Marketing personality matters. Whether you’re selling widgets, automobiles or professional services, your firm can look pretty much the same as all of the other firms vying for new prospect attention within your profession.
This can be a serious problem when you’re selling services to other businesses in addition to individual prospects. How do you differentiate yourself from the masses? Personality is the key. Many professional services providers, including accountants, bankers, attorneys, and payroll service bureaus, assume that demonstrating personality will diminish the respectability of their companies. The key is to infuse personality into your marketing to generate more opportunities without affecting your credibility.
Personality is the key
We are all inundated with information on a daily basis. Internet ads pop up and surround every site we visit, email coupons flood our inboxes, mobile offers ping our cell phones and television ads interrupt our favorite TV shows. Yet how many of those ads do we actually remember? Everything looks and sounds the same. Very few commercials remain memorable after a few days; some aren’t even remembered after a few minutes. It can even be difficult to distinguish communications across very different industries. Try changing a word or two in an online university ad and see if it would be relevant for a retail business, such as beer. It’s shocking how similar marketing messages are, despite all of the competition for attention. Within a single industry (such as tax and accounting), the challenge to stand out from the crowd may seem nearly insurmountable.
So how does personality fit into the picture?
Your marketing personality:
- Differentiates your firm, demonstrating why you are different than others who provide similar products or services.
- Shows, rather than tells, what sets you apart – and visual cues are essential.
- Engages the recipient or visitor, drawing them in and capturing their interest.
- Establishes an ongoing rapport between you and your prospects, creating a bond that will help you convert leads into clients when the time is right.
- Proves that there is more to your firm than machines, technology and business process.
- Transforms your B2B messaging from boring to fascinating, increasing both the impact of your communications as well as the quality of the opportunities generated.
You know why you are different from your competitors, but if you haven’t focused your messaging and branding on those particular qualities using an intriguing amount of personality, you’re missing out on opportunities without even knowing it.
How do you demonstrate marketing personality?
There is no secret formula for showcasing personality in your marketing. Essentially, it involves bringing light, life and fun to the topic at hand. Wit, humor, light-heartedness, genuineness and relatability are all quality ingredients for a personality pie. Introducing appropriate emotion into your message is another recipe for personality. Personality comes out naturally when you tell a story. Everything has a story behind it. The trick is in the telling.
Delivery affects the level of personality
For most of us, our writing typically shows less personality than our natural speech patterns. Face-to-face or video communication naturally raises the personality quotient – simply because of the delivery method. Consequently, a blog post listing the latest proposed tax law changes will usually present less personality than a video from the CEO sharing her opinion on those same proposed changes. Keep in mind, however, you can bump the blog post personality quotient up significantly by carefully crafting the content to reflect a more conversational tone.
Infuse personality without appearing silly
Many accountants shy away from “personal” marketing messages because they believe that it will make them appear less serious, less professional or less respectable. Yet, so many accounting firm tag lines claim that they are different because they “go the extra mile to give clients personal attention” and “treat clients like family“.
Rather than telling your prospects how you will embrace the relationship, show them that you already do by infusing a bit of personality into your marketing messages. Distinguish yourself and your firm from others by reaching prospects with a more personal, personality-laden approach.
- Introduce new team members in creative and unexpected ways using video, photography, prose, haiku, crossword puzzle or some other interesting method
- Send out one-minute videos from your key management team members that share a personal insight on a topic of interest to your target market
- Think about how your welcome messages to new email newsletter subscribers could be personalized for optimal engagement
- Use a less formal, more conversational tone in your blog posts and articles
- Showcase clients interacting with your receptionist or associates through photos and attributed quotes
- Highlight your employees’ community and charitable involvement
- Put the spotlight on a partner or executive with a “10 Favorite Things” or “5 Things You Didn’t Know” editorial interview
The opportunities for incorporating personality into your marketing – without coming across as silly – are endless and need not alter your standing as a credible, reputable firm. In fact, clients embrace personality and seek out providers who demonstrate their humanity through their communications.
How do you begin your personality injections?
There is no perfect plan for adding personality to your business’s image, online reputation and brand. Here are five tips to help you get started.
- Brainstorm with your team. Ask questions that will help you develop your organization’s personality. Why do you exist? What makes you different from others? What do you stand for? Why do you do what you do? What is important to you? Why should prospects care?
- Think about HOW you will deliver your corporate personality. Through videos? Through photos? Through a new tone in your blog posts? Through social media? Through your email newsletter? Through an online game? Consider how the distribution of your content will affect the personality factor. Remember that the goal is to show your human, fun side. Don’t be afraid to take chances.
- Get your staff involved. Take a poll among employees to see which personality points and distribution methods resonate the most with them. Ask for additional ideas from them and give their input credence. The younger generation is likely to be more attuned to what will be most effective in today’s market than we give them credit for.
- Choose one campaign option and test it. Start small. Don’t attempt the biggest and most expensive campaign first.
Once you’ve recognized success from your initial infusion of personality, keep building on it through other campaigns and distribution venues.
Let your personality shine
The buying lifecycle has changed over the years, with many prospects waiting to engage on an emotional level with a firm before considering making a purchase. They rely on your communications to make that connection. Trust is no longer gained solely through face to face lunch meetings; the majority of your prospects look to your messaging to establish the foundation of your long-term relationship.
Your marketing personality creates a sense of familiarity, making your prospects feel like they are getting to know you and your firm. Entertaining content plays a much larger role than ever in attracting attention and driving popularity. Entertaining, yet thought-provoking, videos, animations, infographics and cartoons are being used successfully to help establish and maintain those relationships.
Differentiating your firm from others in the profession is essential for business success. Strategic exposure, combined with quality communications, consistent branding and messaging that is chock-full of personality, not only establishes your credibility – it also enhances your reputation, increases your visibility and sets you apart from competitors. Most importantly, perhaps, is that it also results in stronger relationships for enhanced leads and bigger, better new business.