When it comes to content marketing, businesses can easily lose their personality behind lackluster, “robotic” blogs and other web content. This can result in disengaged audiences, reduced thought leadership standing, and lower search engine ratings.
According to GetResponse blogger Marya Jan, creating quality content requires that you infuse the unique, mutual personality characteristics of businesses and their customers into whatever gets written.
How to personify your company
Who are you, as a brand? Does your company embody the sleek, technical industry prowess of a Canon camera, or is your technology more trendy and bold, like Apple’s iPhone?
Are your products evocative of the traditional yet evolutionary Americana that is Coca-Cola, or is the goofy, catchy Fanta jam more your style? Is your brand hip but performance-oriented, like Nike, or more urban and casual, like its competitor Adidas?
You get the idea. Words that can be used to describe a person — hip, bold, traditional, goofy — can also be used to personify brands. Answer these questions: If my brand were a person, how would he or she dress? How would he or she act?
What would my brand believe in? What would be the first impression he or she makes? Embodying these things can take time, energy, and thoughtful marketing consultation, but the first step is to figure out who you are.
Evoking your company’s personality
You have it all figured out. Let’s say you manufacture mobile devices. Your brand is personified as a contemporary but fully adult individual, 20s and 30s, with tech-savvy skill and enough personality to get along with just about anyone.
You aren’t focused on wearing a variety of colors and being fashion-forward, but instead you appreciate function and reliability. How can you convey this to customers and potential leads?
Use examples or scenarios. Some of the best e-commerce companies and the most favored television advertisers alike are those that tell a story. Connect with customers by showing off your products in a context … a way that makes them seem real to people.
You want your customers to think: “That is so me.” Whether on Facebook, in your recent YouTube campaign, or on the blog, make sure your product, in this case the cellphones you manufacture, is being shown and talked about with real people, that it’s taking care of real people’s business.
Anticipate and relate to customer concerns. People have a love-hate relationship with their mobile devices. On the one hand, most of us are glued to a cell phone, tablet, or both, but we also experience regular problems with it: service is iffy, screens crack too easily, and let’s not even mention battery life.
Figuring out what your customer needs and identifying his or her dislikes regarding your specialty is a great way to turn around and tell customers: “We get it; it happens to us too, so let’s try to fix it together.”
With that simple communication, your company stops being just another faceless brand.
Use mascots. The word “mascot” might make you picture a person dancing around an athletic field in an oversized bear, eagle, or similar costume and looking fairly ridiculous. This isn’t always the case.
In marketing, a mascot or persona does not have to be so outlandish. Consider Flo, the Progressive gal; or Red, Wendy’s latest front woman. These are also “mascots” of sorts who are a bit silly, but never embarrassingly so, and most importantly, you knew exactly who I was talking about.
Pick the right one, and a brand like yours can seem friendly and personable.
Adopt a conversational tone. Consider the difference between “It is our mission at XYZ Inc. to endow our purchasers with affable service and perspicacious industry leadership” and “At XYZ, our customers are like family, so we make sure we know our stuff!”
The first sounds like the most stiff-shirted corporate entities out there, but most companies, and most consumers, would prefer to be near the latter option, with personnel and services that work well. Some brand personas are better suited to the first communication style, but there are better ways to emit no-nonsense professionalism than an unnecessary onslaught of thesaurus words.
Respond. One of the major reasons customers feel like they are communicating with robots, machines, or empty rooms when they talk to companies is the lack of genuine response. Automated responses are great for receipts, but when a customer has questions, real answers are preferred.
Try to be available to customers. Show up on social media and respond to comments instead of only posting and talking at a sea of eager but passive recipients. Take screen shots of customer reviews you come across, create a blog post from one of those images, and respond.
If a customer is mad, respond to it, because even if that particular person never sees it, someone else will and that can make a difference. Embody your persona and speak the way your brand would.
Understanding your brand and conveying that persona is key for brand consistency and reliability in any industry. If a customer feels he or she is developing a familiarity and a rapport with the brand identity you’ve established, then the person is more likely to regard your company as approachable and responsive to feedback, and will become loyal.