How PR professionals need to prepare for the human revolution

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Brands weren't created by robots.

‘The Human Revolution is coming’. That's the powerful statement made by Octopus Group chief exec and co-founder Simon Rogerson at April’s Humans of Business launch event. It's a statement that all brands should sit up and take notice of if they want to survive in a world where consumers have never had more choice, and one that couldn’t be more relevant for PR as we try and forge emotional connections between the brands we work with and the audiences they’re targeting so they choose them over their competitors.

Taking a step back first, what exactly did Simon mean by The Human Revolution and what can brands learn from it? Well, put simply, he was referring to what should be a fundamental value of any business – caring about your customers and how you make them feel, something that can only be achieved if the humans behind the business shine through every line of communication. You only have to look at the Octopus Energy ‘Love & Power’ email sign off to see that Simon practices what he preaches.

Highlighting this further, this can also come from the faces behind the brands. If Simon spent his life flying around in private jets, those that know anything about his business would a) question the brand’s commitment to sustainability and b) believe he didn’t ‘get’ the audience the brand is targeting. So it’s important that when he is in the limelight his beliefs shines through and what he says and does is connected with the values of the brand he created.

At Stir, delivering an emotional outcome is integral to our comms, which is why Simon’s statement resonated so much with me. From the campaigns we run to those we admire, the one thing that links their success is their ability to create an emotional connection with those they’re targeting. Because in the words of writer and poet Maya Angelou, ‘people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’. More on this here.

Now while I appreciate all of this may seem easier said than done (especially if a brand has lived through years of an ever changing consumer landscape, has changed hands, no longer has a founder in a leadership role etc.), but that doesn’t mean simple changes can’t be made to the way the business is run and communicated to keep customers coming back for more, as long as any new ‘human’ approaches and/or values appear authentic and are lived and breathed by the brand.

Because no matter how old the brand is it wasn’t created by a robot, it was created by a human. So just like a human, businesses can change, improve and let their vulnerability shine through. It’s only then that consumers will trust and return as the revolution takes hold.

Sarah Tadier is client services director at Stir PR

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