Not so long ago marketing was all about creating great brand awareness and connection. But in our socially interconnected online world, you’ve got to be ready to move beyond the brand and allow YOU or YOUR PEOPLE to be front and centre… Why? Let’s get into this…
You see, within our digital society and this new era of social connectivity and authenticity, the companies that are crushing it are those that realise that their brand needs to be more “human”.
It’s no surprise that customers want to connect with real people, because ultimately, it is the people who make a brand what it is. But not only that, it’s pretty basic psychology that people connect with people faster than with a faceless brand.
Consumers want to know who is speaking for and representing your brand. They want an authentic opportunity to connect with the people that make your brand what it is.
In response to this, we’re seeing more and more savvy brands encouraging development of what is often called personal brands. It is about allowing a genuine voice in the marketplace created by the real people who make your brand what it is. It’s about encouraging individuals to generate a fusion of branded content designed to have a lasting impact. All the while not hiding who those individuals are. Allowing them to put their names to the content they create and interact with the engagement that it stimulates.
Which, can feel a bit risky. But I want to outline three reasons why the risks are low.
1 – Know who you are as a brand
Firstly, if you and your people know who you are as a brand, then they’ll know the boundaries when it comes to creating content and engaging. This means knowing more than what you do as a brand. And going beyond Simon Sinek’s focus on the “why” of your brand. It also means being clear on the core values and personality of your brand. It is the combination of all these things that will enable you, and any others who might be representing the brand, to know the boundaries of where your brand is to be positioned. When everyone creating content for the brand shares in these values and personality, the risks are low.
2 – The value of authorship
Secondly, content associated with its author is highly valuable when it comes to search and engagement. As people generate content and attract followers, then they start to feature more prominently in search results. They are hitting on Google’s Expertise Authority and Trust triggers. Essentially Google’s algorithms sees them as a trusted expert, and the flow on from this as they are linked with your business, is that it too benefits from their growing position as an expert in their area.
Even if they leave your business, the content they have created whilst associated with your brand will continue to exist and be valuable. So, if their profile grows even higher, then there will be a residual connection as new followers will often engage with older content previously created by that person.
3 – Your brand is not in the hands of an individual
Lastly, as it’s all about the person, a serious failure on their part does not by necessity have a direct connection to a failure by your brand. So for example, if one of your brand’s people has a brain fade and tweets out something that causes a storm, people usually see this as their failure, not the brands.
How you respond as the brand is significant of course. Particularly as this will show the character of your brand. So be mindful that swinging the axe in all instances may not be the way to go. The thing is that people do have an innate ability to forgive when mistakes are acknowledged quickly, retractions are made, and there is a demonstrated willingness to learn from the experience.
Implementing personal branding within your marketing strategy capitalises on the personality and individuality of your team, and hooks directly into the power of our socially interconnected digital world. Being known as a brand that employs socially engaged experts has far more potential for generating strong emotional connections with customers than just being brand with a web presence.
And as I’m sure you understand… video marketing is where this style of personal brand building content really shines. So, develop a strategy within your organisation which sees multiple people behind your brand provided the opportunity to bring their expertise to your audience through your video content. Don’t restrict your content marketing efforts to only feature the CEO or Founder… allow your team to shine, and build their own brand alongside yours.
And then watch what happens next…