Today we live in The Human Era.
In the past, brand “personality” was a combination of visual imagery and one-sided messaging. The general public didn’t have the opportunity to respond to this one-sided dialogue. Today, the Internet, technology, and social media have changed the world: a seemingly unlimited amount of information is at our fingertips; and across the globe, we’re able to connect with one another twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
This constant stream of open communication has caused brands to have the responsibility of directly engaging with consumers—essentially being available at all times for customer questions, concerns, and general conversation. Consumers’ expectations of communication cannot be ignored, so brands have been forced to participate in an interactive role. Consumers also expect companies to be more transparent, to be honest, to be “human” in ways that these entities were unable to before.
The conversation involved in this new role has led to brand personification, wherein human traits or characteristics are associated with a particular brand name. In essence, brands should no longer be intangible entities; instead they should have personality and exist with human-like identities. When a brand’s distinct personality is funny, serious, sophisticated, competent, masculine, or feminine, for example, it makes conversation much easier. And more importantly, it gives consumers the ability to relate to the brand on a personal level.
To create your brand’s personality, begin first with a solid understanding of the people who are talking to your brand: the target audience. (After all, the brand personality must be extremely likable and appealing to those people.) A great way to learn more about your target audience is to create Buyer Personas (see previous article for more information about Buyer Personas). Knowing your business’ buyer personas—their needs, ideals, behaviors, concerns, etc.—will not only foster a better, more open relationship between you and your customers, it will also make them more apt to feel like they are truly being heard and understood.
There are great benefits to honing in on the right customers and excluding the wrong ones, such as reducing your cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer. (In another segment, we’ll discuss those benefits in greater detail.) And once your business’ buyer personas are developed, you have the necessary data to determine your brand’s personality. Your brand personality should be created so that it personifies your ideal customer.