When brands get personal
Successful marketing is about stories and about people. About people relating to the brand as well as the people behind the brand. But wherever there are people, there are personal opinions, so how personal is too personal when you’re a brand as well as a person?
This issue is even more important to tackle and to get right when your brand is tied in with your person, something I have some experience with, because one of the brands I have created, Cotswolds Concierge, is very much linked to my person. I created Cotswolds Concierge as a “concierge guide to the Cotswolds”, and it is in part an online business that shares where to go and what to do in the Cotswolds, and in part it is reviews, articles, social media accounts of where I go and what I experience in the Cotswolds, on my own, with friends or with my family.
If you can’t say anything nice..
So when I started Cotswolds Concierge, I made this my “mantra”: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything. And I have, for the most part, stuck to this.. I say “for the most part” because on a small handful of occasions I have allowed my personal views on things other than the Cotswolds to be aired. Most recently when I tweeted a response to a Cotswold hotel’s tweet where they advertised their foie gras starter.
Incensed that a business in the Cotswolds would advertise their support of animal cruelty, I responded that perhaps they ought to take a look at PETA’s article on the animal cruelty that goes on to produce foie gras – they didn’t respond, instead they blocked me and continued their promotion of the culinary “delights” produced using despicable and cruel methods. I was angry, cruelty to animals make me angry.. so there.
But was I right or wrong to allow my personal views to spill over into my brand? Well, I think I was. In this case, my personal views say something about me as a person, and I am happy for that part of my personality to colour my brand. But I wouldn’t do it all the time, of course.
As a brand, you have to conduct your business with emotion, with engagement and with personality. This doesn’t necessarily mean the airing of personal opinion, but rather that you must create a brand that allows it’s customer to experience the brand and to wish to engage. To do that, you must bring to life your brands personality. The authenticity of your brand personality will appear when you are positive, when you add value and when you are true to your product or service, whatever it may be.
Personality and a good product
With Cotswolds Concierge I do this by being exactly as excited and happy as I really, truly am about living and working and playing in the Cotswolds. I go out to restaurants, I visit attractions, I stay in hotels and spas, I go around this wonderful area of outstanding natural beauty and I share how much I love what I experience. And that has become the personal aspect of my brand.
Nobody incarnates the values of a brand better than the people behind it, as at the end of the day, they are the brand and when a business gets it right, personality and a good product is the winning combination.