Your “brand” is what sets you apart. It’s describes who you are. It’s the communication of your business values. It’s more than imagery or a motto or a logo. It’s the you that you want everyone to see. But even more: It's the you that you want everyone to experience, know, and love.

But mostly, your branding must be H2H: Human to Human. The human approach to branding means authenticity, approachability, and fun. Those once walled-up, fortified brands that sat comfy in towers of power are realizing that the human touch is what works, and thanks to social media, this looks more like a conversation than a monologue.

The best marketing doesn't feel like marketing. Here are 4 ways to keep your brand human.

1. Be real

Institutions are just things. But a brand that excels today lets down the guard and welcomes interaction and thrives on engagement. Acknowledging that business is a blur that’s constantly changing, new brands admit that they ain’t got it all together. See what I did there? Because after all, they’re human, too. So while not perfect, they want you to know that they’re always striving to improve. And guess who makes that possible? You.

2. Speak humanese, please

Lofty business lingo is out; colloquialisms are in. Wait, what? I meant to say everyday talk is in. Cultural gems that you might see in the Urban Dictionary are common fare now. And it isn’t about being hip. It’s about being accessible.

3. I feel you

Brands that are aware and responsive to real life needs are the ones that get business. They empathize. They know you’re busy. They know you’re hungry. They know you’re strapped for cash. They know you want to lose 10 pounds. Because after all, they experience all those things too. They feel your pain and they’ll let you know they do.

4. Put a face on it

The personification of products works. What comes to mind when you think Progressive Insurance? Flo. She’s a person. She may be an actor, but her quirky shtick makes her approachable. She’s real, she’s funny, and you want her over for dinner. And you might even buy her insurance. Because she’s not a company. She’s a working girl.

As you brand your business for 2016 and beyond, remember H2H. Be authentic, approachable, and above all -- fun.

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