As we run into the festive season, the most common things to comment about in a piece like this, would generally involve the overuse of Santa in Christmas packaging and displays or how to best stand out in this holiday chaos in retail. But instead I find myself writing a little more of a philosophical piece, with hopefully a thing or two you can take from it, both personally as well as push your challenger brand that little bit harder.

Being a “human human” was a concept I first heard about earlier this year. My dad was giving a eulogy at my Nana’s funeral and he described her as “the most human human” he ever knew. For anyone who knew my Nana this was the most accurate description for her, and it has stuck with me since.

As we prepare to say goodbye to another year and prepare for the next, full of hopes and dreams of what the future will bring. My ambition is simply to be a little bit more of a human human. It also got me thinking about how brands can be more human and better connect with their consumers.

But what does this mean? Are there qualities that build together to help make this possible? Well, I think there are. And while this is not an exhaustive list I believe it’s qualities like kindness, compassion, courage, honesty and transparency.

Kindness and Compassion are certainly the two qualities that perhaps ring strongest for being a more human human. They are qualities that we all hope to instill into our children and hope that the people with whom we surround ourselves in life have these as their top qualities too. It is true there are certain times that these qualities are put to the test, when you need those around you to really demonstrate them. In a world full of uncertainty and chaos these two qualities can calm us.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that people are now also demanding more from their brands. More Kindness and Compassion from the brands in their life, not just the people in their life. Something that breaks through the uncertainty and chaos and makes you feel better, or makes you feel like a bit more of a human human. This is the reason why new challenger brands like the Thankyou brand have been such a huge success. Thankyou was born in 2008 in response to the World Water Crisis. At that time, over 900 million people didn’t have access to safe drinking water on a daily basis, yet the Australian bottled water industry was worth an estimated $600 million a year. In 2013 they expanded with two new ranges: food and body care and today, Thankyou has over 50 products available in 5500 outlets in Australia The brands’ idea was to take a more holistic approach to combating poverty, with 100% of their profits funding safe water, food and hygiene and sanitation services around the world. Their most recent launch, a range of nappies and baby care funding child and maternal health programs around the globe to empower families in need has seen them continue their footprint of success.

Honesty and Transparency is another human attribute that consumers are seeking in those brands to which they hold in high esteem. The Honest to Goodness brand is one of my favourites in this area. Their vision is to create a healthy, sustainable, better future. They have a really transparent approach to all that they do from their values, through to their products and distribution. It makes sense then to see that one of their values is Honest and Genuine Relationships. I love that this not only talks about honesty but also about relationships. Relationships are such an important human connection and it’s great to see them listed as a value. They go further in this area to also talk about Team Member Happiness as one of their values. They realise and recognise the important human component of what we do in business.

Courage is also a common element across both of these brand examples. People are attracted to courage. They adopt courage in being different and being true to themselves. We inherently embrace people when we see them doing courageous acts. When they dare to be different, challenge the status quo and do things differently. All Challenger Brands will have this in their core somewhere. And the most successful brands are perhaps the most courageous of them all.

So as you wrap up 2017 I encourage you to think about how you might be able to be a little bit more of a human human and let this inspire you for both personal and business success in 2018.

Sara Salter, Managing Director