Why Personal Brands Have More Influence
Posted by Ka-Lok Ho
All the accounts that have the biggest following across all channels seem to be individuals and not brands. Personal brands perhaps, but still ostensibly an individual leading the charge.
Why is this?
An organisation may have a memorable look and feel, values that resonate, with a catchy TOV to boot; an overall great brand identity, but what they lack is a face.
Businesses create customer avatars or personas, they imagine their ideal customer(s) with their ideal traits and will usually put a face to this person on a poster to remind the organisation who they are targeting. However, rarely do they do this for themselves.
Some brands do have a face either with a presenter/representative, or even an eccentric CEO. But most prefer to be behind the scenes in their business, and you may know their name but not what they look like or who they are.
Think about some of the biggest brands that have a public personality that have a devout following in-part due to the face of the company; Apple with Steve Jobs, Tesla with Elon Musk. Microsoft doesn’t have this, Mercedes doesn’t have this. However outspoken the prior examples are, they make it obvious where they stand and their perspective in their business. In a previous post, I discussed the importance of having an opinion.
People relate with people. It’s easier to relate to someone than something.
A human will always appear more trustworthy as opposed to a faceless corporation. Whether that trust turns out to be fact is another issue. But the secret is vulnerability. Putting yourself out there is scary, and making public statements anchors you to that belief, but people can relate to that.
A speech given by a person whether live or on video allows audiences to judge your tone and judge you, depending on the context of your words that can work against you, but at least they know where you stand and what you stand for. On the contrary, releasing a statement online is much more impersonal and holds less resonance.
They both may have been written by a PR team carefully scrutinising each word, but a person saying it will always come across more sincere than reading it in a press release.
To put it simply, everyone wants a story. We are all desperately trying to connect with someone who understands us, it’s human nature to want to belong. Look at how engagement happens nowadays, it’s all interactive. Look to Kickstarter, a large appeal of it is the built in story that comes with backing a product, you are now apart of the history of the product.
Everyone wants to connect and be part of a journey.
So how do you give a ‘face’ to your company without an eccentric CEO or a dazzling on screen personality in your business? The simplest way is to show the process
Tell your story. We all love consuming the truth.
Whether your business provides a service or product, your customers want to see how it works, what goes on behind the scenes, how everything is made, what drives the business, what drives you?
We’re yet to get to the point where machines or AI run everything, so you must have at least a small team of people running the day to day. Show how your company operates, what is needed to make things run smoothly.
This not only shows transparency, but seeing humans literally humanises the business - the whole point of the exercise is to ditch the faceless corporation.
Think like an influencer. People are invested in their story because of their personality, their narrative and the reality of it all.
Sure a brand needs to keep some mystery, but if it’s all glossy sheen, it starts becoming unapproachable. Perhaps that’s the positioning you’re after, and if it is this probably isn’t for you anyway, but I appreciate your attention for getting so far in this blog.
The irony of it all is that whilst brands try to replicate an influencers connectivity, influencers are trying to become brands, to be sustainable and scalable in the long run.
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