Quickly. What do you think when you see the little gecko on television? Of course, you think GEICO.
In the world of branding, we call this a brand association. You associate a character or symbol with a word, name or what have you, and it immediately reminds you of a company, product, person or service. Besides, who can remember GEICO anyway?
Oh, a quick bit of trivia: Do you know what the acronym G-E-I-C-O even means? Yeah, it stands for Government Employees Insurance Company. Interesting, huh?
GEICO, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
Let’s take a little trip down memory, well, branding lane. Let’s go back to when the marketing brain trust at GEICO first realized that they had a name problem.
Okay, imagine them trying to figure out how to get people to remember their name.
Here’s probably how it all went down:
“Hey, let’s face it guys, our name is just hard to remember. And if they won’t remember it, they won’t purchase our insurance. That means that we are all out of work. So, what should we do? I mean, how do we get people to remember GEICO?” I bet one asked.
“I don’t know. This is a tough one,” says the second marketing person.
“I know,” says a third person. “What if we associated the acronym G-E-I-C-O with something most people already know.”
“Like what?” counters the first guy.
“Huh, let’s see. Well, like a gecko. You know, the little lizard looking thing. See, GEICO sounds like gecko.”
“Yeah, that’s it,” says the second person. “Sweet. Let’s go with that.”
As you know, this association has worked brilliantly.
For our discussion, though, I want to focus on another aspect of that little green lizard looking thing. I’m speaking of GEICO’s brand personality.
When you review the marketing of GEICO, it is pretty clear that their ads are comedic in nature. You see the gecko saying and doing all sorts of funny stuff. It’s like a little comedian.
Well, it’s no accident that all of GEICO’s marketing is comedic. That’s their brand personality.
THAT’S MY PERSONALITY AND I’M STICKING TO IT
But GEICO is not the only company with a brand personality. In fact, all great brands have one.
Take Disney World, for example. All of their marketing efforts show families having fun. Hey, just look at their logo. It says it all. It’s kid friendly and fun.
IBM, on the other hand, is all about business. They are conservative and serious. They solve serious business problems and their brand personality reflects this fact.
Apple is cool. Whether it is the dancing silhouettes or all of the cool stuff you can do with their apps, their brand personality is up front and center.
ENTREPRENEURS HAVE BRAND PERSONALITIES TOO
The point of all of this is you must determine your brand personality and infuse it into your marketing.
Think of a high school cafeteria for a moment. In there is a veritable laboratory of personalities. You have the fun girl who dresses colorfully. Of course, there’s the class comedian who is always cracking jokes. Then you have the cool kid. He wears the latest clothes and stands alone. We can’t forget about the quiet, conservative girl. She holds tight to traditional values and will never be heard uttering a negative word about a classmate.
Sure, we can keep going, but you get the point.
Your task now is to think about you and your personality. What fits you best?
You probably already know the answer to this question. But to be sure, ask around.
HEY, WHAT’S MY PERSONALITY?
Try this with a mentor, friend or colleague: “Hey, I’m working on our branding. When you think of my company, from a personality standpoint, how would you describe it? Oh, let me give you a guide. If you were to walk into a high school cafeteria and look around, which personality type would we be? Are we conservative or are we the cool kid? Comedic or fun? Or, are we something else? What’s your take?”
Sit back and let them talk.
Now, once you have identified your brand personality, you want to begin infusing it into all of your marketing and messaging.
So, for example, if you are the comedic type, your website, especially your blog, must reflect your personality. Your posts will be lighthearted with an occasional comedic statement. Soon, people will come to expect that from you and even look for it.
Finally, take a look at all of your marketing – your business card, website, postcards, blog, Facebook page, and other touch points, and think about how you can infuse your brand personality.
The goal is to be consistent. Remember, if you’re not consistent with your branding, no one will remember you. Consistency is a must.
Now, use your personality to brand like a boss!