The next time you walk into a Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), take a look at the wall behind the cashiers. You'll see there is a photograph of every store employee doing what they love to do outdoors, whether it's climbing, backpacking, snowboarding, etc. These photographs show that REI probably didn’t hire these employees just because they had the best past work experience or because their letters of recommendation were impressive. REI most likely hired them because they embody the REI brand.
With this hiring strategy, REI is leveraging the company’s own brand personality. This is the collection of traits and characteristics that a customer associates with a brand name. Sure, your company can have a stellar logo, branded pens and pencils, and matte business cards. But if you lack employees who fully represent and live out your brand, your brand is second-rate.
Brand personality is not reserved for B2C businesses. A successful B2B company must rely on brand personality as well, mainly because a strong brand personality will help engage people who run target businesses. When creating a brand personality, don’t just dress up your employees in branded uniforms; that’s not the point. Instead, focus on the essential parts of your business:
Embrace Company Culture
Each company has a unique feel. Take advantage of that! That culture is what will define your core values and the behaviors associated with it. Allow your culture to help shape how your customers see your company from the outside looking in.
Consider your Audience
By learning more about your current and prospective customers, you can decide what kind of brand personality would appeal most to them. For example, if your target audience is generally young, consider building a brand that is more casual and approachable. When customers can relate to your brand, they are much more likely to remember it and engage with it.
How is your company setting itself apart from the pack? Make your customer experience memorable for more reasons than the typical good customer service. All of this can be found by looking back in on your company culture and fully expressing yourself to your customers.
Brand personality can help make a business more unique and memorable, which can inevitably attract more customers. By establishing a solid brand, credibility and faith in your brand will increase and leads will be sure to follow.
Image by Corey Lowrey via Flickr CC