Get Out of the Closet: Exposing your brand personality wins!
Let’s say you are looking over sales collateral or websites to select a service provider. You have a list of basic expectations. You’ve narrowed the search to the top three competitors, all touting capabilities like, “uniquely positioned…,” “…over 50 years experience…,” and “highest quality…” Who stands out and why?
If you answered “no one,” that is a big, honking problem. In each instance, these people or companies have squandered a valuable asset: the opportunity to make a memorable first impression by exposing their brand personality.
Here’s an all too familiar example: “We know you have a choice of airlines. Thank you for choosing [pick one] Airlines.” Did you choose them based on anything special? Was there an emotional connection that will build brand loyalty? Chances are, they reached out to your wallet with a cheap fare and an ever–less–valuable frequent flier program. Will you stay with them or even remember them when the next cheap deal comes along?
In a competitive market, taking a step forward with brand personality is essential to avoid competing on price.
- Kulula Airlines, a small primarily domestic, low–fare South African airline took brand personality to the skies with Flying 101. They painted planes with “helpful” diagrams, began a social media campaign and produced ads that took this airline from obscure to memorable in a fun, engaging way.
- Southwest Airlines does compete to some extent on price, and makes no secret that delivering on price means no frills. For years, under Herb Kelleher’s guidance, the staff and flight attendants used humor and snappy patter to turn the disadvantage of no–frills flying into a rough–and–ready badge of pride that has kept a loyal client base. Relying on brand personality rather than competing by putting their offerings on discount airfare websites has kept them strong.
On the other hand, other airlines who have stayed afloat through mergers and have stripped away brand personality, have seen brand and stock values suffer. By trying to be everything to everyone they become nothing to anyone.
So, it’s good to be different. And, more importantly, there is value in being different. Define what is special about your business personality. Understand what makes customers engage with you. Then, get out of the closet and proclaim it loud and proud. Stand for what you are. Be different. Be memorable. Be outstanding.
(So okay, maybe not People of Walmart different, but different.)