Imagine that a potential customer visits your website, saw your business page on Facebook or LinkedIn and talked via telephone to a member of your staff about buying your products or services. Would that individual encounter an experience with a Business Personality Disorder, or BPD? Unfortunately, many companies suffer from this malady, identified by Roy Williams of the Wizard Academy. He defines BPD as being “characterized by at least two distinct identities or dissociated personality states that show up in a company’s behavior.” In other words, if a person encountered your business via three different situations, would they encounter a single personality three times, or a different personality with each experience?
To avoid Business Personality Disorder, a company must create a singular brand message that reinforces the overall value it delivers to its customers on a consistent basis. The message needs to be easily repeatable, and easy to understand. BPD emerges when a company’s website, social media presence, external advertising campaigns and sales strategies appear to be unrelated. BPD can be further exacerbated if the workforce has an unclear understanding of how they fit in with the organization’s brand. They, too, must be able to communicate a consistent brand message.
Mr. Williams believes that such Business Personality Disorder can be avoided by communicating a message of commitment to serve your customer base. He delineates four components that combine to transform potential leads into loyal customers. The integrated message includes the company’s personality, the promises it makes, the processes to deliver, and benefits it provides. According to Williams, “Personality makes the customer feel they know you. Promises make the customer feel secure. Processes give credibility to your Promises. Benefits are what the customer is hoping to experience.”
What are three tips for creating a consistent brand and avoiding Business Personality Disorder?
1. To establish relevant and consistent messaging, you need to know your audience. Who is going to be hearing this message? Spend time to identify your ideal client, and your client niche. It can be effective to identify one specific client with whom you have a successful relationship and design communication messages as though you were speaking directly to that individual. This works well when you are taping live broadcasts for Facebook or LinkedIn, but it is also effective with blog posts, advertising messaging and marketing materials.
2. Create primary messages-maybe two or three—that communicate the value your company offers through its various products and services. Then re-purpose the messages and modify the formats to conform to the different platforms on which they will be places. The primary messages must maintain a consistency and cohesiveness that allows your audience to identify with your company regardless of platform. And if some messages don’t work well, be open to modifications and change. Regardless of message type, keep it simple, clear, and easy to remember.
3. Keep your visual elements consistent. Always include logo or wordmarks on all materials, websites, social media banners, advertisements, and marketing materials. Often your audience and customer base will first recognize the logo before the communicated message. Think of Pizza Hut’s red roof and McDonald’s golden arches.
In your organization, if you have several individuals contributing to the creation of your brand message, have them work collaboratively, rather than independently in creating their communications. It can be helpful to create a joint branding checklist which would include the agreed upon style sheet, graphic designs, and primary messages to avoid Business Personality Disorder. And make certain that the branding messages are shared with the entire workforce so that the organization’s brand identity is understood company-wide. Things don’t have to be elaborate; just consistent.
Download Avoiding Business Personality Disorder as a pdf