As the world market continues to mature and evolve, especially with the social shift taking place right before our eyes we need to start thinking about how we can stand out in the sheer volume of brand choices available in the marketplace off and online today.
Being ‘the best’ or ‘better’ is no longer good enough, doing things one step to the side is no longer enough, now with the social side of marketing which includes social media marketing, relationship marketing, attraction marketing and authentic marketing it is time to move into a new space. Social media marketing is really the umbrella under which all these other marketing types fit, it is here in the social space that everything changed to a more collaborative, connective and conversational tone.
The social space by the very social aspect for which it is famous requires that every brand has a personality, often the personality, especially of small business is the same as the owner of that business, however no matter how large or small you are, your business needs to have it’s own identity. Old Spice has certainly re-branded themselves beautifully with their ‘Old Spice Guy’ Campaign and now everyone has a very different view of the Old Spice personality. Mmmm-mmm-mmm….
Your brands personality and culture are so important to the success of your marketing, I am making it the first lesson in the first module of our 31 Day Social Media Supercharge.
First of all read this post to give you a quick over-view of where we are going during this lesson.
Now that you have an idea of what we are going to be working on and why, it’s time to dig deep and define your – WHY?
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Brand personality is the way a brand speaks and behaves and ultimately it is the flavour of the voice your company uses on social media and off. For me it is so important to have that consistency! It means assigning human personality traits/characteristics to a brand so as to achieve differentiation. These characteristics signify brand behaviour through both individuals representing the brand (i.e. it’s employees) as well as through advertising, packaging, etc. When brand image or brand identity is expressed in terms of human traits, it is called brand personality.
It is a comprehensive concept, which includes all the tangible and intangible traits of a brand, say beliefs, values, prejudices, features, interests, and heritage. A brand personality makes it unique. Brand personality must be differentiated from brand image, in sense that, while brand image denote the tangible (physical and functional) benefits and attributes of a brand, brand personality indicates emotional associations of the brand. If brand image is comprehensive brand according to consumers’ opinion, brand personality is that aspect of comprehensive brand which generates it’s emotional character and associations in consumers’ mind.
A brand’s personality and values are often a function of the following:
• The personality and values of the organization’s founder (assuming he or she had a strong personality and values)
• The personality and values of the organization’s current leader (again, assuming he or she has a strong personality and values)
• The personality and values of the organization’s most zealous customers/members/clients
• The brand’s carefully crafted design/positioning (UBD)
• Some combination of the above
While personality attributes will vary considerably by product category and brand, in general, strong brands possess the following personality attributes:
• Reliable (“I can always count on [brand]!”)
• Stands for something (specifically, something important to the customer)
• Delivers high quality, well performing products and services
Close your eyes and imagine your organization’s brand is a real person — a member of your leadership team who is sitting right beside you. Are they a man or a woman? Are they young or old? How are they dressed? Where would they sit at your next management meeting — the head of the table or the back of the room? Did they go to college and get a master’s degree, or are they street smart?
Next ask yourself why you are in business, what is it you love about what you do, and why your customers would come to you. The answers to these questions must form a part of your brand personality and filter organically into all your marketing messages and content.
There are five qualities, in step with brand personality, that seem to be common to every good social media engagement strategy that I’ve seen or executed:
5. Fervor (a lust to spend your life doing what you are doing)
Being authentic ensures that you’re in step with how people conduct themselves within social media. Pretending to be something or someone you are not is so obvious and off-putting to most people. For example, it can be a pretty slippery slope if you’re doing a pro-active influencer outreach campaign and you’re pretending to be an expert on something when you’re not. We find that being transparent about who you are and pointing people to where they can get the information they need is a much better strategy.
Doing your homework on your customers ensures that you are delivering messaging, content, promotions, etc. that speak to what is important to them. Listening to your customers is crucial. You may find that your customer base is split into very distinct groups with different interests. Social media does offer us the luxury of not having to be a “one size fits all” kind of thing. Also, it allows you to be nimble with delivery. By listening to your customers, you can deliver content, promos, etc. that really speak to what’s important to them.
Asking permission to engage ensures that you stay clear of spamming. This is not an issue with your established social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as they are all opt-in. They are giving you permission to engage just by following you. Pro-active outreach to Bloggers, established social networking groups, discussion threads, etc. is very different. Bloggers do not want an unsolicited comment from a brand on their blog. If someone is nurturing a community of discussion forums on a particular topic they don’t want to be taken over by unsolicited brand ads. If someone started a fan page, they don’t want a brand to spam their wall with ads. Be authentic. Be relevant. By simply reaching out directly to the bloggers, group leaders or moderators and asking permission to engage will keep you from crossing the line to crass spammer.
Honesty and transparency are the currency of social networking and a huge part of that comes directly from you affecting every interaction online. Understanding the etiquette of social networking, the rules of the sites and adhering to the privacy laws which basically say that although this information is freely available you are expected to understand that it is copyright and private and therefore is not to be gleaned, stolen or copied and used without permission for any reason. One of the problems with the term social media is that it implies a campaign, a pitch, a branded experience. In actual fact, its about the conversation – the interaction of human beings on a topic they both find of use or interest. This is critical in choosing the right social media location for your brand.
Are you slap down, get tingles when you think about it – in love with what you do? If you are you will get excited just talking about it, you will move through your day noticing relevant conversations, images and situations that your business could help improve or could help improve your business, and you will get a thrill just thinking about growing your business and sharing your life with it. This incredible feeling of being so passionately engaged with your business will bring about some amazing things, and it is a requirement of using social media to market your brand. Why?
Because when you feel that thrill, excitement and love for your business, it will carry across to all your posts, comments and conversations and that is one of the best engagement strategies I can think of!
So your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to outline your brand’s personality, vision and values and decide on how your brand will interact in all of it’s conversations from now on. Make sure you come back and tell me about your Aha moments has you complete this module in the comments below – I love hearing all about your Aha’s and successes.