Want to Sell More Stuff? Humanize Your Brand

Want to Sell More Stuff? Humanize Your Brand

By: Shelly Kramer
October 23, 2010

Zappos - The Epitome of a "Humanized" Brand

I love Zappos. I have twin girls. And, while I’m not so good at math, here’s one thing I do know:

Zappos + Twin Girls = LOTS of Shoes

Why do I love Zappos? I love their selection, the fact that they remember what I like and let me know when they’ve got more of it. I like Tony Hsieh and the culture he’s created. He’s a smart guy who’s built an empire based on common sense and being real. And managing to grow Zappos to over $1 billion in gross sales annually, while also regularly landing on Forbes’ list of Best Companies to Work For list are no small accomplishments. Gini Dietrich wrote a great post about Tony. it’s here if you’d like to read it. She likes him, too.

I really like Zappos because they make me smile. On a crazy busy day, when I’m wading through hundreds of emails and see an ad like this, well, I stop. After all, it’s about SHOES. And we chicks, we’ve got shoes in our blood. But when the ad copy actually makes me smile, that’s what I call winner winner, chicken dinner. That’s when I know that my love for Zappos is deserved.

They get me. And I want to buy more of their shoes.

Note to: Zappos Marketing Department + Ad Agency → Mission Accomplished!

Zappos - The Ad That Drew Me In

  • People should definitely travel by trains more often. Shoes look great riding on trains. Twin girls running up and down the aisles of trains flashing their pink crocs is especially adorable.

    You said another expression I never heard – winner, winner, chicken dinner???? It is catchy.

  • Hi Shelly,
    Being a guy, I don’t get shoes. I’ve observed the rise of Zappos from afar, as it were. But I do have a wife and two kids who need shoes and the way you describe your love for Zappos, and especially for their ad copy, makes me want to buy from them. Mission accomplished? Thanks!

    BTW, I have heard winner winner chicken dinner, but not for eons, so that was fun, too. 🙂

  • That ad is hilarious!! This is why people love Zappos – they make doing business with them fun. I think about this all the time in the growth of my own business…how do we make doing business with us fun? It’s easy for me…I own the joint. I find it’s less easy for my team. They feel I can be fun and goofy because my name is on the door, but if they do it, watch out! We might lose a client! My feeling on that is that if we lose a client because someone was being FUN, we don’t want that client anyway.

    What do you guys do to incorporate this kind of culture?

    (Oh and hey! Thanks for the mention!)

  • Zappos’ has a few checks in your “like” column; when you see an email from them you’re more likely to open it. The email reinforces the good feelings and maybe adds another check. Making people feel good is the hard part; do that consistently and the sales are easier.

    Thanks for the insight.

  • Anonymous

    You’re right, Mike! Making people feel good about your brand is what it’s all about. Thanks for stopping by :))

  • Anonymous

    Funny you should mention that, Gini. I’m constantly telling my staff to loosen up and be a bit more irreverent. It’s easy for us because that’s how we’re wired, but often a lot more difficult for others.

    And I agree with you completely about clients. I turn down opportunities when I don’t feel like we’re a good fit and, you know what – we’re pretty lucky, you and me, to be in positions where we can do that.

    I try and encourage my staffers to just find their inner goofiness – or at least their own respective comfort levels. Not necessarily emulate me (which would be trouble), but just to relax and be themselves, instead of stuffy corporate people. That’s not what we do, that’s not who we are, and I think that needs to resonate throughout every part of the agency. And we’re fortunate, because it really does.

    Thanks for coming by – and you’re welcome for the mention, dudette!

  • Anonymous

    Mitch …. I’ll bet your wife loves Zappos. And if I’ve made you a fan, woo hoo! I think that any time a brand can make me smile, they are worthy of my attention. Zappos does it regularly – and my credit card bill is a testament to that :)))

    And feel free to use “winner winner chicken dinner” at will :)))

  • Anonymous

    People should DEFINITELY ride on trains more often, Cherry!

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Shelly,

    Great post!  I was doing some research on branding and stumbled on your blog.  I’m intrigued by this concept of humanizing brands.  You did a great job articulating it through your experience with Zappos and it highlighted some cool things about you as a person that I was able to appreciate. So if Zappos were a person she would be:  smart, real, considerate, and have a great sense of humor.  Would you say that you are drawn to those qualities because they are similar to your own? 

  • Anonymous

    Thanks. And you are correct .. if Zappos was a person she would totally be someone you’d want to hang out with IRL. Great analogy! And if you want to know more about humanizing brands, read my friend @maddiegrant’s book Humanize. It’s stupendous!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Shelly! I will definitely check out your friend’s book.

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