By Mike Stiles on Apr 01, 2014
Do you bore people out of their skull at parties? Do people avoid you because they can never quite figure you out? Then you may not want to volunteer to be put in charge of your brand’s personality or voice.
We’ve all seen them, those charismatic people who can walk into a room and light it right up. People gravitate toward them, want to spend time with them, be associated with them. It’s like they’ve never met a stranger. That’s what you want your brand to be.
Imagine being at a barbecue and someone arrives looking out of place in a buttoned-up suit. They speak and respond to questions in carefully rehearsed lines. They only talk about their agenda. They offer no emotion or opinion. And oh yeah…they have their lawyers with them to carefully vet conversations. Wheee!
It’s very difficult to live life at its fullest with no personality. Yet for decades, corporations have actively fostered the “corporate veil,” which cast them as faceless, inhuman entities with walls that protect them from customers. Relationships? Are you kidding?
Now, post-social revolution, brand personalities are vital. Without one, no one can get to know you, connect with you, like you, root for you, vouch for you…everything we want them to do. Plus, social abhors a vacuum. If you don’t establish a brand personality, the public will project one onto you. And they may cast you as the villain, or the loser.
How do you get a brand personality and internalize it? You make a huge, jargon-filled whitepaper. Just kidding.
- Consider your mission and values
- Decide what you want people to think of when they think of you
- Think about what kind of people your targets are and what they like
- Decide what kind of experience you want people to have with you
- Settle on a tone
As for internalizing, “The Big Bang Theory” has multiple writers. But they can all write for the character of Sheldon because that character has been so clearly defined. They can hear the voice of Sheldon in their heads as they write. Beyond that, there are head writers, directors and the actor himself. If a line or action is inconsistent with the character, they’ll catch it.
Lay out a clear description for employees and representatives of your brand as to what the personality and experience should be. Make this personality the dominant vibe in the workplace (Brands get this wrong. Personality isn’t just for external consumption). Make the personality evident in all assets and communications. The more you live it, the more instinctive it becomes. And don’t half do it. You have to really put your personality out there, just like a person has to.
Some final thoughts on brand personality:
- Inconsistent or erratic personalities confuse (and scare) people. Commit to the character.
- Personalities are hard to break up with. Mysterious inhuman organizations aren’t.
- Studies show brands that display human characteristics connect better because we’re more receptive to messages from those we have an emotional connection with.
Would anyone become an enthused “fan” of Katy Perry if she were a dull, unimaginative wallflower? Even if they liked the songs, without Katy’s personality (present and evident in everything she does), it’s unlikely her brand would be what it is today. What could the power of personality do for your brand?