Every guide for marketers and social media mavens says the same thing, in one way or another – you need to know how people see your brand, and how you want your brand to be seen. We here at Media InSite have said it at least once ourselves. And, of course, we believe that – that you can’t do this work without first knowing what you want people to see when they look at you.
But, usually, when people ponder the idea of what they want people to see, they think about the aesthetic of their brand – how their logo and website looks, how attractive their products are on store shelves, stuff like that. But we want to talk about something else this time – what consumers think your brand’s personality is.
Your brand personality is important for a lot of different reasons. Firstly, it helps refine what you want your products and services to feel like, and therefore how you want to market them. For instance, if you’re an organization that does corporate workshops, you may think that what you need to focus on is marketing yourself as a professional, evidence-based organization. That definitely does make sense, but what if you want your workshops to be creative, adventurous and engaging? That means you’d want to display a personality that is youthful, lively, and wanting to rescue your clients from the stuffy company trainings they’re maybe used to. Not only is that a truer representation of your product, it will continue to be a guideline on how to refine that product so it does what you want it to do for your customers.
Which brings us to the next great reason that you want to sharpen your brand’s personality - it differentiates you from the competition. Creating a distinct identity means that even if your products and services are similar, there’s a point of distinction that gives people different reasons to attach themselves to your work. Folks may be connected to your brand against similar competition based solely on how fun your brand seems, or how sensual, or how passionate the brand seems about certain social issues. Defining your brand’s identity in this way will even help you discover what sorts of issues you may want the brand to invest in.
People’s feelings actually have a lot to do with their spending habits. And nowadays, people have lots of feelings about issues such as climate change and racial injustice. It’s the reason that many brands are spending their corporate social responsibility budgets on those issues. It almost never lands, though, because it almost never feels genuine. However, when your brand’s identity seems sincerely invested in those issues and the customers that suffer because of them, it’s easy for them to want to spend their money behind you.
When you distinguish your brand’s personality, you’ll also have a clearer idea about what social issues are important to you and your consumers, and even how you want to approach it. Is your brand youthful and playful? Then maybe you care about issues pertaining to young people. If your brand’s spiritual and all about mindfulness, then issues around interfaith dialogue, or even the environment, might be good fits. And they’ll resonate even more with your core consumers, who already likely care about the same things if their personalities align with your organization.
So, the next time you’re thinking about how you want potential customers engage with your brand, perhaps it’s time to think less about what people see with their eyes, and think more about what people feel. One way to help you determine where your brand is already leaning is by taking a look at your data to see what your consumers respond to.