Gone are the days when a "brand" was just some bullshit made up by bullshit consultants who charged a ridiculous amount of money for bullshit. From now on, brands are people—just like you.

In Ad Age, Rupal Parekh notes the tendency of late for ad agencies and branding consultants, always on the lookout for a fresh, creative way to extract money from the coffers of besuited corporate functionaries, to push a new idea on their clients: "humanity." Brands, that is, should be "human," you see. For example, a gentleman employed in the marketing department of the airline JetBlue states, "We invented humanity in air travel."

Confused? A bit of clarity:

A white paper published this month called "Welcome to the Human Era," by Hill Holliday, the lead agency for Liberty Mutual, and brand consultancy Lippincott, notes that trust in institutions that has eroded drastically in the past few years, spurring companies' desire to behave more like people.

The paper outlines a number of key traits that so-called 'human' companies possess, such as having customer empathy, talking and acting like people, not being boring and empowering individuals to be the brand.

You, the human, do not trust The Company; therefore, The Company's consultants, who have been studying the habits of humans very, very closely, will suggest to The Company various strategies its employees may use in order to anthropomorphize The Company, which is, in fact, an amorphous entity created for financial purposes.

Robots are getting pretty cute, too.

[Photo: Terry Johnston/ Flickr]