Being human is a two way street

Being human is a two way street

For brands, being human is the new black, or so I was reading the other day. Everyone is trying to make a more personal connection today, and rightly so (although it does have the unfortunate side effect of brand people starting to put up waffly slides about ‘authenticity’).

So if a challenger really wants to make its humanity a genuine point of difference, what does it do?

Well, it can offer a particular kind of humanity. MailChimp demonstrate a humorous understanding of both the fear and anticipation experienced before deploying an email to thousands.

Or it can surprise us with the context in which that humanity appears. Warby Parker launched their interactive annual report in 2013, which, instead of talking about financial results, included information on the beer they like to drink during happy hour or the most common misspelled keyword searches. An element of surprise that turned a necessary annual report into one of the company's most effective pieces of marketing to date.

Or a challenger can do this, which I saw on my walk in to work this morning. It was outside a local coffee shop in Bermondsey Street with a little attitude.

Even if the name at the top of the board is not your cup of tea, it's hard not to enjoy the poke in our commuter ribs from the chalk writing underneath it. Humanity is a two way street, it says. If you want to get our people behaving like humans to you, you’d better behave like humans back. Stop being so bloody miserable, and at least say hello in return.

I like a challenger that challenges me a little. There’s more to being human than printing ‘hello’ on the side of a coffee cup.


Challenger enthusiast, father of twins, mild pencil fetish. Founder of eatbigfish and The Challenger Project. His latest book 'A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages', is out now.