Showcase Your Brand Personality

Zombie Brands: Showcase your brand's personality

The Internet is filled with zombies. Not the kind you find in movies and comics. Rather they are zombie brands—brands devoid of any personality that limp along mindlessly calling out for customers.

B2B websites come across as shells and templates. You can read the facts: what they do, the products they offer, and maybe a few customer testimonials. But there’s no human quality.

What’s it like to work with your company? What does your team value? What makes you laugh? What frustrates you?

These are the qualities your brand should demonstrate when someone visits your website.

A personality is not a reflection

Companies strip out their brand personality in an attempt to please their customers and speak to everyone.

For example a design brief might say, “Our clients are C-level executives in their 40’s and 50’s and are predominantly male.” The description of the audience is rather innocuous until the management team starts asking, “How does this design speak to 40-to-60 year old males?”

These questions erode the design and brand personality quickly. It turns into a game of compromise to make the design a reflection of what a generic client would expect.

The challenge is people are not mirrors. We don’t reflect the personalities of the people we encounter. We have our own unique personalities. This is what makes us unique and interesting.

Instead of trying to make your website reflect what your target market would like, focus on what it’s like to work with your company.

Challenge convention

Draw out your brand personality by challenging your industry’s conventions and norms.

Using photos of employees is very popular for professional services firms’ websites. The logic is sound. Instead of using stock photography of smiling people, they use images of their employees in their workspaces.

The first few firms who used images of their own people were innovative, but that was over 8 years ago. Now the practice is cliche.

To draw out your personality you’ve got to do something different. Copying the competition is no way to show your personality.

Take a risk

It’s easier to create a zombie website. You can look to your competitors, and mimic what they’re doing. And the end result will be a functional, attractive website.

But if you expect more from your brand, being a zombie is unacceptable.

Drawing out your personality requires self-awareness of what you like, what you hate, and what it’s like to work with you. These are the cues that influence and shape your brand.

And it’s perfectly fine if your brand doesn’t resonate with everyone. Your goal is to show your personality so your brand attracts the right customers—the ones that respect your team and the value they delivers.

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Jeremy Miller is Brand Strategist, Speaker and the President of Sticky Branding — a strategic branding and business development consultancy that helps companies stand out, attract customers and grow sticky brands.

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2 comments
PaulChato
PaulChato

What if their brand is an inability to create a differentiating brand?

StickyBranding
StickyBranding moderator

 @PaulChato every company has the ability to differentiate and create a unique brand. The company may not be able to differentiate on the products/services they sell, but they can differentiate on their personality and point of view.

 

An interesting Toronto example in the news right now is Honest Ed's. You can get the same products at any Wal-Mart or Dollar Store, but Honest Ed's is an experience unto iteself. From the gaudiness of the storefront, to their turkey drive, to how their founder was a showman.

 

Growing a unique brand is a choice. Some companies make that choice and take the necessary risks, and other's don't and wind up being zombies (brains!!!)