Whether you are leading a company of a hundred or ten, your business needs to be human. Now more than ever, customers want to connect to another human being, someone who understands their concern and how best to solve it. Try talking to them like a heartless robot that does nothing but sell and you’ll see people walking away from your business.
That is why your business should also have a personality — a reliable representation of your company to the audience it serves.
This is how having a Brand Persona could help your business get real with people.
Brand Persona Goes Beyond Your Company Logo
You may have heard of companies often developing brand guidelines, or sometimes you call it brand kits or even media kits. They also have manuals or standards. What you see are what’s behind their logos — its parts, representations, and how they should be placed on marketing materials. You may also discover that they have brand colors. At the heart of all of these is the brand persona.
To make things simple, a brand guideline is like a person’s outward appearance (brown eyes, black hair, 6 feet in height, and dark complexion — okay, this is my ideal man). A brand persona is a person’s character (choices, attitude, identity).
Simply put, a brand persona is a set of attributes or personality traits that embody the brand and what it stands for.
Most of the time, brand persona is overlooked, ignored, undefined and undeveloped. Because some businesses focus on having a company logo first before creating their brand persona!
Spend some time thinking about what makes your business’ brand unique. Ask yourself: If your business were a human being, what qualities would it bring to the table?
Is your business:
- Serious or more carefree?
- Innovative or grounded in tradition?
- Is its approach to customer service personal or community-driven?
- Would you describe your business as a rebel? A joker? A caretaker? A friend?
I guarantee you that once you have defined your brand persona, it makes it much easier to develop your logo, brand kit, calling cards (do we even use these?), email signatures, and even your social media content.
Brand Persona and Customer Avatar: What’s the Difference?
A brand persona brings the company and a brand to life. Customer avatar, on the other hand, is the composite characteristics of your target audience. Brand persona is your company talking to the customer avatar, which is your audience. In short, your brand persona helps you connect with your customer avatar.
Brand Persona Elements
Here’s what you need to put together for your brand persona:
1. Writing Style
What you write on your website or social media posts is important. It could be your business’ story, your product’s benefits, or how your customers can reach you. But how you say what you say you do matters.
When you hear the term “writing style”, you may think of the 4 essentials that we learned from school: expository, descriptive, narrative, and persuasive. It doesn’t have to be that formal. You may indicate that your writing style is:
- Informal – you’re using simple words that shows emotion, with contractions, abbreviations, and slang
- Formal – you’re using full words with objective, are complex, and doesn’t use the first and second person point of view
When was the last time you spoke to a friend or colleague? I’m not going to probe on what you talked about. Instead, remember how you shared your thoughts. Were you happy? Angry? Or frustrated?
When it comes to brand persona, a tone is created by the words and phrase that you use to send a message to your audience. Brand voice refers to the personality and emotion infused into a company’s communications.
In short, the tone describes how you want to communicate to your audience.
But compared to writing style, the tone varies from time to time. For instance, while you may be publishing the same social media content, your business’ tone is friendly and casual on Facebook, while it’s more formal on LinkedIn. Another example of tone variation is when you ask your audience to send in their comments on your Facebook Live versus you asking them to read your latest website blog.
To create viewpoint, answer the following questions:
- How do you describe your business?
- What problems do you solve?
- Who are the people you’re serving?
- Have you got any proof of high standards for the company such as awards or nominations, even a collection of testimonials? Create a summary of these proofs.
4. Mission Statement
The reason why your business exists is specified in the mission statement. It also describes the goal of your business. It usually has these components: your target audience, the product and the services that you provide, and your business’ unique distinction.
5. Brand Pillars and Characteristics
These could be a set of keywords that represent what your business is about. To a real person, this is like his cornerstone words that he identifies himself with.
For instance, check your business’ website, social media profiles, and even online and offline marketing activities. Does your website look, feel, and sound like your business? Does your social media content represent your personality?
Start Creating Your Brand Persona Now
You might be thinking, “Do I really have to go into this? All I really wanted is to sell my products and services on social media!”
Let me tell you a story of one of my clients.
She sent me this email that went like this, “Some Facebook content that you created isn’t related to my business, such as the April Fool’s Day greeting. We should create fewer posts of that kind, and instead, post about our services more often.”
It’s my client’s first time to use Facebook to market his services, so I patiently replied, “A post that doesn’t result in generating leads for you won’t mean less. Posts like that — April Fool’s Day, Memorial Day, etc. — makes your company HUMAN.
When you join people in celebrations, you talk to people like a human being. These are tactics that, in the long term, could generate you leads. We cannot just sell all the time.”
Thankfully, my client got the drift.
It doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or a B2C company, a startup, or just like my client who’s just starting to dip her feet on social media marketing. People love talking to people. So get real with people or get lost.