One of the brands I feel comes across more human and personable than most in my social media estimation is Chipotle. I believe a good majority of Chipotle’s popularity is actually based on it’s aura of caring for the customer by offering healthy organic food produce and meats. I especially appreciate their heavy emphasis on procuring from local farmers whenever possible.
I’m definitely not alone in my loyalty. Even though their recent bad press, they managed to reign victorious by not only being unfettered in their in-store customer service, but they seal the deal by being very engaging and interactive in all their social media.
Even though I do believe a brand can come across as human and caring in traditional media, I don’t think the same can be accomplished automatically in the social media arena. The biggest challenge with any brand seeming “real” and “caring” in traditional media is the one-way communication. Unless you really are having a conversation with your consumer, how do you really know how they feel or relate to the product, or ideas they have to improve or change a few quirks.
Don’t get me wrong. There are many companies in traditional channels very adept at making it seem like they are human and have your best interests at heart. There were a couple of brands I recall growing up that came across as more friendly and caring via television. At least with TV commercials you have two-dimensional motion, audio, and video unlike radio or newspapers. Coca-cola and McDonald’s always had a very light-hearted, touchy-feel about them. Coke has always evoked peace, harmony and diversity while McDonald’s seemed to be the first to champion and cater to kids via Ronald McDonald Houses, happy meal toys, mascots, play places, etc.
However, many consumers are wise enough to know that there is a lot of smoke and mirrors in businesses. Just because a company is great about answering your social media posts quickly in a nice tone, doesn’t mean that the company is without faults or seriously lacking in other areas. But in this landscape, the face of the company is extremely important for building and keeping good impressions and social media is the most cost effective, and convenient way to interface with customers.