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The Importance of Humanized Marketing in a Data-driven World

If the past 12 months have done anything it’s reminded us just how human we are.

Stripped of human to human interaction, the global pandemic has brought us more in touch with our own humanity, whether it’s through the desire to perform random acts of kindness, reaching out to people, or embracing technology to help us cope with the challenges that the ‘new normal’ brings.

Yet, this new connected world is by no means equal. Dr. Bridgette Bewick, Associate Professor in Psychological Health and Wellbeing at the University of Leeds (UK) School of Medicine, recently stated “The digital world is pervasive but most of us have not been trained in how to manage the digital environment”.

As human beings, we thrive on meaningful interactions, and during these prolonged periods of social distancing, with technology filling the void of face-to-face interaction, there continues to be a craving for deeper connections and experiences.

Brands are also learning how to navigate these new consumer behaviors and patterns, including how to be more thoughtful in their messaging and how to communicate the right message at the right moment.

As a result, we’re seeing a movement towards what many are calling ‘humanized marketing’, with an increasing focus on deeper human signals, including emotions. This is encapsulated in the title of Rishad Tobaccowala’s best-selling book: “Restoring the soul of business and staying human in the age of data”.

Adding that human element across all stages of your customer journey and product lifecycle is key for brands, especially in the current climate.

To help get you started we’ve outlined four tips that we believe are essential in humanizing your marketing strategy.

Cover all screens

The latest Unruly global COVID-19 study found 54% of UK consumers are spending more time watching connected TV (CTV) content since the start of the pandemic.

It also found that 80% of Americans and 76% of Australians now have access to CTV content through various devices.

With consumers choosing to engage with content across multiple devices, advertisers need to cover all screens if they aspire to be where their audiences are, as well as staying both mentally and physically available to them.

Get emotional

Research from Unruly suggests that advertisers can improve their chance of creating something memorable by shaping their video content to produce moments of intense emotion.

As was first revealed in Binet and Field’s study, “The Long and the Short of It”, there’s no more powerful way of building a lasting connection with consumers than through the power of emotions — for long-term brand impact and, indeed, short-term wins.

Earlier this year we used our content testing tool, UnrulyEQ, to rank all of this year’s biggest Super Bowl ads using our EQ Score – a proprietary composite score out of 10 based on a campaign’s ability to not only engage consumers but also drive brand metrics such as brand favorability and purchase intent.

The average EQ score for this year’s ads was 7.6 — 3 points higher than 2020’s average and a higher average than any Super Bowl since 2016. This shows that emotions are running even higher than usual at the moment, further emphasizing the importance that emotion has in advertising.

Lead with purpose

Accenture Strategy’s most recent global survey found that 62% of consumers expect companies to take a stand on current issues such as sustainability, transparency, or equality in the workplace. The closer a company’s purposeful North Star aligns to their own beliefs the better.

Having a strong brand purpose is key in giving your brand a voice and helping people feel connected to it on an emotional level, which in turn boosts key business metrics, including brand recall, favorability, and purchase intent.

Respect culture

Often, we see advertisers presented with a hero brand creative asset that is expected to travel seamlessly from one market to another. This fails to recognize that humans are complex beings and, while we may live in countries next to each other, it doesn’t always mean we have things in common or see the world the same way.

Using Hofstede Insights, Unruly has created a formula for recognizing key cultural and emotional state points of a country or region, such as ambition, curiosity, and identity.

These insights allow brands to optimize their advertising messaging to ensure it travels across borders and to personalize the content to drive better brand favourability or intent to purchase.

To find out more about UnrulyEQ and how it can help your brand be more human, get in touch.