online stores seem impersonal, even if efficient and convenient • Retail stores have more opportunities to demonstrate warmth (people, conversations, worthy intentions) Store vs. online
  25. 25. • Research on Zappos proves that websites aren’t automatically lacking in warmth • Zappos actually ranked HIGHER in warmth than in competence, even though it has no physical stores • A company can demonstrate warmth through policies, practices, and website functionality And then there’s Zappos
  26. 26. • Encourages customers to call, email or chat • Highly trained to “Deliver the wow experience” • Prices are the same as retail Zappos customer loyalty team
  27. 27. • Earns high scores for competence • Wins loyalty through low prices, speed and ease • There is no human interaction Contrast: Amazon
  28. 28. “…the mobile, social, and digital age leaves no place for CEOs to hide.” CEOs can *be* the warmth
  29. 29. • AceMetrix research shows that good ads featuring CEOs out-perform other ads in effectiveness • The most effective CEO ads deliver messages that are “direct, trust inspiring, communicate a no-nonsense style” and show the CEO to be “genuine and authentic” CEOs in advertising
  30. 30. __4nlc Example: John Schnatter
  31. 31. • Most CEOs are hired to make money, not to build loyal, long-term relationships with their customers • People who lack warmth and worthy intentions are incompetent to lead in a new, transparent century The problem
  32. 32. Brand stories – “creation myths” (how and why the organization formed in the first place) Humanizing brands
  33. 33. • When people start to think they “know” someone they’ve never met • Horton & Wohl (1956) "Mass Communication and Parasocial Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance,” Psychiatry • One-sided relationships Parasocial relationships
  34. 34. • Brands the world likes