Three Simple Strategies for Establishing Brand Personality

April 19, 2016

If your brand were a person, would it be more like Steve Jobs or Steven Tyler? If your brand were music, would it be classic or country? If your brand were a food, would it be closer to sushi or a cheeseburger?

These questions seem silly but they are great for sparking a conversation about brand personality. Too often companies maintain a vanilla personality in order to appeal to the broadest audience possible. What is often more effective for building a strong consumer base, however, is to define your brand personality and then inject your core values into everything you do.

Remember, people buy from people, not companies. By defining a persona, you’re giving customers someone they can relate to. If done right, it’s an easy way to gain trust, make a lasting impression and differentiate your brand from competitors.

Content marketing provides an amazing opportunity to strengthen your brand personality. Keep in mind, though, that while creativity is encouraged, you must be professional and authentic in anything you write. A few of my favorite strategies for injecting personality into my writing for content marketing clients include:

Add humor: To laugh is to be human

Who doesn’t like to smile? Make your audience laugh and you’ll be remembered long after they’re done reading. Humor often crosses cultures and age demographics because, after all, humor is human. Humor and wit can be great intros, as these strategies draw the reader in and encourage them to continue reading or watching.

Example: Mayhem from Allstate

Most people would agree insurance is a boring topic. The personality Allstate created, called Mayhem, brings to life the importance of insurance in a relatable and humorous way. There’s a reason this is an award-winning campaign. Bonus: very sharable.

Be provocative: Take a stand to stand out from the crowd

Playing it safe is the default strategy for most businesses. You don’t want to post something offensive, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a stand and showcase your opinion in your writing. Get out of your comfort zone and be a bit provocative — it’s a great way to showcase brand personality and boost engagement.

Example: HubSpot’s post Why You Should Teach Your Clients to Fire You

The headline alone begs to be clicked. The article makes a provocative point and highlights an agency whose goal it is to be phased out. Basically, the agency is so effective that clients will learn everything they need in order to eventually do the tasks on their own. This instantly stands out among those competitors who simply say they “work hard.”

Get real: Humanize your offering with stories

When you can add a story that relates to your product, it will make your product that much more interesting and memorable to readers. Rather than just rattling off all the benefits, add some depth to your writing by incorporating a story. Whether it’s a case study or a lifestyle article, stories of human experience are an easy way to add personality to your writing while still staying on-message.

Example: Tom’s shoes and accessories

Tom’s makes super comfortable shoes (I know, I have several pairs), but that’s not the focus of the brand. The focus, rather, is that when you buy a pair of shoes, they give one to someone in need. This key part of the brand’s personality, its desire to give, is evident throughout the website. The stories section is particularly great from a content marketing perspective. It shares stories about who is benefiting from Tom’s, instantly giving readers a behind-the-scenes peek into what really happens after they make a purchase.

April 19, 2016

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