Mike Consol, a consultant in California focused on public speaking, presentation and business writing support, shot a video blog post recently that prompted me to start thinking in ways I hadn’t before.
As I reflected on his brilliant branding idea of anthropomorphizing your small business, I realized that my business personality was different than mine in many ways. In this current realm of authentic rules, many would claim that’s disingenuous. I disagree. Crafting a small business personality with wisdom and honesty doesn’t mean it has to mimic your mindset to be real. Sometimes, recognizing our flaws and combatting them with marketing and delegating strategies that are better for everyone is a smart small business – and sanity – strategy.
Here’s what Mike asks:
If your company was a human being, would it be:
An introvert or an extrovert? I’m an introvert, my company is an extrovert. I’ve developed approaches that are comfortable for me to address my introvert challenges with networking. This has provided an effective growth opportunity on both fronts (in short, I assume leadership positions to interact in smaller groups while building relationships with the most influential people in an organization).
Masculine or feminine? The company started out as masculine at a time when that was the only avenue to success in this industry. It’s morphing into a more feminine entity as time passes (although clients are still predominantly men and my style probably tends more toward a man’s mindset on strategic development – it’s always been a woman’s for discovering the most effective message).
Artistic or athletic? Artistic on both counts in a big way. Guess that’s a part of me that can’t be compromised on any level.
Blunt or nuance? I tend to be blunt. The company is definitely nuance (and I’ve adopted my professional self to accommodate this) .
Formal or casual? That’s a hard one. The company was kind of a hybrid to start and continues to be so. With a small business and not-for-profit focus, casual conversation is critical, but so is a formal company image that connotes professionalism. Me? If I’m not engaged in business meetings or public appearances, I’m happiest clothed in as little as possible (although am a huge fan of cozy sweaters in the winter). Business attire is still more formal than most.
Cool or passionate? The answer is most certainly passionate on both fronts. As much as I strived to be embraced by the cool kids in high school, I never quite cut it. The business was built and will always be about passion with clients, their customers and my solutions.
Ostentatious or understated? This one logs strong in the understated category. I cringe when I see manipulative, overt or pushy marketing or sales tactics. The company is all about building relationships, including creating smart strategies for clients to get and keep customers. This often involves a give-first approach that requires some time and thoughtfulness, but is extremely effective.
All that said, recognizing your flaws is a good thing. Knowing business success comes from a marketing (and communications) strategy that’s geared more toward your customer’s needs than yours is wise. Using that information to craft a small business personality is a fun way to engage your mind in creative ways, get your prospects and customers nodding with you and to be considered brilliant when compared to others who mostly get yawns.
Being in business is about understanding who your prospects are, providing services (or products) that address their needs and adopting a message that makes them comfortable and confident about your ability to help them. Sometimes, delegating, adapting or inventing a company personality separate from your own is the best way to keep you and your clients happy.
Have you ever thought about your company’s personality as a branding strategy? How different is your company persona from yours? If not at all, how’s that working for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.