Today’s marketing is built on trust, loyalty and credibility. This means we must have the courage to be personal, opinionated, and care about the ...

Tomorrow’s brands are personal  

Today’s marketing is built on trust, loyalty and credibility. This means we must have the courage to be personal, opinionated, and care about the relationship with our audience. Are you doing that?

“What do you do better than anyone else?”

The man who asked was called Jeb, or maybe Jeff, and I think he came from Michigan. Maybe Missouri. We had just sat down next to each other in a gigantic American conference room. Gigantic even by American standards. We exchanged pleasantries – as you do – and I told him I’m from Sweden and work at a content agency. That’s when he asked.

”What do you do better than anyone else?”

”Well…” I replied with typical Swedish shyness, and continued: ”at Spoon we believe that the most powerful content comes from the real world…”

He cut me off, friendly but firmly, pointed straight towards me, and repeated the question.

”What do YOU do better than anyone else? What makes YOU different?”

At that point, I was speechless. My Swedish shyness turned into Swedish silence. I’m not so sure I have a response now either, and I don’t think that Jeb, or maybe Jeff, walks around, still wondering about it. But I’ve repeated his question many times since our last encounter.

The personified brand

We often speak of personal brands, but much less about personified brands. About brands that are so strong, real and, in lack of a better word, authentic, that we give them personal attributes. We don’t usually say that brands are kind, thoughtful, funny, adventurous or faithful. We don’t usually think like that, but I think we should.

As marketers, we must strive to create loyalty with our audience, all the time, every day. We must earn our recipients’ trust. We only do that by creating value. Value that provides more than the products and services we offer. We can entertain, educate, simplify, describe, praise, discuss, debate or give advice. Just like a good friend. We have to surprise our recipients with qualities they don’t expect.

The personal approach

Jay Baer at Convince & Convert recently terminated his very popular newsletter, so he could start a new one. There were many reasons behind his decision, but one of them stands out.

To become “North America’s most-trusted source of digital marketing and online customer service advice and counsel”, Jay Baer asserts that they must create a more personal connection between the company and the audience. He points out that Convince & Convert doesn’t want to be the biggest, but they do want to be the most trustworthy.

Jay Baer says that ”we trust people WAY MORE than we trust organizations of any type”. I know that’s true for me. And it’s probably also true for Jeb, or maybe Jeff, as well.

Summary

Today’s marketers must dare to share freely without expecting anything in return. We have to offer our knowledge, our expertise and our passion without talking about ourselves, our latest product launch or our low prices. And we must have the courage to be personal. Only then can we create loyalty. Only then can we answer Jeb’s (or Jeff’s) question:

”What do YOU do better than anyone else. What makes YOU different?”