Welcome to the Human Era

The new model for building trusted connections, and what brands need to do about it. Download the Report

It is indeed a tough world for marketers.

The challenges go well beyond navigating consumers changing media habits, or competing in a volatile economy. Today’s challenges run deeper. We have now moved away from the time when leadership commanded respect, stature mattered, and big businesses were always the economic leaders. Instead, trust in institutions has plummeted. Company life cycles have been compressed. Connected consumers quickly expose and accentuate corporations’ flaws. Social tools enable people to truly “see” what an institution actually is. And consumers crave relationships where businesses view them as individuals — and respond in a much more transparent, personal way than ever before.

Welcome to the Human Era.

The hidden fee, the locked-in contract, and the perception of unfair executive compensation are now made highly visible in consumer-controlled media, creating perhaps irreparable fissures between people and institutions. Institutional Era companies, often staying quiet or hiding behind policy, fine print, and a “Please hold, your call is important to us” attitude, find themselves a growing target for a changing culture expecting better. Being a Human Era brand goes beyond merely saying that one is more “human.” It requires an authentic story delivered consistently through an inspiring experience. It requires hard work — establishing organizational values and commitments that are customer driven, while also driving them toward daily leadership decision-making and employee behaviors.

In this report, our goal is to define what being a Human Era company means, and who is doing it well. Building from a large data set of over 800 companies, we examine the leaders and define the behaviors of companies — both big and small — that are able to break through in this new environment and build trusted, authentic connections.

We believe that being a Human Era company is more than a strategic option; it is increasingly recognized as a new and essential way of approaching business in our connected age. Our hope with this report is to stimulate discussion and debate, and provide a framework that enables companies to embark on this transition.

We look forward to the conversation.

John Marshall's Signature

John Marshall

Sr. Partner and Global Director of Strategy

Graham Richie's Signature

Graham Ritchie

Chief Strategy Officer
Hill Holliday