Does your brand have a personality? If your customers were asked to describe your business, would they include human traits as a part of that description?
If not, you’re missing an important component of branding, and you’re also failing to make a deep connection with your audience. But how can you bring life and personality into your brand?
Here are five easy-to-apply ways to give your brand a shot of personality:
1. Understand Your Identity And Beliefs
“People connect to the people and things they believe in,” says Detavio Samuels, president of marketing agency GlobalHue-Detroit and author of Exist No More: The Art of Squeezing the Most Out of Life. “So, as a brand, you are either connecting based on showcasing a similar belief system or you are providing them with new beliefs based on a better future they choose to embrace.”
The first step is figuring out your own beliefs. “Once that's achieved, then it's simply about finding innovative ways to bring that belief system to life,” Samuels says. “Apple believes in the notion of simplicity in design, so their products are designed to be as intuitive and efficient as possible.”
2. Give Back To Society
Solutions by Scott & Company, a professional organizing company, established a brand personality by having a passion for giving and then demonstrating it through volunteerism and other social efforts. Scott Roewer, the company's founder and chief organizer, traveled to Haiti in 2011 and 2012 to distribute shoes to orphans and earthquake victims with an organization called Soles4Souls, and his team regularly participates in charity drives and other events to support those in need.
“Our clients know we care more about the world than just making the next dollar or organizing the next home,” Roewer says. “All businesses should be adding value to their clients in goods and services, but also adding value to the world.”
3. Show Off Your Team
You’ve spent a lot of time carefully screening candidates and forming a team that, collectively, is a powerhouse. The success of your company is largely dependent on the success of each individual, so why not let them shine?
“People do business with people, not companies. Humanize your brand by making your employees visible. Include staff photos on your website, blog and social media channels, and use them in your videos and marketing materials,” suggests Jason Robbins, CEO of ePromos Promotional Products. “Your brand personality naturally emerges when you bring your employees to the forefront.” This also emphasizes the importance of hiring not just for a resume but for a cultural fit.
4. Use Storytelling
It’s difficult to create a personal connection with customers with a list of features and bland statements. “Brands often get sidetracked by bullet points, facts and the end result. Instead, we need to remember that audiences react to emotions, and to accept or refuse a statement, humans need to be told a ‘story’ so they can rationalize and understand emotions,” explains Gabrielle Boko, executive vice president of marketing at business management software firm Sage North America.
Over time, consumers start to associate your brand imagery with the same emotions you create through storytelling. If they evoke positive emotions, those subconscious associations make them feel good about your company—and everyone wants to do business with companies that make them feel good.
5. Be Consistent
Thriveworks, a counseling and life coaching business, started out with a consistent visual—a couch—that would appear across all its marketing collateral. But the real magic happened when the company created its own mobile app that allowed clients to record sessions and take notes, offering it free to clients. The app’s casual name, Therapy Buddy, solidified the brand’s identity as fun, friendly and helpful.
“The lesson we learned is that we can have bright colors, a fun logo and a nice website, but our brand wouldn't have a personality unless it was engaging and actually provided a tangible use for [people] who aren't our clients yet,” says Jon Negroni, public relations specialist for Thriveworks.
“Consistency is key," Negroni explains. "You can come up with countless ideas that are creative and will capture the attention of your audience, but if they don't connect well with what your brand literally is, people will miss the message that would've resonated with them. They'll just forget.”
There are a lot of tools at your disposal to help you solidify a positive brand personality for your business. Make sure that everything you do is in line with your beliefs and goals, from making the right hiring decisions to delivering value to your customers. If you lose sight of your identity, your customers will, too.
Angela Stringfellow is a freelance writer, social media strategist and a complete content marketing junkie obsessed with all things Web, marketing and the written word.
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Photo: Getty Images