HCBE Faculty Articles

Building a Human Brand: Brand Anthropomorphism Unravelled

Sivan Portal, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Russell Abratt, Nova Southeastern University
Michael T. Bendixen, Nova Southeastern University


Brand anthropomorphism has been found to enhance the ability of consumers to recognize the inherent value of brands. However, there is limited knowledge among practitioners on how to build a brand with humanlike characteristics. After a literature review of brand anthropomorphism in general and the theory of warmth and competence in particular, we present the Human Brand Model of how to build a brand that is perceived to be human. There are four steps in this process; the first three indicate the brand inputs and the last indicates the results of those inputs. This model guides brand managers on how to make their brand more human. The use of this model should result in the organization having an excellent brand reputation; stronger, more meaningful relationships with its customers; and improved brand loyalty.