Branding: Inspiration in the Classics
Human beings are complex and nuanced. It’s difficult to boil another person’s personality down into just a few words, or just a few sentences, but, it’s fair to say that we categorize people based on certain archetypes. For instance, we all have a “nerd” friend, someone who is perhaps extremely gifted at some technical skill like math or programming, who loves superhero movies and can be a bit socially awkward. There’s more to them than just their being a nerd, but when you read the last sentence, they’re the person that popped into your head.
One of the first steps to successful branding is to acknowledge this and to capitalize on it. As soon as a prospect first encounters your brand, they’re going to start categorizing it. If you have taken care to craft your brand around a relatable archetype, you’ll be in control of how they categorize your content marketing. Some experimentation can pay off, but if you start developing content without a clear voice, without a clear persona in mind, then your prospect isn’t always going to come away with the right first impression.
There are only two questions worth considering when determining how you’d like your brand to be categorized:
- Who is your prospect?
- Who does your prospect respond to?
When selling carpentry tools, your prospect is the professional or part-time carpenter. They will tend to respond best to a voice that is straightforward and technically knowledgeable. You wouldn’t buy a screwdriver from someone who keeps calling it a drill. It’s natural to develop a straight-shooter persona in your content in order to better appeal to this buyer.
Another brand might need to rely on more emotional language. When selling fashion, for instance, it may pay off to develop a voice that’s fun, clever, witty, and hip. The technical details on a luxury handbag are important, but not as important as the look or the brand name.
Here’s an easy way to develop the right tone while exploring ways to advertise your business: check out your target demographic’s favorite television shows. What sort of protagonists do your prospects like to root for? We’re not saying to write all of your content in a Tony Soprano patter, just that it’s worth a look at what sort of values and personality archetypes resonate with your prospects.
Draw from your own experience with your favorite books, movies, music and television shows. Who are the characters who really resonated with you throughout your life? Was it their sense of humor, their integrity, their charisma? A successful brand is, after all, a memorable character, and you don’t have to look very far to find inspiration to develop one of those.
Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in rural New Mexico with his wife and his terrier, Sir Kay.