Humanizing a brand is the best way of endearing people to your company. Of course, doing so is easier said than done, but it’s worth it in the long run.
Building a personality takes effort. Finding one that fits your overall company message, and takes into account the strengths of your team, isn’t easy.
Also, personality isn’t just limited to what you say or the odd joke you make, but on your style and how you present yourself to the public. How you interact should be a reflection of your brand, enabling people to connect with you. If you haven’t properly considered what your brand’s voice is, do it sooner rather than later.
Deciding upon an identity
If you had five words to describe your business, what would they be? Serious? Fun? Easy going? Funny? Informative? Lighthearted? Helpful?
This isn’t a tagline that you will share with the world (unless you really want to), but it will help determine how you communicate to the world. Not only does it help to be consistent, but also it’s useful to have when your customers (or potential employees) want to get an idea of the type of culture that forms your business.
Also worth considering are the colors you use to showcase your brand. Different colors evoke different emotions
. Knowing the type you want to associate yours with can really help out.
Put a face to the name
Your company is likely selling its products or services to people—whether it’s directly to consumers or to the employees of a business. In that case, putting a face to your company name is helpful—especially if you regularly deal with customer service queries. It’s easier for people to identify with you when they can visualize the person behind the account. Anything that stops them from feeling like they’re talking to a corporate brand will help in the long run.
In the case of Twitter, a number of companies place images of their customer service team (along with the employees’ initials or Twitter handles) on their background image. It’s a small move, but it is effective in showing that there are real people who are going to engage with you.
What’s your look?
Presentation is always key. Let’s say you were being introduced to two people for a business deal and you could only choose one. The first person is dressed in a suit, while the other is dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. It’s likely you would go for the person in the suit. At the very least, he or she looks more professional and appears to take himself or herself more seriously.
The same can be said of your site and, by extension, your social media channels—whether or not you like it, people will judge you on looks first.
However, don’t get too wrapped up in style and neglect everything else. The color and style of your website are important, but don’t ignore the user experience and the content.
What’s the tone of your business?
The message and style of your company will help shape the kind of brand voice you’re looking for. Is it going to be serious and to the point, or will you be using fun and colorful language to sell your product?
There are few instances when you have to adapt an entirely serious tone. Doing so will depend upon the industry with which you’re involved, so there will always be room for a bit of personality and fun in your interactions.
One great example of this is bookseller Waterstones Oxford St.
in London. You might think its online presence would be staid, but the store creates some zany narratives around books on its website. It even auto-tunes first lines from books. Plus, the bookseller gets into faux arguments with other stores, such as Fallons, which also joins the fun.
If you’re a small business, there’s little harm in making the brand voice your own (because you’re one and the same). Just be careful: You could end up with an embarrassing mishap if you forgot that your personal account is also that of your business.
How do you connect?
Your replies and comments to customers will tie in with the overall tone you’ve developed. You could give serious replies, whimsical responses, or offer a balance between the two.
Sometimes the query will influence the type of response you give, but as mentioned earlier, unless your business handles something serious, or the topic requires a straight answer (for example, customer service queries), you can experiment with responses.
Quinton O'Reilly is a writer of social media/tech stuff for Simply Zesty, where a version of this story first appeared.