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Why Anthropomorphism Could Unlock Digital Commerce Gold for Your Brand in 2024

Bikers Ride

Over the last year or so, I’ve explored this idea of anthropomorphism in branding on a few different occasions via some article in CMSWire (Apple Vision Pro and The Adobe Summit Recap). If you’re not familiar with this idea, let me break it down for you.

Anthropomorphism is the idea of assigning human-like characteristics to non-human things. For example, our pets. We talk to them, feel emotions with them, etc., but at the end of the day, they aren’t human. Another example of this can be seen is Disney portrayal of characters like Mickey Mouse, or the Beast.

So, you may be asking yourself, “How can this relate to branding and digital commerce?”

Over the last 20 years, consumers have shifted their perception and motivations around purchasing choices and patterns. In today’s world, consumers aren’t looking to make a purchase, they’re looking to make a connection. They aren’t looking to have a one-way monologue; they are looking to have a two way dialog. Consumers have adopted a much more conscious mindset when purchasing than previous years.


Simple, it’s the access to information and the ability of choice. Consumers have more choices than ever before, and are more informed on social, economic, and environmental topics that are persuading their purchase behavior. They are seeing a friend’s story on Instagram or TikTok and being inspired to make a purchase or to adopt a style or new trend.

So, what does this mean for brands?

Customers desire the ability to see your brand as not just somewhere they buy something from, but to see your brand as they see their friends, loved ones and other important people in their life that they connect with. If done correctly, a brand that effectively taps into the anthropomorphism mindset will yield enhanced customer lifetime value, brand awareness and of course, increased revenues

Here are three ways to adopt anthropomorphism in your brand for 2024:

Seek to Understand

Before you can relate on a deeper level with your customer segments, you first must seek to understand who they are. What do they care about? What are they interested in? What are they posting on social media? By digging in deep on what motivates and drives your customers in their own personal life – you’ll be able to move into the next phase of connection which is becoming relatable.

Seek to Communicate

After having a full understanding of your customer, your next goal should be to build out marketing, branding, and experience-driven campaigns that communicate how your brand thinks like the customer does. Communication of the brand’s message is essential for customers to understand and see that you’re more than a business that sells a product or a service, but that you’re an entity that “gets them.” A good example of this is to build digital shopping experiences that are driven by content that supports the mindset of your customers.

Take the Harley Davidson brand. On the surface, they make and sell motorcycles. However, the persona of the brand runs deep in the blood of the customers who purchase them. Harley Davidson isn’t a means of transportation, it’s a way of life. For their customers, it’s how memories are made and how they connect with other likeminded individuals. Harley Davidson does a fantastic job of inspiring and encouraging customers to be who they truly are; and this can be seen through their social channels as well as their digital commerce experience where customers can build their dream bikes.

Seek to Relate

Once a brand can understand and communicate to their customers, the final phase in this journey to anthropomorphism excellence is seeking to relate. Just like with Harley Davidson, brands need to inject content and experiences that relate to the mindset of their customers. Harley Davidson’s experience HD section of their website is the perfect example of this. Once you navigate to this area, anything, and everything you would ever want to know about the Harley Davidson lifestyle is here. From cruises and meetups to learning to ride, Harley covers all their bases. By relating to customers and their desires, Harley Davidson becomes more than just a motorcycle manufacturer; they transcend into the consciousness of consumers in a way that keeps them coming back from life.

As I’m sure you know, there’s never been more choices and competition in this day and age. From Amazon to Alibaba, consumers are constantly flooded with choice as brands fight for their attention span. With all of that being said, taking the path of anthropomorphism to curate experiences that drive customer retention is easier said than done – but if done correctly, your brand will generate the sticky customers you desire to keep revenues strong – but more than that, connect with customers on the deeper level they desire. This is what creates customers for life; this is what creates revenues that last.


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Justin Racine

Justin Racine is a Director and Lead Strategist with Perficient, and he works with clients to build and achieve their business goals through commerce-enabled technologies. Justin has over 12 years of experience within the ecommerce space, working with companies such as Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson, and Olam International, and has spoken at over 20 global conferences on ecommerce and branding strategy. Additionally, Justin has been published twice for his thought leadership on branding and marketing in the Henry Stewart Journal of Brand Strategy, is a contributing writer for, and a frequent contributor for many leading industry publications.

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