Building a brand personality for your company that actually resonates with people is not easy. All the consultants and gurus will tell you, “you gotta be authentic.” “Don’t fake it.” “Be true to yourself.”
But what does that mean?
And what happens when your authentic self isn’t a very effective marketing tool?
I’ve seen many small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs who have been their own worst enemies. If they were to build an “authentic” brand around their own personalities, no one would do business with them.
Sometimes it’s best to take your self out of the equation and build a brand around something else. Something bigger and more meaningful.
It can be done, but it takes a lot of thought and planning. That’s the brand strategy work that most business owners overlook.
The fact is, if you want your marketing tactics to bear fruit, you need to spend time up front devising a brand strategy and building a brand personality that’s yours, and yours alone.
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You can’t just copy other people’s “proven strategies of success” and expect to build an authentic brand personality.
Every day I get sales pitches from people offering me hundreds of qualified leads every day. “Just use this system,” they say. Cut and paste this script. Apply these magical marketing funnels. Change out the logo and you’re good to go!
I’m sure that cookie-cutter approach to marketing works for some companies, but as a branding person how could I possibly justify that? How is that genuine or unique?
I’m not a lazy person, and I’m not going to build my brand around lazy marketing tactics that do nothing to differentiate my company. That approach would be completely OFF brand for me.
I have to demonstrate creativity and expertise in everything I do.
If you’re an attorney you better demonstrate precision, persuasion and professionalism.
If you’re selling golf clubs you better demonstrate a good grasp of the nuances of the game.
If you’re selling video production services, you better show some good videos.
If you’re a pediatrician you better show some empathy and an honest love for kids.
That’s how you build an authentic brand over the long haul. That’s how small brands with big attitudes gain iconic status. Even the Duck Dynasty guys have done it.
The brand personality of a company doesn’t have to match the personality of the business owner.
But it has to match the market. It needs to be relevant and obviously applicable to the business category you’re in.
In other words, the brand personality needs to be aligned with the nature of the business. Otherwise, it’s just a disconnect.
For example: Let’s say you’re selling plant-based hamburger patties. You wouldn’t build a brand personality around the cowboy archetype, even if the company founder actually was a cowboy at one time.
(Besides, that quintessential image is forever tainted, thanks to the famous Marlboro Man campaign.)
If you’re selling serious, enterprise-level financial software you can’t build a brand personality around the idea of teenage entertainment and gaming. Even if the founder is a teenage gamer.
It just won’t compute.
So if you want a brand personality that’s both authentic and effective in the marketplace, take a close look at these four things:
The essence of your company — your core value proposition and the target audience. Brands have to be honest about who they’re right for and what business they’re actually in.
The nature of your products or service — the how of your operation. How you do things has a direct effect on brand personality, one way or another.
The heritage of your company — where you’ve been. What you’ve said in the past. How you looked. It’s all relevant to your current brand strategy. Sometimes that heritage has to be buried in order to move forward. Other times it’s the source of great inspiration.
Your sense of purpose — why you’re here. Daniel Pink says you should always start with WHY. The great rewards go to those with the strongest purpose.
Your values — The relevant, honest-to-goodness ones, not the stock mission statement nonsense that you see on the wall at most companies.
That’s the hardest part of building an effective brand personality… getting an honest assessment of where you actually stand right now and where you need to go.
Who are you, really?
If it’s your company, you’re probably too close it to see the reality of it. And your employees won’t be very helpful if there’s any bad news involved. So the only way to get the process started is with outside help.
Give us a call. We take a measured, step-by-step approach to brand building that won’t break the bank.