There’s always an image that we’re expected to uphold, even as a brand. No matter what industry you fall within, there will always be pressure to meet some sort of personality standard. But herein lies the problem: when we focus so hard on being the way we think people want us to be, we lose our voice. We become another one of the hundred people sending the same messaging. Sounds like a snoozefest to me.
And I’m not alone in thinking that. Your customers can sense when something is genuine and when its been written half-heartedly. When it’s the latter, you may be better off shutting up and claiming the mysterious approach. That’s more interesting than saying boring crap. I’m only half-joking here.
Sure, we need to understand our target market in order to appeal to them. But that doesn’t have to mean losing our sense of self. When your company was founded, what vision was laid out? Are you down-to-earth or more technical? Whether you’re building copy for your website or posting a status to social media, your messaging needs to feel genuine.
In case you’re not catching my vibe yet, I’ll make this idea a little more relevant with an analogous situation. When you want to form a relationship with someone, your first move is to find out as much as you can about their interests and what drives them. What makes them tick? What inspires them? This is all valuable information, and I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to know about someone. It builds a stronger bond, and it makes conversation and the overall relationship more meaningful.
Let’s approach this relationship from another angle, as a less-likeable person. You go on a date with this same person, but instead of taking the time to do your own investigating, you assume that you already know them. You’re on a date with this person because they have something you want (in business, this would be a sale). Because of this, you laugh at their jokes without understanding them, you say things that you’ve assume they’d want to hear and you spout off your accomplishments. Your date for the evening soon recognizes that you’re a phony when you ask her where she works for a third time. I sure as heck wouldn’t want to go on date number two.
When people recognize that you’re trying to taking advantage of them and that you couldn’t care less about them, they shut off. We’re wired to protect ourselves, even if its just from bland advertising. If you’re not bringing something new or exciting to the table, no one cares.
Here’s my theory: genuine brands get genuine leads. In an over-saturated marketplace, the human factor has become increasingly relevant. Consumers want to feel like you understand them, like you’re a real person, too. They want to share experiences and make connections. They want to have conversations, not to simply be talked to with the same spiel they could get across the street.
If you’ve got a funky writing style or you like to crack jokes, don’t be afraid to be real. Be bold. Take risks. But most importantly, be yourself. I’d rather read something with a strong personality, regardless of whether or not I agree entirely with the content, than waste my time reading a dull piece with info so dry that I lose my appetite to continue. Add some Tabasco! Spice your writing up and make it memorable! That’s something that people can connect to. Its what that keeps people coming back for seconds.