In today's competitive education market, standing out is more important than ever. The secret to success? Humanizing your brand.
Put simply, humanizing your brand is well, letting the human light shine through. Consumers are people after all, and people buy from people. As an education marketer, you understand the challenges of reaching and engaging with prospective students and their families in a crowded market. With so many brands and options available, it can be difficult to stand out and create a connection that truly resonates. That's why it's crucial to humanize your brand and bring a personal, relatable touch to your marketing efforts.
Brands that can get this right do it because they’re human, not smarter or better than the rest.
The juicy bit: how you can humanize your brand for (really) effective marketing
A brand might not be human, but its consumers are. And last time we checked, most successful companies are still run by humans! Whether you’re recruiting students for an upcoming program, or looking for subscribers for your new App, a personal touch can be more effective than you think.
1. Have a look at your tone
When it comes to humanizing your education brand, the tone you use in your marketing can make all the difference. The key? Evaluate regularly. Here are a few things to consider when analyzing your brand's tone:
- Are you speaking their language?
Making a personal connection with someone means that you need to speak (or write) in a way that they understand. This means avoiding overly verbose or technical language that might be off-putting or hard to understand. Instead, use a tone that is relatable and easy to follow. People are reading your content to find something to relate to, so give them that.
- Are you using humor?
Humor is a powerful way to create a personal connection with your audience. It can help to break down barriers and make your brand feel more approachable and relatable. Of course, humor should be used thoughtfully and in a way that is appropriate for your brand and audience, but don't be afraid to inject a little levity into your marketing efforts.
- How are you making your audience feel?
This is tricky, because it’s subjective. A good rule of thumb? Read it with fresh eyes. If there is anything you’re unsure of, take it out. Are you making your prospects feel nervous, excited, or empowered? Depending on your goals and messaging, different emotions may be more appropriate. Considering the emotional impact of your messaging means that you can create a brand that inspires action.
Think about it this way. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who seemed to go out of their way to prove that they know more than you? The type who will cut you off mid-sentence, use words that you’re pretty sure don’t really exist, and always one-up you. That uneasy, and sometimes irritated feeling you get is the same as what your prospects might feel when reading something that appears robotic, and out of touch.
2. Really tell your story
Let's be honest: nobody wants to connect with a faceless, nameless corporation. People want to connect with other people. And that's why sharing your story is one of the best ways to humanize your education brand.
Your story makes your brand unique – your history, your mission and values, and the people behind the brand. Sharing your (raw) story gives your audience a glimpse of the human aspect. You show them that there are real people with real passions behind your brand and that you're not just some impersonal company trying to sell them something. Your story can be a powerful tool for connecting with your audience. It can be effective in establishing trust and credibility. It also gives your brand a sense of personality and authenticity. The more your audience gets to know you, the more likely they are to stick around and become loyal customers.
3. Have a conversation
If you want to humanize your education brand, it's not enough to just put out content and hope that people will engage with it. You need to actively engage in conversations with your audience. It can mean responding to comments and messages on social, hosting Q&A sessions, and actively participating in industry discussions. All of these conversational elements show your audience that you are listening, that you care, and that you are a real person behind the brand.
4. You need to listen too
Engagement isn't just about talking – it's also about listening. When you engage in conversations with your audience, take the time to really listen to what they have to say. Respond thoughtfully and authentically, and show that you value their input and feedback. This benefits them as much as it will you. Honest feedback from your audience can be used to shape the next winning campaign or program!
5. Focus on their future, and not your past
As an education brand, it's easy to fall into the trap of relying on your past successes and achievements to promote your brand. But if you want to humanize your brand and connect with your audience, you need to be willing to let go of the past and focus more on the future – specifically, on what your brand can do for its customers or students.
Instead of talking about your achievements and history, focus on the future and the impact your brand can have on your audience.
What problems can you solve?
What goals can you help them achieve?
What kind of future can you help them build?
This will show your audience that you're not just a company with a track record – you're a partner in their journey. You show them that you care about their success and that you're willing to help them achieve their goals.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you should completely ignore your past successes and achievements. These can be important pieces of your brand story, and they can help to establish trust and credibility with your audience. But they should be the supporting act, not the main character.
Remember, your audience is made up of real people with real passions, fears, and desires. If you want to connect with them, you need to speak to them on a human level. By following these tips, you can create a brand that resonates with your audience and drives real results for your education business.
So don't be afraid to let your brand's personality shine through. Be human, be authentic, and be yourself – and watch as your brand stands out in a crowded market and attracts the right students to your institution.