A slew of new gTLD and domain name events are on the docket for March, and each one has the challenge of bringing new ideas and different discussions to the table. One session that made me sit up and lean in at Momentum Consulting’s recent event in NYC this week was led by Chris Malone, Managing Partner at Fidelum Partners: How to Effectively Utilize Your Brand to Build Customer Loyalty in the Digital Age.

For such a tech-focused title, it really all boiled down to the human touch. How do brands and marketers avoid getting dazzled by the innovations at our fingertips and remain focused on delivering services and products in a way that connects with consumers and keeps them coming back!

According to Mr. Malone, two key factors affect perception of and loyalty to brands: Warmth (how well they achieve the “human connection”) and competency (how well they provide good services and good products).

Technology has improved competence, but perhaps at the expense of warmth. Shopping and communicating online – rather than visiting brick-and-mortar stores and talking with salespeople – appear to be eroding warm interactions.

The proposed solution? Brands must become more aware of how they are perceived and move “warmth” higher up on their priority list. Use available technology to engage with customers but provide that extra kindness and consideration that will turn a purchase or interaction into a loyal customer.

Perhaps that means thanking a follower for a retweet or encouraging customers to share their personal stories on your Facebook page. And maybe with new gTLDs that means giving customers a personalized experience with their own JaneDoe.BRAND page, populated with their favorite products, clothes in their size, or special coupons. Maybe it means building a community of like-minded thinkers around an open .GENERIC.

As brands reconfigure their digital strategies, they should keep in mind that their success is not just about efficient delivery of information, products, and services. It’s about the human connection as well.