A meme currently doing the rounds says, “It’s no more B2B or B2C. It’s H2H: Human to Human.”
Of course, that has always been true.
When we talk about a company doing something, we’re talking about decisions taken by top management, and the actions and implementations executed by the entire team based on that strategy. A business may be a legal entity in its own right, but it is the people who run it and form part of it who relate with vendors and customers.
A good brand strategy – or more likely in a start-up or small business, the top dog’s personality and ideals – will define a company’s persona. But whether or not that comes across depends on its employees’ words and deeds. What customers think of your business will depend on their personal interactions with people who work there. It’s the humans who make their stamp on the organization, even when operating within stringent organizational standards and procedures.
We know the mantra that it’s all about how you make people feel. That’s a powerful factor in winning deals. When shopping around for kitchens, for example, there were many attractive options available to me; great looking kitchen components with all the flexibility needed to custom-build one for my space. So my final choice wasn’t based on the quality of the cabinetry – most vendors could pretty much supply the same thing at the same price range. For me, it was simply the designer who took that little bit extra time, added that little bit extra flourish, but more importantly, made a connection with me. That’s what won my trust and made me want to give my business to the company she worked for. Because of her.
So yes, it’s always been about human to human. But why is the meme of such significance now?
Is it because – in this age where advances in technology hurtle ahead at the speed of light, in this era where acronyms are a commonplace means of communication – it is increasingly easy to feel alienated and we need to stress the human side?
Or is the opposite true: that social media gives us the opportunity to get personal with brands and businesses in a way that was not possible before, so the emphasis is on the human aspect in a way it couldn’t be earlier on?
I’m sure it is a bit of both. The bottom line remains that, as businesses, we need to communicate as though addressing an individual rather than an anonymous host. We need to allow our humanity, our traits, to filter through as we transact with customers and vendors. We need to resonate with those we do business with.
That will help us as we try to earn our bread and butter and will also serve to make it more palatable and heart-healthy.