Three Human-Centric strategies for effective communication
Table of Contents
In the marketing world, it is common to focus on demographic factors matched to category behaviour (who buys what). However, to truly comprehend customers and to understand the reason behind their purchases, we must delve deeper. We need to understand people’s lifestyle and values.
Recognizing the human side of each consumer represents the foundation of a human-centric strategy.
This approach involves gaining a comprehensive understanding of individuals, analysing them at 360°. This includes consumption behavior across categories, passions, lifestyles, fears, values, and aspirations.
Successfully applying it in the context of communication and marketing, to engage the audience and translate it into tangible sales, can be a complex challenge. Therefore, it is important to focus on three human-centric strategies:
- Understanding the pain points of the target audience
- Balancing functional and emotional benefits
- Never forget that (most of) you are in the for-profit business: thus, at the end of the day impact on the P&L should be positive
Let’s dive deep and discover these three human-centric strategies!
Understanding the pain points of the target audience:
The first key to successful human-centric communication is to deeply comprehend the pain points of the target audience. Pain points are specific problems or worries they may experience along their customer journey.
For example, consider the segment of “Alternatives” in the category “apparel”.
First, let’s understand who alternatives are as people. They are curious by nature and into cultural activities, value authentic relationships, and prefer quiet venues to nightclubs. They exhibit a unique style and a strong commitment to political and social issues, often actively participating in protests and volunteering to make the world a better place.
A significant pain point for them when it comes to the apparel category is the environmental impact of fast fashion.
They typically prefer brands and companies that embrace a green and sustainable philosophy. A brand that aligns perfectly with this ideal is Patagonia. Patagonia’s strength lies in its ability to share the environmental concerns of its audience. In fact, they consistently address these issues in its promotional campaigns and product production processes.
Patagonia is a certified B Corporation, adhering to rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. The company has put in place many initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, such as using recycled materials, employing environmentally responsible factories, reducing carbon emissions, and supporting environmental organizations.
An example of Patagonia’s commitment to addressing climate change can be found in its advertising campaigns.
One of the most famous examples is the “Don’t buy this jacket” advertisement, released on Black Friday, November 25, 2011. The primary message was to encourage consumers to think twice before making a purchase, as everything they buy has an environmental impact, and reducing consumption is essential for the planet.
Patagonia is also actively engaged in political and social issues and has shown support for young environmental activists during protests.
During 2019, the company closed all its offices and stores to allow employees to participate in climate strikes. In the United States, with the “Facing extinction” campaign, Patagonia demonstrated its unwavering support for young activists.
In September 2022 Yvon Chouinard (former owner of Patagonia) went so far on its mission that decided to transfer 100% of the company’s voting stock to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created to protect the company’s values and 100% of the nonvoting stock to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.
The funding will come from Patagonia: each year, the money the company makes after reinvesting in the business will be distributed as a dividend to help fight the crisis.
With such an action, Alternatives could not be happier. If they already supported the brand, now they just turned into extremely loyal brand ambassadors.
Keep reading to discover all three human-centric strategies!
Balancing functional and emotional benefits:
The second critical element is a good balance between functional and emotional benefits. A successful brand should offer high-quality products or services while also establishing a deep emotional connection with the audience.
Returning to the example of Patagonia, the brand not only emphasizes its environmental commitment but also guarantees high-quality products that, with proper care, can last a lifetime, as highlighted by its “Quality for Life” slogan.
Another brand which found a perfect balance between functional and emotional benefits is Sodastream.
On the functional side, their appliances allow you to enjoy fresh, sparkling water or other delicious drinks and juices whenever you feel like it, without leaving your home and without having to carry heavy plastic bottles. All of this, while saving time (no need to rush to the conveniency store when you are out of sparkling water bottles) and money (it’s considerably cheaper to carbonate your own water instead of purchasing pre-made bottles).
On the emotional side, for years the brand has led by example in the fight vs plastic waste. Going beyond pure environmental advocacy, Sodastream strives to transform the way people consume and perceive water.
Doing the good thing does not need to be boring. Sodastream allows you to contribute to saving the planet while adding sparkling moments of fun to even the flattest days. Refreshing, both in terms of taste and in terms of energy it brings!
Never forget that (most of) you are in the for-profit business: at the end of the day, impact on the P&L should be positive
Not all of us work in Patagonia and at the end of the day. While following a purpose and adding value to the community is great, we also need to report to the Board, who is interested in the tangible results of the P&L.
David Ogilvy once famously said: “Give me the freedom of a tight brief.” As counterintuitive as this might sound, the more focused you are on a precise customer profile and the deeper you know it from a human perspective, the easier it is for creatives to unleash their creativity. This will create emotional and engaging marketing campaigns that connect brands with the hearts of customers and generate a significant sales increase. Win-win for all: for customers who get what they want how they want it and for the board who can see the P&L skyrocketing!
We hope these three human-centric strategies inspired you. If you’re interested in knowing more, click here!