Humanizing Brands: Modern Design, Made for Living

- culture

Brand inauthenticity can be sensed from miles away, like blood to a shark.

However, it repels rather than attracts. This is why, with today’s detail-oriented consumer, a brand needs to emanate a personality and a message that resonates with its audience on a personal level. As an agency, we’ve committed ourselves to the art of humanizing brands, because there’s no room for inauthenticity when it comes to branding.


As with most clients, Hip wanted to broaden their customer base. But to do so, we had to help them overcome some obstacles. First was their use of stock photos in their marketing. While cheap and easy to use, stock photos have become associated with brand inauthenticity. Visual content is a cornerstone of any branding campaign, yet it’s still common to see respectable brands undermining their credibility by using stock photographs. That had to change. Second, if Hip wanted their brand to reach a wider range of consumers, then we had to tackle some stereotypes about modern design itself.


Hip had a strong foundation with an older, established demographic, but through our research, we found some negative connotations which had to be addressed in order to resonate with a wider customer base. The most insightful was that while still considered simple and elegant, modern design has a tendency to come off as cold, emotionless and pretentious. And it didn’t help that Hip’s stock photo brand imagery more resembled lifeless mausoleums of modern furniture rather than authentic living spaces. We decided to address this issue by communicating genuine customer stories through a series of local photo shoots and interviews. Fortunately, Hip maintained solid relationships with their repeat customers. We were able to reach out to several of them and organize a photoshoot of their living space and a quick informational interview about their passion for interior design.


The results were amazing! The Hip customer isn’t cold and pretentious. They’re full of passion and life. Their living spaces were gorgeous, not just because of their taste in modern furniture, but because of the way they blended the elegance and simplicity of modern design with the beauty and complexity of everyday life. The Hip customer has diaper bags tucked away in the corner and household chore lists on the fridge. They have pet’s named after famous athletes and can recite movie quotes in character. They could talk all night over a glass of wine about their trips to France or Peru. Essentially, they were authentic people and Hip needed to convey this through their branding.



The visual content we generated had a dramatic effect on the way Hip resonated with people. Through this process, we developed the tagline ‘Modern Design, Made for Living’ which we felt communicated Hip’s new, humanized approach. Since then, Hip has been outperforming its previous year in website visits and overall brand awareness. All they needed was just a little push in the right direction. Hip is just one of the many diverse companies we have assisted in our dedication to humanize brands and we’re always looking forward to our next challenge!

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