Why You Can and Should Personify Your Brand (No Matter Your Size)
Brands of all sizes (yes, even personal brands) need to think about personification. Whether you are leading a multi-person operation or you are a solopreneur, consciously considering and recognizing how your brand is portrayed and perceived is important.
But what exactly is personification?
Merriam-Webster defines personification in the following three ways:
1 : attribution of personal qualities
especially : representation of a thing or abstraction as a person or by the human form
2 : a divinity or imaginary being representing a thing or abstraction
3 : EMBODIMENT, INCARNATION
Consider today’s most memorable brands. What can you say about their branding, voice, messaging, and so on? If they were an acquaintance of yours, how would you describe them to a friend or relative? Are they snarky, friendly, engaging, smart, mischievous, pompous, funny…? The list of possibilities is long, which is why it’s completely possible for your business or brand to establish a relevant, memorable, and professional personality, whatever its size.
Below are three specific ways you can and reasons you should make personification a part of your business starting now.
1. Personify Your Brand Because People Trust People
Whether you realize it or not, you have a stronger connection to the things you buy and places you go because of personification. For example, would you feel quite the same about a can of soup if it was simply a metal cylinder? No label. Nothing. It gets the job done, yes, but all brand-related emotion behind the purchase is lost (unless, of course, you feel a strong emotion toward unlabeled metal cans). Without any brand association, the product seems oddly removed. There could be anything in the can and who knows if it’s going to taste good.
Now, what about a can with that classic Campbell’s label wrapped around it? For many, the experience of seeing, choosing, and purchasing that can is going to be different. You know the brand and over time you’ve created your own perception, emotion, feelings, thoughts, and opinions around the brand.
If I were to share my personification of Campbell’s, I would say they were:
- Diverse in both their flavor options as well as the people and occasions they create for
- They are helpful, providing recipes to make their own product more enjoyable and accessible for others
There’s more I associate with them, but those three should give you a good idea of the point I’m making.
Of course, not everyone likes or even knows about Campbell’s soup, but the idea here can, of course, be applied to other brands to prove the same point.
2. Personification Helps You Let Go and Grow
If you’re more than a one-person operation, or you’re looking to grow your business down the road, personification is going to be your friend.
Many business owners, as they grow and expand and bring in various employees with varying personalities get scared. They have built this brand around who they are and how they sound, but never took the time to personify the brand so that they could begin to separate themselves from the identity of the business.
This can be dangerous for two reasons:
- Because running a business shouldn’t be solely about your vision, ideas, and opinions – the people you help and how your services fit into their lives matters.
- Because micromanaging and controlling your employees creates a toxic workplace that employees will not tolerate long-term.
Personification as a means to share and extend the brand voice throughout an organization is important for so many reasons – more of which I will get into in a future post. For now, remember that personification can help you expand into your future vision.
3. Personification Keeps Teams Consistent (Even Teams of One)
You’ve heard the stories:
- The employee who accidentally tweeted on the company account and offended a few million people on behalf of a corporate brand
- The promo that went out covered in spelling and grammar errors that had people distracted and possibly upset, rather than intrigued by the latest release
- The intern that publishes a post on behalf of a company contradicting the company’s core values and beliefs in the process
If perception in business matters to you (and it should if you claim to run a business), these scenarios will likely make your stomach drop. Luckily, having a solid brand that is clearly personified will make it so much easier for others to understand and take on the brand persona when the time comes.
If you think about your favorite brands for a moment, you can probably imagine how they’d speak to you in person if they had a singular representative. Some brands, in fact, do. Think about how that person might look, dress, and even how they would answer specific questions. As you strive for growth, you should also strive for that level of recognition and connection.
One Thing to Keep in Mind…
Peronification can be tricky. Many people love the snarky responses sent via Twitter from one big brand to another, but when done poorly, sassy and snarky can be misinterpreted as rude and mean.
Be mindful of how you choose to and ultimately end up portraying your brand and interacting with your audience. Communication is key, even when you’re not getting immediate feedback from those on the other side. Listen to your audience, grow into your voice, and be nice.
Now It’s Your Turn
I want to hear from you! What do you think about personification? Is this a new concept to you? Have you thought about personifying your brand at all? Let me know in the comments below.
Till next time,