• C.E.K. & Partners

Beyond Transactions – Do You Need to Humanize Your Brand?



We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – brands live in the hearts and minds of people. This includes B2B companies When making decisions, people are influenced by both rational and emotional factors. B2B companies aren’t solely defined by what they sell, but they tend to focus on the rational benefits. As an Atlanta-based B2B and B2C full-service agency, C.E.K. & Partners counsels and builds brands for B2B and B2B companies that more meaningfully connect with their customers. In other words, we help companies infuse emotion into their brands, moving them from talking in industry jargon to communicating in a conversational manner like people do.

We’re in the Human Era

We’re in what has been dubbed the Human Era. Brands are moving from institutional to more human; after all – your ideal customers are people. Sure, they can identify what you offer, but how can you help them understand why they should select your company – in what might often be perceived as a sea of sameness when it comes to benefits, features and even point of difference.

Humanizing B2B companies' brands has become increasingly important in categories such as financial services and healthcare, which tend to have lower Net Promoter Scores (NPS) due to the confusion and frustration often associated with healthcare and financial services which is still recovering from high-levels of consumer mistrust.

Is Your Company Exhibiting Human Behaviors with its B2B Marketing?

An Ad Age[1] article provides questions your company should ask itself to help determine if your B2B company is acting more like an institution or a person. If you answer yes to most of them, regardless of the industry you’re operating in – you have work to do.

  • Do you send emails that have “Do Not Reply” addresses?

  • Do you measure your call center on how quickly they get off the phone with customers?

  • Do you make money in ways that customers don't know about?

  • Do you steer people away from the product that makes the most sense for them and drive them to the product that's most profitable for you?

  • Do your leaders avoid unscripted speech?*

  • Do your company and its employees feel uncomfortable apologizing when a mistake has been made?

*Note: we adjusted this from scripted to unscripted.

What Traits Do Human Brands Possess?

According to the Ad Age article,[2] human brands express customer empathy, talk and act like people, and empower individuals. We’ll add to that – they delight and surprise and communicate with passion.

One example is TD Bank's human brand platform. We love how their website says: if

something matters to humans, it matters to them. “Wherever you are, we're the