When It Comes To Brand Personality, Authentic Is More Effective Than Cool

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brand personality

Does your brand personality play it cool, embrace snark and sass, or just keep it real (honest)?

Brand positioning is no easy task, but at some point, you’ve got to decide how to tackle tone and voice. This is especially important when using social or two-way conversational platforms online.

If you’re not sure how to play it, we’ve got some consumer behavior stats that will help in a BIG WAY!


Snark & Sass As A Brand Personality (Does It Work?)

We’ve seen a lot of brands embracing snark lately. Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and even Ikea have all grabbed social acclaim from their snide comments.


And while I’ve often had a good chuckle at some of the snark and sass certain brands on social media have put out there, how do most consumers feel?

You may be surprised to find that the Q2 Sprout Social Index results are in and only one-third of consumers want brands to bring on the snark full force.

When it comes to brand personality, the majority of consumers want brands to

  • Be honest (86%)
  • Remain helpful (78%)
  • Be friendly (83%)

And overall? Your online audience wants you to use social media as a channel for customer service.


Based on this article by Mashable, it’s clear Wendy’s actively sought out their “sass master” (Amy Brown) for her snarky skills — and wanted her to parlay those into their brand, too.

But even Amy admits that sassiness can backfire. So be careful!

In the social sphere, it takes special care and attention to pull off 'friendly snark' as your brand personality.Click To Tweet

Where To Shine Online

It’s also interesting to note that Sprout’s Q2 Index found that brand personality was more or less accepted by platform.

You’d think IRL (in real life) sites like Snapchat would take the cake with over-the-top and well-known personalities when really, 83% of consumers are eager to see the key characteristics of your brand’s personality come to life on Facebook.

In fact, Snapchat falls in the last place in Sprout’s report!


Four ways to shine on Facebook:

There are several ways you can use Facebook to showcase your brand’s personality.

  1. Use BTS Posts — “Behind the scenes” content is always (yes, ALWAYS) the best performing content for our clients, no matter how different their industries are.
  2. THINK CONVERSATION — I know, I know. We say this all the time but it’s so true! 83% of consumers are looking for your feedback, like responding to questions, comments (even negative ones), and joining in other conversations to provide value.index-q22017_4-big
  3. Focus on the brand (not the product) — Social is one place you shouldn’t ABS (always be selling). Post more about who you are (you, your brand, your team), who your clients are, and how you serve those clients versus constantly selling your service (or product).
  4. Find your funny bone — If it fits your brand, use humor! We even had a client in the gastroenterology industry use the poo emoji in one of their sponsored posts. It went over quite well! They knew their audience enough to know that a little humor would go a long way. ?
These four tips can help you showcase your brand personality on Facebook.Click To Tweet

The Caveat With Being Cool

Who doesn’t want a seat at the Cool Table?

Of course, you want your brand to come across as cool so people follow you, engage with your posts, and eventually buy your stuff.

But Sprout’s Q2 Index shows quite clearly that cool just doesn’t pay off.

While 75% of consumers believe there’s value in brands exhibiting humor on social, only 36% are willing to purchase from brands they believe are funny. And those brands have to bring it, because funny can quickly slide into annoying if not fresh, relevant and interesting. That’s a big problem when 50% of consumers say they would unfollow a brand that annoyed them on social and 23% would walk away from your brand completely by vowing to never buy you again. Ouch.”

More than wanting the stamp of approval from the cool crowd, you’re likely looking for a return on investment with your social media efforts.

Snark and sass and a “cool, bro” attitude won’t get you there.

Instead, focus on giving your audience what they’re looking for while carefully managing your social strategy and key performance indicators.

Sticking with honest, helpful and friendly content online will help your brand stand out.Click To Tweet

Choosing The Right Brand Personality

I certainly can’t tell you how to choose YOUR brand personality. That comes down to you.

But if you look at Sprout’s report along with your own audience wants and needs, you’ll likely see very clearly that it comes down to being your true, authentic self.

Sprout recommends the following when testing your brand personality with your online communities:

  1. Incorporate humor into your one-on-one conversations and see how your most engaged audience reacts to your tone and voice.
  2. If the feedback is positive, test a playful voice in your editorial content, and continue to adapt and learn from there.

How do you test your brand’s personality with your potential and current online consumers? We’d love to know! Give me a shout in the comments section below.


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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Category: Branding, Online Marketing, ,
Tags: B Squared Media, brand, brand personality, branding, content creation, Online marketing, personal branding
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