Brands : personality (will be) included

by Laurent François


Have you ever wondered why you always go to the same shops, or why the way you purchase specific goods is pretty much based on products benefits that go beyond the products themselves ?

Let’s take a “real life” example : what makes me buy a more expensive fish’n chips in a local restaurant, whereas I could buy the same meal in a supermarket, but cheaper ? Several possiblities :

  • the shopkeeper is a nice guy
  • he provides you the daily newspapers for free while you eat
  • every 10 meals you get one free

So the product I now buy is :

  • the product itself (it tastes good)
  • the way I eat the meal, so to say my own experience with the product (reading newspapers)
  • the way the owner presents me his product, so my shared experience (direct promotion + smile…)

Rohit Bhargava was recently in France to promote his book “Personality not included”. The main idea is that any brand should have a personality. Here’s Rohit’s main statement, that he tackles all along his brilliant demonstration:

If you want to create marketing focused on selling, all you need to do is answer four simple questions for your consumer: 1. Features. What does your product do for me and why is it different and/or better than others? 2. Benefits. How will my life be different/better/changed if I purchase it? 3. Price. Why it is worth what you are charging? 4. Action. Where can I get it? If you consistently provide good answers to these questions with your marketing, I guarantee you will be able to sell whatever you are trying to sell. Of course, if it was that easy no companies would ever fail. Answering these four questions with good answers is not necessarily a simple thing, but the formula this creates for selling anything is very straightforward. The problem with focusing on only these four is what Fred Reichheld, author of The Ultimate Question, called “bad profits.” These are the profits that you earn without keeping the customer happy.

And keeping the customer unhappy means not having a long-term business sustainability.

As far as I’m concerned, my social utility optimum will definitely drive my decision-making process when it’s about goods with bigger experience. And it’s definitely influenced by a brand personality.

Brandmaster makes a comparaison between what DNA & personality refer to when it’s about a brand :

“but I would suggest that when we are talking of a brand personality, the ‘DNA’ (not to be confused with the brand history) is far less important than the nurture which represents a brand’s interaction with its audiences. It is the latter that shapes what we perceive as the brand personality.”

Interactions require a voice for the brand. DNA is a static notion, whereas personality means daily actions, conversations, exchanges with an audience (both talking & far more important listening).

Ana has a very challenging point of view on “brand personality and why it sucks” :

“So I am really not sure what to do with the concept brand personality. It used to be a mechanism for “integration” of different products under the same umbrella, and about consistency of interactions of the brand, and about managing consumers’ expectations from the brand. But all of this sounds so wrong now. Products/services can be [and are] responsible for all of the above. Like, really — why is it so hard to imagine that I am truly & emotionally attached to my running shoes, to my Mac, to my Marc Jacobs dress, and that I have a very real & ongoing relationship with these products. Why do I need to imagine their respective brand personalities?”

I definitely agree with her when she says that consumers shall not have to imagine the brand identity. Consumers should be concretely in touch with the brands, as they are with their friends : you don’t imagine how your girlfriend is; you know how she is.

More articles about Rohit’s book :

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