Thursday, February 22, 2018

Brands are People Too

Brands are the personification of organizations and their products and services. In this way, those organizations and their products and services can take on human qualities. They can stand for something. They can make promises. They can have personalities. They can share values with their customers. They can be funny. They can be friendly. They can be dependable. They can be trustworthy. And, in this way, people can relate to them, like them and even feel emotionally connected to them. 

Think of the qualities that you most admire in a person. For me, it is compassion, intelligence, playfulness and quick wittedness.  For you, it may be something else. 

Now consider the personalities that have been given to specific brands, sometimes by brand spokespeople or characters, at other times just by sensory design and brand messaging. Consider GEICO's gecko. He is cute and likable and funny with a pleasant accent. And Dos Equis' The Most Interesting Man in the World is debonair and successful with a plethora of rich experiences and stories. It implies that life will be more interesting with Dos Equis.  And Farmer's Insurance University of Farmers advertising campaign presents Farmer's Insurance as a calm knowledgable, seasoned brand that can handle anything because it has seen everything. And remember Tom Bodett's folksy voice that says, "I'm Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we'll leave the light on for you."? This is folksy, friendly and reassuring. And remember Alistair Cooke, host of PBS Masterpiece Theatre? He epitomized civility, informed nonchalance and authority, just the right mix for Masterpiece Theatre. 

I must admit, that on the other hand, I do not understand the appeal of Progressive Insurance's Flo, the fictional salesperson character appearing in more than 100 of their commercials. To me she is unattractive, awkward, plain and geeky without much going for her, not a spokesperson I would want for a brand. Having said that, I am clearly missing something as there are multiple Flo ProgressiveGirl fan pages with tens of millions of likes on Facebook. 

I think you get my point though - brands are intended to add human qualities to organizations and their products and services so that they can better connect with people in an emotional and loyalty-building way. Have you thought through what type of person you want your brand to be? 

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