Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Would You "Like" Your Company? Why Brand Personality Matters

Rumor has it you’ve got a new brand. What’s s/he like?

Approachable? Mysterious? Upbeat? Straightforward? Rebellious?
Helpful? Adventurous? Energetic? Laid-back? Warm? Cool? 

If your company were a person, how would you describe her or him to your best friend?

Go with me on this. Write down five adjectives. Not features or benefits. Personal descriptors.

Now, erase the two that are not essential to who your brand is, how it acts and what its reputation is (or will be) in the world.

Got your key three? Excellent. You’re racing ahead of entrepreneurs who neglect to define (and deploy) a powerful marketplace differentiator:  your brand’s personality.

Lest any skeptics dismiss this exercise as trivial to your future success, take a moment to think about the major companies you most admire.

Can you easily describe their attitude? Can you imagine what an email from each one might sound like? Can you pick out what they would wear to a party?

You can – because they’ve been consistent about their image, their brand personality.

So should you. Your potential customers are counting on it.

Consumer Snap Decision:  Is this for me?

Every one of us makes hundreds of snap judgments every single day. It’s a survival technique. We can only pay attention to a few things. So when we encounter something new, we seek immediate clues to answer:  Is this for me?

Having a clear brand personality helps your customer “get” what your company is all about. At a gut level, the customer instantly recognizes something about herself (including her aspirations) – or she doesn’t.

Either outcome is fine. Yes, either! You absolutely want to attract customers who are eager to learn more. But you also benefit from weeding out unlikely prospects that would waste your energies.
  • A strong brand personality connects to and resonates with your target’s lifestyle, attitude and goals; be friend-able.

It’s all about raising your brand above the competitive noise, and then running with the customer pack most amenable to your offer.

Consistency Creates Trust

Once you’ve piqued your target’s interest, being consistent with your brand’s communications is key.

Consumers adore clarity and flee confusion. We’re all confronting too many choices in a given day. We crave reliable, go-to resources in an often-fickle market. Earn that trust by being consistent.
  •  A powerful brand personality communicates with an unwavering “tone of voice”, viewpoint and style – including consistent design choices, colour schemes and imagery.

This means more than using the right Pantone shade and font.

Building a mighty brand requires alignment across the company. Your brand personality must complement your business’s value proposition, corporate strategy, marketing efforts and more.

Nobody likes people who talk out of both sides of their mouth. Evaluate and adjust your brand plan to speak with one, confident voice. Always.

Play Up Your Personality

Let’s have another look at your three key adjectives from earlier. Do they feel cohesive? Or are they suffering from multiple personality disorder?

Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker’s “Dimensions of Brand Personality” can help stabilize any wobbles and strengthen your stance.  

Aaker’s studies find that most brands have one dominant trait among these five:  sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, ruggedness. Consider: 
  • Which trait fits your brand best? 
  • What conversational style flows from that pick? 
  • What design choices boost that image?

Are you hearing voices in your head? Good.

You’re discovering how your brand personality speaks. Make note of what he says and how he says it. When you’re really onto something great, taglines, marketing ideas, employee recruitment messages and more will all start bubbling up.

Don’t be surprised if your brand personality takes on a life of its own. Some companies even name their persona and use him/her as a decision-making tool. Hmmm. This new gizmo is quite innovative, but would Nigel use it? Seems out of step with the portfolio.

Find what’s true about your brand – and stick by it.

Perception:  Drive It or Be Driven by It

Once you’ve gone to market, people will judge your brand. Their perception will become your sales reality. That’s a fact.

Your choice:  
  • Do you want that perception left to chance – and to later react to their response?
  • Or, do you want to drive that perception by presenting a strong, clear, consistent brand personality – attracting like-minded customers straightaway?

Go to it.

First published October 2016 by Veromo – an Australian start up that helps entrepreneurs start up.