Whiplash Team, May 12th 2023

Understanding human-centric and customer-centric brands

Building a human-centric brand is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. Consumers are no longer solely concerned with the quality of a product or service, but also the values and beliefs of the brand they are engaging with.

A human-centric brand puts people at the centre of everything it does. This approach recognizes that people are more than just customers; they are complex individuals with unique needs, wants, and aspirations.

A human-centric brand seeks to create meaningful connections with people by understanding their desires, values, and beliefs. This approach prioritises the human experience above all else, and it aims to foster loyalty, trust, and advocacy among people.

A human-centric brand goes beyond just providing a product or service and seeks to create a positive impact on the world.

Human-centric brands and a customer-centric brands

Is there a difference between these two concepts? Yes. There is. While the two approaches share some similarities, the key difference between them is their focus. A human-centric brand focuses on people as individuals and aims to aims to create emotional connections with them. On the other hand, a customer-centric brand focuses on customers as buyers and its aim is to create functional connections with customers.

The approach of a customer-centric brand puts customers at the centre of its strategy and operations, recognising that customers are the lifeblood of the business. Thus, it seeks to meet their needs and exceed their expectations at every touchpoint. It focuses on delivering exceptional customer experiences, using customer feedback to drive innovation, improving products and services, and enhancing the overall customer journey.

Aren’t all customer-centric brands human-centric?

The short answer is no.

While customer-centric brands prioritize the needs of their customers, they may not necessarily be human-centric. A customer-centric brand may focus solely on meeting customers’ functional needs, such as providing high-quality products or services, without taking into consideration their emotional needs or experiences.

In contrast, as human-centric brands place people at the centre of their strategy, they recognise that customers are complex individuals with unique needs, desires, and emotions. A human-centric brand seeks to understand and empathize with its customers to create meaningful connections with them by addressing their emotional needs and aspirations.

Therefore, while all human-centric brands could be customer-centric, not all customer-centric brands are necessarily human-centric. It is possible for a business to prioritize the functional needs of its customers without fully considering their emotional needs and experiences.

Reasons for brands to be human-centric
  • Increased customer loyalty: When a brand aligns its values and beliefs with those of its audience, it creates a deeper emotional connection with its customers. This leads to increased loyalty, and customers are more likely to continue engaging with the brand over time.
  • Increased customer engagement: A human-centric brand creates a two-way conversation with its audience. This means that customers are more likely to engage with the brand, provide feedback, and share their experiences with others.
  • Increased brand differentiation: In a crowded marketplace, a human-centric brand stands out from the competition. By focusing on creating a meaningful and emotional connection with its audience, the brand sets itself apart and creates a unique identity.
  • Increased brand advocacy: When a brand creates a positive impact on the world, its customers are more likely to become advocates for the brand. They will share their positive experiences with others, increasing brand awareness and growth.
Advantages of building a customer-centric brand
  • Higher customer retention: A customer-centric approach can help businesses identify and address customer needs and pain points, leading to higher customer retention rates.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: By focusing on delivering exceptional customer experiences, businesses can increase customer satisfaction, which can lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals and increased revenue.
  • Increased customer lifetime value: By delivering value to customers at every touchpoint, businesses can increase customer lifetime value, resulting in greater revenue over time.
  • Better customer insights: By prioritizing customer feedback and data, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer preferences, behavior, and needs, which can inform product development, marketing, and overall strategy.
  • Competitive advantage: A customer-centric brand can differentiate itself from competitors and establish a unique position in the market, leading to increased market share and profitability.
Consumers expect brands to be both

In today’s world, consumers seek brands that are both human-centric and customer-centric. They are looking for brands that prioritize their needs, desires, and values while also delivering high-quality products and exceptional customer experiences.

A human-centric brand can create a sense of purpose and emotional connection with consumers, while a customer-centric brand can provide convenience, reliability, and value. Both approaches are necessary to build a successful brand appealing to users.

Nowadays consumers are increasingly looking for brands that prioritize sustainability, diversity, and social responsibility, which are all aspects of a human-centric approach. They want to feel that the brands they support share their values and contribute positively to society.

At the same time, buyers expect brands to deliver seamless and personalized customer experiences across all touchpoints, which is a hallmark of a customer-centric approach. Consumers want brands to understand their individual needs and preferences and to deliver products and services that meet those needs.

Therefore, a brand that successfully combines both human-centric and customer-centric approaches can create strong emotional connections with consumers while also delivering exceptional customer experiences, leading to increased loyalty, trust, and advocacy and, ultimately, improves the company’s results.

Some examples

There are several brands that successfully combine human-centric and customer-centric approaches to create strong emotional connections with consumers while delivering exceptional customer experiences. Here are a few examples:

Patagonia: This outdoor clothing and gear company has built a strong reputation for sustainability and social responsibility, including using environmentally friendly materials, donating a portion of profits to environmental causes, and advocating for policy changes. At the same time, they prioritize delivering high-quality products and personalized customer experiences, such as offering free repairs on their products.

Apple: This technology giant is known for its sleek and user-friendly products, as well as its customer service and support. They also prioritize diversity and social responsibility, including initiatives to reduce their environmental impact and increase the representation of underrepresented groups in their workforce.

Airbnb: This online marketplace for short-term rentals has built its brand on the principles of community, connection, and belonging. They prioritize creating unique and personalized experiences for their customers while also advocating for social responsibility and promoting cultural exchange.

TOMS: This shoe and eyewear company has a strong social mission, including donating a pair of shoes or eyeglasses for every pair purchased, as well as supporting initiatives to improve access to healthcare and education. They also prioritize delivering high-quality products and personalized customer experiences, such as offering free shipping and returns.

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