This article has been contributed by Chris Garrett*.
Branding has become a pivotal aspect of marketing, especially given the focus on personality that the digital age has heralded. Search engines prefer recognizable brands, consumers identify with corporations as if they’re people, and it can help your company focus its goals and values.
Successful branding relies on the construction of a company identity and the promotion of that identity using personable marketing. A brand personality is essentially the part of a brand identity that is relatable to consumers. One of the most reliable ways to establish a recognizable brand personality is to publicize your company’s ethical tenets. A great example would be Walmart’s hybrid trucks which very clearly show their stance towards trucking efficiency.
If you don’t share your ethical practices, who will?
Why Is Brand Personality Important?
Modern consumers have been inundated with soulless marketing ploys by faceless corporations for decades. The advent of social media has made it possible, and now necessary, to connect with target audiences in a more meaningful way. Expressing the viewpoint of your company as a whole through interactions with customers has edged its way into the heart of modern marketing.
People are more likely to want to buy your product if you’re expressing genuine innovation and personality.
They’re also more likely to hold you accountable for your actions and methods, but this is a positive thing because it means they’re paying attention. Letting consumers get to know your brand should always be a positive experience on both ends.
Elements of Brand Personality
Developing an agreeable personality starts in-house, identifying what your company’s strengths are incorporating them into a coherent presentation.
But what makes a brand personality? I assert that getting to know a company should be parallel to getting to know a person. A strong brand should have a name (and logo), a type of sense of humor, and a personal sense of style or aesthetics. But the most important aspect is putting forth a set of values that the company can endorse the same way an individual would.
The goal is to stress that your company is made up of like-minded individual people rather than drones.
Brand Personality Example: A U.S. firm, “Ms & Mrs” had wasted a large amount of advertising dollars on promotions and spotlights where their brand repeated kept getting misnamed as “Mr. & Mrs.” The only personality that provided was confusion. So they renamed themselves to “pinch provisions” (they provide emergency personal care kits for events such as weddings). Not only did they change their name, but they released a humorous self-deprecating video explaining their decision. By embracing the change so fully, and marketing this new personality, they saved their business.
Learn from the Best
How can you make sure your ethical agenda is out there?
Paying attention to the tactics that marketing powerhouses employ is a great place to start. Some of the most successful brands on the planet have achieved their success by stating and sticking by their company ethos. Brands can become famous for their ethical practices.
For example, Costco has made a good name for itself for its fair treatment of employees. Google has long touted its unofficial motto of “don’t be evil” as proof of its commitment to freedom of information. Yet neither of these companies made it onto the World’s Most Ethical list of 2013, which weights ethical behavior among corporations. They’re known for their values, but aren’t necessarily the most ethical companies compared to others.
Meanwhile, some companies that are on the list might surprise you. American Express, Hasbro, and Xerox, for example, all made the cut- but their ethical creds aren’t attached to their brand personality outside of their industry. This is an indication that they haven’t taken full advantage of their accomplishments, which is a missed opportunity for brand building.
Marketing Your Ethical Accomplishments
To make the best of your good behavior, follow the examples of companies like Starbucks, which has gone out of its way to be known for its fair trade practices. Display your mission statement, the heart of your company ethos, in all office locations to maximize visibility.
Look into becoming a certified B corporation.
If your focus is on fair trade, vet your raw material suppliers to make sure they come from fair trade sources, then say as much in a blurb on your website. If you’ve chosen to go green, package your product in and conduct all of your paperwork on recycled materials. If you’re consistent and proud of your principles, word of mouth marketing will shortly follow as your clients share how impressed they are with other potential customers.
In-House Benefits of Brand Development
Developing a strong brand personality doesn’t just benefit your marketing efforts. You’ll find that your company culture is more engaging and pleasant when employees know what the company strives for and can identify themselves with those goals. You’ll also be more inclined to stick to the goals you’ve set for yourself if your brand identity depends on it. The increased transparency can be stressful, but the rewards are many. If a consumer can trust you to keep your word, they’ll be willing to forgive any mistakes you might make in marketing or even products.
A cultivated brand personality can push a business to the forefront of its industry. Meditate on what makes your company special and ethical, present your ideas with creative marketing, and learn from the branding geniuses who have been successful before you. These steps can help foster a brand known for its admirable ethics – exactly what you want to be known for as a person.
What do you do to promote your ethical practices?
*Chris Garrett is a marketing specialist and designer working for MegaPrint. The rising necessity of brand personality for success in business fascinates him and reinvigorates his faith that marketing can be artful and meaningful