'Do I know you?' - Why you need a brand personality.

'Do I know you?'

So, do you need a 'brand personality?'

Well, the first question is whether you're just trotting it out as a positive-sounding cliché, ranked alongside 'corporate culture' and 'mission statement' or whether you're treating it as a genuine attempt to build something a bit more tangible and meaningful than the ubiquitous suite of logos, email signatures, presentation slides and social graphics.

First off, there's a place for all of those things (don't let anybody tell you there's not - 'consistency is quality' after all), but they need to be reflective of something bigger and more fundamental to your business - and a 'brand personality is a pretty good definition.

Let's ask a simpler question, what is a brand? I don't mean in literal terms (logos, assets, images etc.), but what does it do? What is its function? The best definition I've heard is that it 'sets an expectation' - a quick guide as to what to expect before you've even engaged with that company, before you've scrolled through the headline figures on their website or received their first "thanks for contacting us" email.

This 'expectation setting' becomes even more important in certain types of business - and those acting as 'agents' for their clients are at the top of that list. Whether you sell services, products, or people, if you're doing it in the name of someone else, you can be damn sure they're going to have expectations. And they're going to be high.

It's often said that 'you speak for nobody but yourself,' but in these industries, that simply isn't true. They speak for others. Take recruitment as a perfect example. Put simply; their job is to sell you. But it's not that simple; it's not a market stall, or a billboard - it takes much more tact than that. To do you justice, they need to speak in the right voice, and get the tone absolutely spot on. A voice loud and strong enough to be heard, but sensitive and tactful enough not to be overpowering; they're selling for you after all, and by doing so, selling themselves.

Another age-old adage is that "a brand is what's said about you when once you've left the room" - something inherently relevant in recruitment. We'd all love to know what's being said in those crucial seconds after the final 'handshakes and parting pleasantries' at the end of an interview!

All this, as in any industry, means we're more likely to engage with brands who 'get us' - who 'speak our language' (the clichés are never-ending, but stay with me) because we've decided, consciously or unconsciously, that we trust them.

We trust them not only with our information and our money but in an industry where we ask people to act on our behalf; we trust them with much more than that - we trust them to be us, just for a moment. Moreover, we never hear what's said when we're not in the room. so it's one hell of a leap of faith!

So why would they take it? Simple answer, because they like you, and they trust you. Why do they do that? Arguably, it's primarily down to your brand personality. Of course, how you look is important, it's the initial reason they choose to approach you, and it's a vital facet of your brand (but let's not get bogged down in that age-old debate - we all know the best, long-lasting relationships are built on much more than that)!

So to my initial question - in fact, the title of this blog - "don't I know you from somewhere?"

As a brand with a carefully considered, well-constructed, sensitively curated, and consistently delivered brand personality, they certainly should feel as if they do, yes. and for once, it's genuine and flattering to be asked.

James Partridge

Looking for CV or interview preparation coaching?

Lily has over eight years' experience working with PAs, EAs and business support professionals. Lily personally works with PAs and EAs who are looking to prepare for an upcoming interview or are looking for advice on how to make their CV stand out.

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