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Published on

January 8, 2016


advertising, agency, campaigns, creativity, digital, Marketing, PR, public relations

With so much focus on measurement and results, it is possible to forget communications is a uniquely human profession.

Speaking at The Big Picture 2016, James Smee, Managing Partner at Purestone, and Simon Billington, Purestone’s Creative Director, spoke about the humanisation of marketing. Beyond one-page user personas, this process takes in the person behind the screen on every level, from what media they consume to their deepest needs and wants.

The humanisiation of marketing is one of the biggest trends for 2016. Here’s five ways you can be more human.

1. Tell a Story

James and Simon spoke about highlighting stories in every aspect of the digital sphere. Humans are social creatures, and attuned to hearing stories: business jargon with acronyms and complicated words will always be a second-language. Bringing story-telling to work can improve our communication. For example, the best case studies are stories: emotive, but with business logic (a plot) driving them.

2. Understand Yourself and Others

Psychology, the study of mind and behavior, is relevant to marketers. Understanding how the mind works, and what motivates our fellow humans, allows us to communicate more effectively.

Freud’s theory of the psyche says that all of us are driven by id, ego and superego, whose different and competing forces make up the mind as a whole.

James compared Freud’s id, ego and superego to popular social mediums.

The Id: Basic Instincts

The id is your most basic, instinctual driver, for food, water – and sex. Tinder, with its instant gratification of swiping, and its promise of endless dates, embodies the id.

The Ego: Showing Off

Facebook can be seen as an embodiment of the ego. The Defensive and idealistic ego communicates between the id and superego, balancing primitive drives with the higher ideals of superego.

The Superego: Joining Your Professional Network on LinkedIn

The superego is the expression of cultural rules imposed by parents and societies. The version of yourself on LinkedIn is a very different person than the version on Tinder.

Which is why it’s best to keep one’s Tinder and LinkedIn accounts separate.

This knowledge can be employed in our marketing tactics and techniques. Understanding the competing drivers within, and how different sides of people dominate at different times can help us hone our messaging.

3. Beware the “Tinderisation” of society.

The hook-up app allows users to swipe yes or no on photos of potential dates gamifiying what in previous generations was a tender courtship dance. This Tinderisaion, the constant feeding of the id, is spreading to other sectors, with everything from supermarkets, to schools adding gaming elements to their experience.

This change is affecting how we think as human beings and how we think of other human beings. It’s easy to forget that the person on the other side of a Tinder match is a real living, breathing person. Drawing on the ego to remind the id of that essential fact brings more understanding to our online interactions.

4. Understand the Web is Becoming More Human Too

We have not reached the singularity, but websites are becoming smarter over time. Facebook, Amazon and Google “learn” your preferences, and target your experience accordingly. As this technology becomes more accessible, we can expect to see more finely curated content, making our experience of the web more human.

5. Be More Human at Work

James and Simon offered key takeaways to help you become more human at work.

  • Do you call people who visit your website “users”? That habit divorces you from their humanity. Try calling them what they are – “humans.”
  • Visuals have never been more important, and should always be a key part of your strategy.
  • Create an experience driven checklist, writing down a user’s mental checklist of everything your website (or project) should contain.
  • Surprise and delight – do something your user is not expecting, and make them think differently about you.

Try out these takeaways in your work, and you might just find you become more human too.

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