People CommunicatingEverybody communicates in different ways. Usually, this is a reflection of the kind of person you are – if you’re outgoing, shy, funny, serious etc, we would expect this to be reflected in the way you communicate. But does it always have to be so?

An Example

Let’s take two fictional characters as an example – Fred and Paul.

Fred is modest, thoughtful and sincere. He is constantly praising the hard work of others, and is considerate when communicating with people and a good listener. All in all, the stories he share and the things he talks about are interesting and useful. You feel that if you had a problem you could go to Fred for decent, honest advice.

On the other hand, Paul is loud, boastful and unabashed. He iwill happily brag about all his achievements, regardless of who is listening. In a group, Paul attempts to dominate conversations and isn’t interested in hearing about what others have to say.

As is with the case with many people, how Fred and Paul communicate gives a pretty decent insight into their personalities.

Now think about this. Which person would you rather go for dinner with? Who would you trust more? And most importantly, if Fred and Paul were representative of brands, which one would choose?

The Lesson

I think the answer here is obvious. In the ‘new age’ of marketing we are currently entering (or indeed are in already), how you communicate is vital to success. Good communication is no longer about shouting loudest, but listening to your audience and engaging with their needs. Brands need to realise that pushing promotional materials – no matter how well executed – will not cut it for much longer. It is the brands who are genuinely helpful, engaging and understanding to their customers who will reap success in the coming years.

And this is what content marketing is all about. Providing useful, relevant, interesting information of any form, at the right time and place. Not shoving it in peoples facing and forcing it on them unwittingly, but offering it freely and helping address their needs. This is the attitude brands needs to be adopting, and the actions they need to be taking.

But what about brand identity?

Hang on a second, you might think. You have built a brand around a solid set of values, and perhaps created an “identity” or “personality” positioned around such values. Should you throw all that in (or at least modify it) for the sake of becoming thoughtful and humble through content marketing?

Firstly, let’s set one thing straight. Being “thoughtful” in this sense is not about bowing down and being a complete pushover. Doing good content marketing doesn’t mean having to be a sappy little ‘aren’t we so helpful’ brand. It’s being considerate and understanding towards the people you are trying to reach – whatever shape this may take.

The crucial thing here is that you can still retain your brand’s personality and identity while acting on these values.

Just as every brand will have a different identity and a different target audience, there will be different ways for them to communicate effectively and meaningfully with their customers.  The types of communication that are interesting, relevant and useful to one brand’s target audience will not be the same as the others. A feisty, vivacious brand can still find a way to be a Fred, not a Paul when it comes to their brand communication.

In summary, there are three important things to take away from this:
  1. The way your business communicates (be it through social media, web copy, face to face or phone contact with employees) says so much about your brand.
  2. Regardless of the identity and personality you are trying to create through your brand’s communication, being useful and thoughtful by providing appropriate, engaging content is so important.
  3. But you can still retain whatever kind of identity or personality you want your brand to have through such “thoughtful” communication.