Should businesses have personalities?
The idea that businesses should act more as brands has been seen throughout the early 2010’s more and more. As a brand, you open yourself up more to communication with customers and the general public, interacting with these groups of people isn’t something that would’ve happened too much before the mass use of social media. Having open ended communication between your business and its consumers is natural. Customers expect to be in touch with the business and to have the opportunity to be in contact.
The idea that businesses are corporate entities that can’t be touched or criticised is fading quite rapidly. If a business releases a product that consumers don’t like, there will be visual negative feedback through emails, messages and social media posts. So having a way to combat this while also having a gateway to transparency and closeness to the consumer is crucial, that is where a business personality will come into play.
The personality of a business will be made up of a couple specific things. The core values of the business, the employees and the competency of management. Having typical “good merit” core values that relate to wellbeing, environment and social norms are a way for a business to connect with more potential consumers. The employees who would ideally share these norms within their own personal lives are hired to act as messengers between the business and the consumer, while the management ruthlessly stick to the core values that give the business character and remind the employees of such.
It is most definitely the people who make a businesses character the way it is. If you have a group of young founders who are comfortable taking risks, you will see the business move into industries that you didn’t expect it to move into, or align with strong messages to get the businesses name out there more. A good example of this is Gymshark. They have, on numerous occasions, supported movements that could result in backlash from certain communities. An older business may not speak or have any public opinion on such cultural events, but a lot of younger organisations are looking to get involved.
This all adds to the likability, trustworthiness and connectability which ultimately helps sway individuals to like the brand enough to want to buy from them. The process of building a fanbase is to eventually sell to them and by getting your business involved with things that the public care about will undoubtedly increase conversion and drive more positive attention towards the brand as a whole.
Content and how it adds character
Since I am in favour of a more long term organic approach to growing a brand. I would be heavily in favour to run this whole process naturally. Which means to focus on producing great content which is easy to digest. An audience needs stimulation, whether that is in the from of a post being entertaining or informative, the stimulation must be there for any potential opportunity to convert them into a follower or lead. For content to be stimulating it has to act like a conversation. We stop watching videos, stop reading posts or skip past photos that are blatantly “too corporate”. Reading through a post that doesn’t read like a real person wrote it is just boring and doesn’t stimulate that want for connection.
Content that is tailored to your target audience must have character to it also. A lot of brands team up with influencers and personalities to allow them to charm and win over the viewer, but when we are at the startup phase we don’t usually have the funds necessary to pay for a Brad Pitt endorsement. So we will have to mimic this with the resources that we have currently. If you know you can write engaging content then you ideally would leverage that as much as possible, if you are a great video editor then you would release tons of video material centred around your brand.
The bottom line comes down to both purpose and quality. If you are a clothing manufacture, documenting the process of fulfilling clients orders will most definitely make that specific audience interested. If you are a mechanic shop and you are documenting the process of the finances within the business, it won’t capture that core audiences attention because you’re not documenting the main purpose of the business. Secondly, quality control with this content is paramount to long term viewership. If you are explaining processes in detail and providing a somewhat entertaining overview it will engage the viewer more so then it would to just lay it out statically using images or text.
The perception of branding within business operation
Branding in general seems to be viewed as something which isn’t important until you reach a national audience. If I’m just a local bakery why would I want to do any sort of branding, social media or content production? There are so many businesses currently that are creating content around the simple day to day runnings and are being successful. There is very simple reasoning behind this, people are very curious about things they’re not involved in. If I could see a 20 minute piece of content that explains the entire operating week of a corporate law firm, I definitely would watch. Simply because I know I’m never going to be in that environment personally, so I may as well see a quick overview. It’s all because I am curious.
So, the idea that branding is only for the big organisations is simply not true. The way that we get more eyes on the business and more leads towards the sales channels is by putting in effort to get those eyes on the operation. More eyes leads to more sales over time. This effort that I mention is in the form of content, advertisement and spending a lot of time working on expanding the entire online side of the business.
I enjoy seeing businesses collaborate and competitors actively engaging with one another. For example, XBOX and Playstation are enormous brands that have been competing for years. Recently both have had new consoles releasing at the same time. On their social channels you can see them interacting positively with each other over tweets. We know that even the simplest interaction between the two will cause major news headlines. So both parties were smart enough to engage in literal conversations with each other through social channels which brought huge media attention to both companies, ultimately helping bolster sales through the extra publicity. I feel like decades ago we would never see huge competitors interact in this way, but we know that operations are different and transparency alongside character are huge selling points when it comes to business reputation.