“10 signs you grew up in the 90’s” will get 50 times more traffic than an article about politics or climate change. A meaningless Facebook post about your cute dog will get more comments than a deep perspective on the entrepreneurial struggle. A perfectly angled picture of your beer or a dramatic sunset is essentially guaranteed to get 20+ likes on Instagram.
Allow me to introduce you to the internet age. Alright, if you’re reading this, you’ve already been formally introduced. Rather, let me introduce you to the age of transparency and relatability.
In our work, we focus heavily on telling stories. We help brands tell their stories better so customers will buy products, supporters will donate, and followers will like, comment, and share.
I think back to 2010 when this idea of brand “authenticity” and transparency was a trend – something that big businesses started to think about in order to connect with the “millennials”. I sat on a stage in San Antonio in front of 1,000+ brand representatives from companies like Pepsi, Nabisco, and Nestle, all of whom were fascinated by the idea that a tweet about Lady Gaga could lead to more business.
Today, it’s far from a trend. It’s a reality. And it’s not rocket science.
People want to connect with people.
More importantly, your customers, supporters, fans, and followers want to relate to you – as a brand and as humans behind the brand. Relatability is golden in today’s world of being absolutely inundated with content, marketing messages, and sales pitches. Give me something that evokes a memory. Help me make an emotional connection. Break it down into terms I resonate with and understand.
It’s easy to hide behind your brand name and forget that it’s made up of living, breathing human beings –people who are capable of showing emotion, have the capacity to be compelling, may not always take themselves seriously, and probably break into song any time Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” comes on their Pandora (guilty).
One of the things I’ve always told everyone who works at Proof is that clients should want to work with us not simply because we do great work, but because they like us. They trust us. If they want, they can see what I’m sharing on Instagram or Twitter. They can go find that one post I wrote about the time I got fired. It’s all there. It’s a part of who I am – what my brand is – and, in turn, lives on as part of who we are as a team at Proof.
Don’t hide behind your brand.
Today’s message is simple: Don’t use the “wall” of a brand as something to hide behind. People resonate with people. Humans are pretty cool. The easiest way to tell a compelling story (which is the best way to make a sale or garner support) is to tell that story through your natural, approachable, accessible voice.
Make sure the desired action is clear, but don’t lose sight of your own personality in pursuit of trying to “fit” a specific message or brand persona.
A powerful brand has a strong foundation, while understanding that its personality is shaped by the people that live and breathe the brand’s work and identity, every single day.