The humans among the crowd

Feb 10, 2015

Many people, including some working in the financial industry, are still puzzled why people would engage in activities like crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending. Why would you lend money to a complete stranger? What is the advantage? Isn’t it more risky?

Yet, these new ventures are enjoying double-digits growth since their emergence in the last five years or so.
There are many reasons for this success, from better rates (both for lenders and borrowers) to fully transparent and easy-to-use services. They also explain how their services work, which is more than most traditional banks bother to do.

But here I want to focus on another critical component to their success: ‘human authenticity’. In essence, they connect real humans and they tell real stories.

We’ve all seen beautiful images that many companies use to provide a ’human touch’: happy families enjoying quality moments in an outdoor place and under a blue sky. Yes, these images are beautiful, even artistic sometimes. But they don’t reach us because we know they’re staged.

In contrast, look at this incredible presentation by the leading crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. Click on the image to browse it, it is well worthwhile.



Click on the image to access the presentation

This presentation is powerful because it is authentic. It features real people and real stories. Some stories are exciting, some are moving, but they’re all genuine. It also creates a sense of community. People are proud to be part of it, to directly contribute to successes and innovations. Each backer (that’s how crowdfunders are called), big or small, helped make the world a better place.

This approach is so simple, yet so impactful. However, surprisingly few companies tell human stories like that. This is all the more surprising given that the same companies, when doing B2B business, expect real-life stories to demonstrate the value of the services being offered. Case studies, customer testimonials and references are essential in this context. Yet, this well-established approach does not transfer to many B2C operations.

Banks help their customers fulfill their projects and dreams every day. How come we have never heard of it?


David Andrieux, PhD


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