Humanizing Tech

Trends / Technology
10'000 Hours
Jacqueline Bourke
Oct 8, 2019
As technology continues to pervade every facet of life, there’s a growing need for brands to ‘humanize’ complex products in order to appear not only innovative but authentic and relatable too.

Technology has added the convenience many consumers crave, but that has been at the expense of human contact. And, at a time when concerns about cybersecurity and AI taking human jobs are also growing there’s a recognized need for images and video that shows how technology benefits, or at least works alongside, humans.

Findings from a recent 2019 visual trends report by Getty Images on the financial services sector found that nearly two thirds (62%) of brands are looking to depict technology and humanity within their visual branding. Moreover, our search data shows a huge demand content in this space. This includes images and videos of everyday tech etc, with a 934% increase in search for ‘smart speakers’, a 246% increase for ‘contactless pay’ and an 181% increase for ‘rideshare’ over the last year.
But it also includes searches for more abstract technological concepts. Searches for ‘cyber security’ for example were up 144%, ‘artificial intelligence’ was up 276% and ‘innovation’, consistently the highest search concept keyword globally, saw a 141% increase over the past 12 months. Most significantly, we also saw the emergence, for the first time, of customers searching for the term ‘humanizing tech’ in 2018, demonstrating brands’ acute awareness of the need to bridge the gap between man and machine. We need only look at the Super Bowl advertisements this year to see how 43% of ads from the Tech Category reinforced the belief that human touch is still highly valued by depicting AI and Robotics as imperfect and impersonal.

If we take a deeper look at the financial services industry as one example, significant challenges are being faced when it comes to the disruptive effect that technology is having on this sector. In a recent global consumer survey from Deloitte on digital banking, people said they have a stronger emotional connection with technology brands such as Apple, Amazon, or Google than they do with financial institutions. Technology has exacerbated the gap between consumers and their financial providers. Bank branches have closed across the country, replaced by websites and mobile apps, and call centers have been swapped for chatbots.
Technology has changed the financial services industry beyond recognition, giving rise to products and innovations we should never had imagined even a few short years ago. And, while brands need to embrace these changes to stay relevant, maintaining a human touch has never been so essential and yet so difficult. We are moving into an era of technological innovation that’s less about technology as an additive and more about the ways it enables us to live fuller lives. When it comes to stories around technology, a ‘human touch’ in visual communications ‑ refracted through the lenses of connectivity and community, understanding and kindness – is relatable and relevant for more compelling brand communication.
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