Follow the Leader
How Brand Persona Can Help Increase Your Following
As a brand manager, I have watched in awe as some celebrities amass an army of loyal brand enthusiasts; Justin Bieber has his Beliebers, KISS has its army and Lady Gaga has her Monsters.
I considered what it was that these celebrities were offering that product brands were missing. After all what brand wouldn’t love to have millions of followers who would wear their t-shirts, tweet about their products or devotedly evangelize to everyone they know on their behalf? I would certainly love to have an army of “Experimenters” who would hang on my every post and picture.
I was once told that people buy WHY you do what you do and who you ARE. I believe that is why these celebrities are able to build such a strong following; these brands have personalities naturally, they share their personalities and they have the perfect format to express why they do what they do. They express love and appreciation to their followers and they let their followers into their world, no matter how crazy.
As brands we need to do a better job of conveying our personality and knowing what our brand personality is. Many national brands have a created their own personalities. One of the mistakes that I see many smaller brands make is not having this type of distinct brand personality or not following that personality once established.
Oreo offers a great example for us. They engage with their followers daily and are quick to respond to current trending topics.
In 2013 when the lights went out at the Super Bowl, Oreo had a post with its cookies in the dark before the lights came back on. They are also early adopters of new ways to engage, being one of the earliest brands to post on Vine.
Another mistake that I see is brands who are very sensitive to negative publicity (as many of us are) being too conservative in their messaging, watering down their communication and not conveying who they are or what they believe in. Some examples of companies who have marketed products with personality are Hello Flo and Poo-Pourri.
Brands should share their vision, their promotions, their products or services and allow followers to partake in that brand and feel comfortable. I have seen many company posts that boast absolutely nothing other than “look at my product” and “buy it here.” Brand managers must remember the 80/20 rule and only promote their product in 20 percent of their messaging.
- Engage every day – throughout the day at different times. Not everyone is online at the same time and with Facebook’s new algorithms not all your followers will see all your posts.
- When followers engage with you – respond back! This seems so obvious but it is something that a lot of brands miss in their strategy. Go ahead and use Hootsuite or one of the many programs available to schedule your posts, but make sure that if your followers are talking to you, that you are talking back to them.
- Learn how to use Twitter! – To listen to what your followers have to say instantly, learn how to talk to them on Twitter. If you use it, they will follow.
- Use all the different media channels available – Does it make sense for you to be on Pinterest? Let me answer that one for you, YES! It always makes sense to engage on Pinterest or on Instagram. Why not use any channel available to engage with your followers? Try new things! Have you tried Vine? What’s the next program coming? When you are trying to increase your followers, an easy way to do so is to become an early adopter and catch followers as they log on to new channels.
If brands did more to engage in a more personal way with their followers they would convert those followers into more loyal fans, and remember don’t be bland, let your personality out!