Some companies are worried about how to present a human face without losing authority. Sarah offered to write a post for us about how to convey some of your corporate personality without being unprofessional. She’s a frequent writer for a logo products site, and has worked in marketing for several years, particularly in the new landscape of internet marketing.
Over to you, Sarah!
Connecting with customers has always been a challenge for businesses. How do you come across as professional, authoritative and credible without also being dry, boring and generic?
The fact is it’s not enough just to be the best in your field. People need to like you too. When it comes to business, perception is often reality. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to help businesses become not only more memorable but more personally relatable as well. These channels are a great way to grow your business and show a little personality at the same time.
Logo products and promotional items have long been a popular way for brands to help imprint their names on the minds of consumers by imprinting their logo on a gift item. From pencils to sweat shirts, branded items are a great way of integrating your business name into the lives of your customers. But it’s more than just the logistics of keeping your name in front of a buyer, logo products can be a way of showing a little personality. When considering which of 1000 products to choose, it’s also a good time to think about what message you want to send beyond just your name and address.
The products you pick, along with style and color choice can help you toe the line between professionalism and personality. This is an opportunity to use humor and whimsy or even to promote a corporate philosophy. For example, a company with a true passion for healthy living would do well using water bottle or pedometers as logo items. Not only are they useful, but they support your passion for health. When it comes to being fun, a business must always keep professionalism in mind and make sure that choices are in good taste. But who says a stress ball has to be round and monochromatic? Step it up by using something a little more memorable, or a cartoonish character that brings a smile to your face every time you see it. Being professional doesn’t have to mean being stuffy, and while decorum is of the utmost importance in a number of business situations, when it comes to promo items, there’s more than a little leeway for fun.
The internet has opened up a world of opportunities for business not just to make money, but to make friends. Social media is one of the best channels for businesses to reach out and make direct contact with customers but it is a tricky balancing act. More and more you see companies asking customers to “connect with us” on Facebook and Twitter. But social media needs to be treated as a chance for real interaction and not simply another method of advertising. Real conversations are happening, conversations that your business can and should be a part of. Facebook pages should offer real value for joining a group or fan page, whether it’s exclusive coupons, entertainment, or engagement. Wall posts and feedback should always be acknowledged. The same is true of Twitter, updates should say more than simply “Buy our stuff!”. You can answer questions in a real honest way, start discussions about issues that are pertinent to your business and monitor mentions of your brand name. But the name of the game is authenticity. Social platforms give us the opportunity to connect in a one on one way that is truly unique to our times. It doesn’t hurt to have someone with quick wit and social skills monitoring these accounts. While it’s professional to avoid the use of profanity and over-sharing of inappropriate details, it’s personality to try to add real value to the streams of your followers.
Along with social media a business’s website has infinite potential to be more personable. If all of the content on your site has a sales-pitch tone, there’s room for so much more. By adding articles, tutorials, blogs and interactive programs you can make connections that go beyond commercialism. Becoming a resource isn’t just good online business for attracting links and recognition it creates an atmosphere of authority and a generosity of knowledge. This alone can break down many of the walls between the corporation and the customer.
In the Community
Nothing is better for reaching the masses than a genuine effort to give back. Community involvement is one of the best ways for any business to come down the corporate ladder and mingle. If you simply look around the opportunities are everywhere. Whether is buying program space for a local high school play or asking employees to take part in a walk for charity, these efforts speak volumes about a business. Yes these acts will promote good morale and give the guys-in-ties a warm fuzzy feeling. But more importantly they tell the community, the people closest to you, that you care. Not only is it a good move professionally for getting the word out about your company, through the use of banners and logos at public events but it adds some humanity to your name.
Most businesses are so conscious of their professional image; they don’t realize that it has in fact consumed them. While corporate conduct can inspire respect and trust it can also create a distance between the business and the consumer. But there are numerous ways for any business to breach that divide. Using all of the tools at your disposal, from logo products to the internet to getting knee-deep in community events a business can come down off the professional pedestal and show a little personality. And when that personality comes across as sincere, caring and engaging it inspires not only trust and respect, but admiration and often a new level of brand loyalty.