Humanizing Brands [When logo is more than just a logo]

In 2000, Bibendum (Michelin Man) was awarded for the “greatest logo in history” in a Financial Times sponsored competition. Since then, Bibendum has been recognized as the face of the tire advertising for years. The question is why people liked it so much? Well before answering that question, you must know that Bibendum was part of Michelin’s brand elements, and brand element consists of a logo, jingle, symbols, and even URLs. Here are some criteria for choosing brand element :

  1. Memorable = To achieve high level of brand awareness (Bibendum is unique)
  2. Meaningfulness = To inform (general information and specific information)
  3. Likability = To be appealing and likeable (cute, kind, lovable)
  4. Adaptability = To adapt to certain changes (value, opinions, behaviour)

But there is something more about Bibendum that impacted and influenced the company. Michelin using Bibendum as a way to humanize the brand (Michelin), and the humanizing process proved to be very effective to enhance consumer engagement, brand attachment, and even brand awareness.


Humanizing the brand is often called Brand Anthropomorphism. Brand anthropomorphism, in general, is the process when company add human features, attributes, traits, and emotion to a brand. Based on Deborah J. MacInnis and Valerie S. Folkes Journal of Consumer Psychology, there are 3 Domain of Humanizing Brands :


The effect Humanizing Brands is to make consumers do more favorable attitudes to the brand because consumers treat the brand as human being (with moral judgements, intentions, personality, and emotion), rather than just conventional brand meaning (name, term, sign intended to identify the goods and services to differentiate with competitors). Humanized brand also tend to show more trustworthiness to their consumers because the brand will understand the consumer, have moral judgement, and free will.

To answer my previous question, why consumer like Bibendum that makes Bibendum “greatest logo in history”? The answer is because consumers treat Bibendum more than just a logo, they treat Bibendum as a human being that has a certain personality and emotions. Nowadays, companies also humanize their brand with brand ambassadors, mascots, brand community, CRM (customer relationship management), and etc.

What do you think about Bibendum? Tell us in the comment below!


MacInnis, D.J., & Folkes, V.S., Humanizing brands: When brands seem to be like me, part of me, and in a relationship with me, Journal of Consumer Psychology (2017),

Keller, K. L. (2013). Strategic brand management: Building, measuring, and managing brand equity (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ ; New Delhi: Pearson/Prentice Hall.


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