Injecting Personality Into Your Business


An old business adage goes something like, “People buy from people they know, like, and trust.” While this might seem like a platitude to some, there is actually quite a bit of wisdom in this statement. And one of the most effective ways to build familiarity, affinity, and trust is to make sure your business has a personality. Companies that do this successfully attract and retain loyal customers who not only buy from them, but recommend them to their friends and colleagues.

So what the heck does it mean for a business to have a “personality?”

1.) The business appeals to customers’ interests, rather than just appealing to their wants and needs. Hillshire Farms does a great job of this in their television advertisements — their spring/summer commercials tap into the typical American enthusiasm for outdoor grilling with the tagline, “Go Meat!”

2) Communications with customers reveal the real people behind the business. The owners and key figures of personality-based businesses aren’t afraid to show a bit of themselves instead of hiding behind their company images.

3) The business actively engages customers instead of simply focusing on building sales. Personality-based businesses put effort into building relationships, because smart business owners know that this has far more power than any sales pitch ever could.

How can you inject personality into your own business to engage customers and build loyalty?

1) Provide “featured customer” posts on your social media pages, blogs, websites, and print materials. These posts can highlight customer stories that will be of interest to your readers and prospects. This shows that the customers themselves are as important to you as sales.

New Media Expo skillfully uses this approach in social media communications. By highlighting influential people in its targeted audience – bloggers, social media advocates and others – NMX creates a unique, community-focused personality.

2) Post content about the people behind your business, as well as company events and projects that will be of interest to your audience. This might include posting pictures or videos from a company-sponsored charity event or product launch, or “behind the scenes” snippets of product development or preparation for an event.

I mentioned in 6 Ways to Make Your Social Media Pages Sing that online content should be at least tangentially related to your business… and this certainly applies here. I’m not suggesting that you post pictures of your marketing director’s labradoodle or a video from your CEO’s latest vacation in Fiji. You can inject personality without getting completely off-topic by asking yourself, “should our readers care about this?”

3) Don’t be afraid to be edgy… but use common sense. Edgy material encourages consumer buzz and shows that your business has a bit of attitude and humor. Sometimes, edgy marketing not only grabs attention, but also helps get your message across. Take the American Legacy Foundation’s The Truth campaigns, for example. These campaigns use startling content to drive home the Foundation’s anti-smoking message. And even if you hadn’t really thought about quitting smoking, it’s pretty hard to light a cigarette after seeing one of these ads.

Of course, certain types of “edgy” can do more harm than good. One Mountain Dew ad that some considered “racist” certainly drew attention and had personality, but not the type that was good for business.

Injecting personality into your business can seem like walking a tightrope. Too much, and you dilute your core message. Too little, and it can become difficult to get people excited about your business. Developing a business personality intrinsically involves risk, but it is worth finding the right balance to keep your company in front of your customers.

Categories : Marketing Strategy

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