As the director of finance focused content marketing agency Contentworks I can tell you that brand personality matters. In this article, I’m going to tell you why. Let’s start with finance as an example. There are 250 regulated Cyprus investment firms listed on CySEC’s website with approximately 200 of these being forex brokers. There are also 3600 broker-dealers to choose from in the US according to recent stats from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). And with the UK boasting a £7.7trn asset management industry that’s set to double in the next ten years, it’s clear that competition is tough. And that’s just for the finance sector.
Throw in the countless retail outlets and e-commerce stores across multiple industries and you’ll see that fierce competition is everywhere. So, how can you stand out from the crowd and get your share of the profit pie? One of the best ways is by creating a strong brand personality.
What Exactly is Brand Personality
As humans, we project ourselves into the world in different ways. No two people have exactly the same personality. And the same ethos should apply to business. Brand personality is essentially how you want to be portrayed. Will you be straight tie corporate? Or are you relaxed? Will you use upbeat, fun language and memes or will you stick to professional serious content?
Elements of Brand Personality
‘Brand Personality’ is not just corporate talk. It’s a very real concept made up of numerous elements. These include:
- Language – the language you use is very important and will depend largely on your target audience. If you’re aiming at people new to your products/services – keeping it simple is the real deal. Targeting industry experts? Then you have to up your game and establish your authority by using more professional terms and industry lingo.
- Spelling – differentiating between UK and US English, for instance, is a big deal in the world of content and helps to give your brand a strong identity. Switching between the two is unacceptable as it will get noticed by grammar hounds and damage your credibility.
- Design – first impressions count. They really do. And the design of your website says a lot about your personality. It’s just like walking into someone’s house and getting an instant feel for their character. Make sure your personality shines through all design elements.
- Writing style – no two brands are the same and therefore developing your own writing style can set you apart from the crowd. Perhaps your content will be filled with humour. Or maybe you’ll be knowing for your sharp, fact-based knowledge.
- Character – every brand should have a strong character. Whether you’re funny, serious, easy going, whimsical or snarky, this should shine through your content.
Brand Personality Creates Consistency
Consistency is important when it comes to business which is why it’s essential to maintain the personality of your brand. In other words, don’t be fun, lively and down with the kids one day and watch-paint-dry boring the next, as people won’t know where they stand.
A strong brand personality helps to create consistency across all consumer touch points. From your website to your social posts, there should be a strong brand identity which will make your followers feel safe and secure as consumers. Indeed, consistency can boost revenue by up to 23%, so it’s well worth knowing your brand inside out and coming up with content and style guides for all team members, so they’re on the same page.
As a digital-only bank with a large following of millennials looking to benefit from cross border currency solutions and peer-to-peer payment service, Revolut is one example of a brand nailing consistency through professional marketing with a side helping of humour.
Top tip: Choose a platform where your target audience likes to hang out. 54% of those aged 35-34 use Instagram on a regular basis, so this is a good choice for Revolut. You can then consistently use this platform as a regular source of tailored content that will appeal to your target audience. Remember to use the same tone of voice and style elements.
Brand Personality Helps You to Stand Out
Every company should have its own unique selling points (USPs). These are factors, which quite literally, set you apart from others in the industry. If you’re a forex broker, for instance, you’re instantly against a ton of other forex brokers all competing for traders. Let’s say you all have lightning fast executions, spreads from 0.01 and fix API, what’s the difference? What makes you stand out from the crowd and why should people choose you over someone else?
Well this is where brand personality comes into play. What are you all about? Are you a thought-leader or a news provider? What do you care about? How do you answer traders on social media? If your brand were a person, what would your personality be?
Top Tip: 45% of consumer will unfollow a brand if it spends too much time talking about its products. So, with this in mind, try to be of use to those who use your products and services. As you can see above, FXTM tweeted an FXTM Market Outlook for Q3 which is extremely useful for traders and investors.
Brand Personality Showcases Your Values
Corporate responsibility is big news these days with companies going the extra mile to show how they’re giving back to society. And for good reason. Over 81% of millennials expect brands to be committed to corporate responsibility in some way with 64% refusing to take a job if a company’s corporate responsibility is lacking.
What’s more, Tim Mohin, Chief Executive of the Global Reporting Index (GRI), explained: “In the past decade there has been a tremendous upswing in interest coming from the financial sector. With over 90% of the largest companies now filing sustainability reports (85% of the S&P 500), the data is plentiful. But that is not new. What is new is the interest in using the information for investment decisions.”
He continued. “A recent study from Oxford University found that more than 80% of mainstream investors now consider ‘ESG’ – environmental, social and governance – information when making investment decisions. And the numbers are compelling – globally, there are now $22.89 trillion of assets being professionally managed under responsible investment strategies.”
The key message here is that corporate responsibility should form part of your brand identity and be reflected in the personality of your business. With the correct marketing and presentation, you can attract and retain consumers that take such activities seriously.
Mastercard is one company that manages to communicate their ethics and company values through their digital brand personality. Girls4Tech, for instance, is a STEM educational program that has reached over 400,000 girls in 25 countries.
Top tip: If you want your brand personality to showcase corporate responsibility, choose a cause or project that’s inline with your values as this will come across a lot more genuine and authentic. Don’t be afraid to talk about the work you’re doing but be factual and to-the-point instead of bragging. Using images and video helps to bring your projects to life.
Creating a Brand Personality
Creating a brand personality of your own may seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you know who you’re talking to (your target audience) and your company missions and goals – you’ve already formed the basis of a strong brand. The problem comes when you don’t know your market or what you want to achieve, as you’ll never be able to align your campaigns or be consistent.
With the basics under your belt, you can start to consider all of the important elements such as language and design mentioned above. It’s like writing a story with a strong plotline and the potential for endless chapters. Make people fall in love with you and your character by being unique and standing out from the crowd. No-one needs another Captain Birdseye or Charmin Bear.
- Copying the style and band personality of others. What works for them might not work for you, so having your own identity is essential. Take fast-food chain @Wendy’s, for instance. They’re well-known for their relaxed, often snarky and humorous tweets which have a very casual, laid back tone. Their posts are packed with contractions and colloquialisms. This is all well and good, but their style would be totally unsuitable for a corporate finance brand offering trading pair information. So, understanding that tones differ is key.
Similarly, @innocent have a very unique style. Again, they rely on quick wit and funny tweets to engage their audience. It works because it’s unique to them.
But trying to be Innocent won’t work for you. Why? Because the world knows the style of Innocent Drinks and will see you as a cheap knock-off. That’s why being you (and only you) is an essential part of brand success.
Top tip: Produce a content style guide for all employees and agencies covering all main points. This might include whether you talk in the first person or third person, whether you use colloquialism, whether you use contractions, whether you use emojis on social posts and so on.
Use this style guide to inform a carefully thought out content plan which reflects your brand personality and delivers what people will expect from you. That said; don’t be afraid to try new things. If you’ve been tweeting financial news updates, it’s fine to break out into market analysis and so on so long as your style and tone remain the same as well as your visual branding.
Contact me today for content marketing that will bring out the personality of your brand.