Common wisdom tells us that it’s important to be professional online and to think about how we’re shaping our brand identity and voice with every piece of content we publish, from blog posts to tweets.
The trouble is, what’s considered “professional” has been shaped by years of imitation. It’s difficult to foster a unique voice within the tight parameters of professionalism, and what comes out often has the inventive punch of a cookie cutter. We’re so scared of doing something wrong, we speak like we’ve been programmed! But there is opportunity in being human.
The Purpose of Personality
For fear of saying anything offensive or controversial, brands have been pumping sterilized content into public channels for so long that cut-and-dry has become the standard of professionalism. But the more that people interact with different brands in their everyday lives, the more likely it is that all the boring “professionals” will start blurring together. Meanwhile, the brands that stick out are killing it.
Being interesting is good. It makes you more memorable. It makes people want more from you, and that is generally a good thing for us as marketers.
As you might suspect, personality overload can be a bad thing. You don’t want to be that obnoxious dude at the party who announces his need for attention, but you don’t have to stick to small talk either.
Creating Purposeful Content
Once you’ve embraced the idea that your content can pack a little more punch, what’s next? Is this a whole new world where you can just be yourself online and adopt your personal voice as your brand’s voice? Probably not.
Before you get on social media and start writing whatever biting political or social commentary that comes to mind, ask yourself whether the end result actually resonates with the brand you’re trying to build or the customer segments you want to reach.
Sometimes it’s better to be funny, silly, smart, or even sexy. You’ve got to “find the cheese” that’s most palatable to your audience, which will help you know what personality type you should be developing. Once you’ve done that, find a way to make your content interesting — say by framing updates that surprise, amuse, or intrigue, and by accentuating the personality type you’ve found best aligns with your campaign or brand.
The emotions you evoke in your audience has a great deal to do with your campaign results. For example, as noted by science, making people happy increases shares, while fear tactics can increase brand loyalty. So think through your goals to develop your brand personality and create context for your content.
Improving Your Brand Personality
This last step isn’t exactly about becoming the life of the party. It’s about creating a credible and personable projection of your company. How? We recommend imparting your brand personality through multiple media, whether visual, audible, or otherwise. It’s important to remember that people learn in different ways, and improving communication by varying your methods also develops the depth and breadth of the voice you’re putting out there.
Concentrate on infusing extra energy and originality in each campaign, and be conscious about the limitations of each medium when planning your content. Certain media types tend to muffle personality, so watch out for where your intent does and does not shine. You may need to act more exaggerated in some media to compensate. In writing, video, and all else, it’s never a bad idea to get second and third opinions to gut-check your concepts, as well as your progress along the way.