Imagine your best friend. Think about some of their qualities and what attracts you to that person. It wouldn’t really be a shot in the dark to assume that you and that person share some of those same qualities. It’s what forms the friendship; it’s the glue that holds you together. Now imagine someone that doesn’t have any personality at all. How boring is that? The first thought that comes to my mind would be a robot. And I’m not talking about the cool, funny robots like JARVIS from Ironman or TARS from Interstellar. I’m talking about the boring robots that you mimic every time you impersonate a robot. I wouldn’t want to hang around that at all!
So why would you want that in a company?
This is what a lot of new startup companies are doing today. They want to skip straight to the visual side of their brand. But if you gloss over the human side of your brand, sure, you might have a fancy logo, nice colors, and even a nice website, but how are people going to feel when they interact with your brand? If you’re not thinking that through, you’re going to be bland and boring. There’s nothing that will set you apart from your competitors. You need to allow your customers to feel like they are doing more than just interacting with pixels on a screen.
The days of constantly pushing, and shouting your flashy logo from the rooftops are dying because consumers now have power that they didn’t use to have. It’s almost remarkable how many businesses don’t understand this yet. You can’t push your brand onto people anymore. You have to draw people in and nurture them. In the 1980’s and early 90’s, before the web, it was essentially just a race to see who could get their ad in front of the most eyeballs. Today, most people have DVR’s where they can just skip right over the ads, or they don’t even watch TV at all.
So what are some of the effects of adding this human element to your brand?
Short term, it’s going to be a bit longer of a ramp-up time, and it’ll be a little more costly for your company to get going. But this step is so vital in the startup process because quite frankly, consumers no longer solely buy services, they buy movements or experiences. Long term effects depends on if you took the time or not. If your customers think they are just looking at a computer screen, eventually they will wither away and forget about you.
The most important part of any personality is reflecting that image or persona through every aspect of your brand. Think back to the friend that you thought of at the beginning of this post. If you described that person to me as “nice, genuine, and funny,” I’d have no reason not to believe you. However, if I met this person, and they were rude, bland, and disrespectful, I’d be really confused, and not entirely interested in becoming friends with them. Nor am I going to want to bring them around my friends or introduce them. Same goes for your company’s brand.
You can’t just target a niche group of consumers and market to them because they fit your personality. If they come to your website, and your brand doesn’t reflect that personality, then there is some disconnect again.
There isn’t one aspect of a brand that is more important than the other. You have to tackle both. Once you do, you will gain loyal customers who will even begin to do your marketing for you. If you take the time, tell your story, and make the customer believe that they are a unique part of your company’s journey, you will gain a customer for life, and that word of mouth will spread like a wild fire.