Study shows consumers value human-like communication from brands

A Braze and Forrester report says 40% of brand experiences aren’t delivering on the human brand promise

You had me at hello…as long as it was on the right platform, at the right time, and in the right tone.

Consumers want sincere, human-like communication from their preferred brands, and a recent report from Braze and Forrester backs that up.

The report says consumers value brands that speak like a regular person, value their time and business, and communicate in a tone they prefer.

Dipanjan Chatterjee, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said consumers can smell a rat a mile away, so communication from brands must reflect the company’s personality. Otherwise, the communication will feel inauthentic.

“We found that there were three dimensions to human communication: the emotion that is activated, a natural tone, and an empathetic approach that is personal and considerate. The most human brands were perceived as being friendly, responsive, thoughtful, and helpful and created and delivered communication that reflected an acute understanding of their customers’ needs and the ability to successfully meet them,” said Chatterjee.

According to the report, 60% of brand experiences result in human-like connections. That's important considering that 57% of consumers say that human communication would increase their brand loyalty and 58% say human communication would increase their likelihood of spending money with a given brand.

Myles Kleeger, president and chief customer officer at Braze, said the findings highlight the positive business impact of relatable communication. The report shows that if people perceive a brand to be more human-like, they’re more than twice as likely to love the brand and 1.8 times more likely to recommend it.

“What we see all the time is the most progressive, most successful brands in a lot of different industries…this is how they operate. They're trying to make every message feel like it's a human conversation. They're trying to make everything be personal and interactive and relevant and helpful. That's some of the reason why they're winning. This is a wake up call to a lot of other brands that aren't doing this type of stuff,” said Kleeger.

According to the report, retail, e-commerce, and mobile delivery and transportation brands performed the best in terms of communication. Kleeger said this isn’t surprising because these are usually mobile-first companies that can perform real-time tasks with an abundance of first-party data.

“That's really what this is all about: first-party data and using it to deliver better experiences to your customers,” said Kleeger. “When you start dealing with third-party data and anonymized data that was acquired in other ways without explicit permission, that's when you start to run afoul with things like GDPR.

“This is another example of why, in a post-GDPR world, first-party data is so important. It's the only way you can deliver these types of personal experiences that are necessary to be human, which is necessary to be successful.”

Kleeger added that brands can struggle to deliver human-like experiences when they don’t have the right technologies or if they’re too siloed internally, which can confuse and fracture their brand promise. But, he said, staying true to a brand promise is ultimately what brands need to communicate clearly to consumers.

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