We are all quite aware that the times they are a changing… but it’s worth remembering that there are certain facets of human nature that have not changed.
Over the summer weeks of reflection, I thought it worth putting down some of these “laws of human nature” as a way of refreshing the mind. These 9-and-a-half truths about human nature have their purpose in business and for managers. Brand marketers may enjoy revisiting their editorial calendar in light of these truths. Some are patently obvious, yet one continues to see terrible executions. Which one speaks to you the most? And which one seems most off base?
Human nature … is no walk in the park
Dealing seamlessly with employees and customers is no easy feat to accomplish day-in and day-out. If there is one confounding trait, it is that we are, by our nature, contradictory. We all are living paradoxes, as evidenced by a couple of the “conditions” I identify below. For each condition of human nature, I have proposed a potential action. Enjoy!
- We need to belong, yet be individual Click To Tweet
- We hate to be given a label or put in a box, yet we need to feel like we are part of one or other community.
What to do about it as a brand? Establish a sense of community around shared de facto values; but, in order to recognize the individual, one must effectively personalize communications.
- We like to over-represent ourselves, with a natural tendency to think we are above average
What to do about it? Under promise and over deliver.
- We all appreciate recognition
What to do about it? Treat (and recognize) your employees like you would wish your clients to be treated.
- Men and women are different… really?
Coming from a company where over 75% of our buyers were female and only 8% of the top management were women, sometimes you wonder if we really do understand this.
What to do about it? Marketing to women is entirely different to men. Especially in this socially-enabled world, marketers need to be much more attuned to the spheres of influence, the types of messages and the channels of communication according to the target market.
- We believe we are more objective and honest than we rightly are
What to do about it? Marketers — and institutions in general — have lost the confidence and trust of their consumers. If a brand can become a legitimate source — even the reference — of information, you can help people to be more confident and assured.
- We like good stories
What to do about it? Once upon a time… A bit obvious, but create authentic, engaging and original stories that are relevant for your brand, your customer base and the audience you may be targeting. For greater engagement, create surprise and/or suspense.
- We all have dirty little secrets, even if some seem as clean as a whistle Click To Tweet
What to do about it? Add a little spice to your messaging. I remember well one campaign that we created for Redken. We had the model have a pillow fight in her underwear. Just a little prurient.
- We are curious.
What to do about it? In the realm of getting greater engagement with your audience, providing educational material, tips and tricks is very appropriate. But, try to avoid being too sales-y.
- We don’t laugh enough as adults.
Studies have shown that adults laugh just 3 to 5x per day, as opposed to 100-200 for kids.
What to do about it? Engagement happens through entertainment. Look to provide some enjoyment with a sense of humor. Even banks can have a sense of humour. See this fine Norwegian (DnB NOR) example, featuring George Clooney.
9 1/2. We don't like change... yet we are attracted to that which is new. Click To Tweet
What to do about it? Human beings are filled with contradictions and paradoxes. Innovation is a key driver for business, yet the idea of planned obsolescence, marginal or alibi improvements and delisting of a favorite old product can frustrate if not deceive. The NEW tab is a seminal space for any eCommerce site. But, change the location of the tab and you can cause consternation. So, it’s important to educate and inform along the way. Upfront cooperation and collaboration can make change more enticing.