09 June 2015 by Richard Parsons

Hello, I’m a Psychopath!

our_industry_is_brokenIn my last post, I said your brand is an ape. Everything changes when we start to think of B2B brands as human and as predisposed towards emotional, intuitive behaviour as humans are.

For example, if most B2B brands were at a cocktail party. It’s probably fair to say that a lot of them would feel like the awkward nerd in the corner, drinking their Mojito through a straw and spilling vol-au-vent down their knitted tie. But it doesn’t have to be this way if we ask the right questions: How would we like others to perceive us? How would we actually come across? What’s the most effective way of making other party guests remember us and want to spend more time with us?

Having the most appropriate type of behaviour for the context gives us the best chance of being popular. But it’s important to be honest. So if you’re a utility company, say, it’s highly unlikely your customers are going to want to develop an emotional relationship with your brand. It’s more of a functional relationship. They just want your stuff to work reliably and for interactions to be as seamless and painless as possible.

In this case, you’ll be liked and respected if you just get things done with the minimum of fuss. After all, we all need the lights to stay on. We like feeling warm. But we’re not likely to flock to the website looking for cool content.

At the party, the utility is like the butler or the caterer, performing a useful function but not the person we want to be swapping gossip with. They don’t tend to wear clown suits and come into the room juggling their trays of goodies – unless it’s a really far-out kinda party.

If ‘functional’ and ‘reliable’ are an honest assessment of your brand, why waste time (and money) trying to be entertaining? Far better making your service – and messaging around it – as simple, easy-to-understand and practical as possible, with a brand personality that reflects that.

It needn’t be drab though. Hegarty talks of offering an emotional selling proposition, rather than the traditional unique selling proposition coined by Rosser Reeves back in the day. What is unique or noteworthy about a company’s brand may not be the product itself; it could be more to do with the corporate values, the location, its history, the quirky personality of the founder, or simply provided some useful free widgets beyond your usual line of business.

As Grey Worldwide’s Ron Mather once said: “Most of the time there isn’t a USP, so giving brands an appropriate personality is extremely important now. If you like the personality, you’re more likely to like the brand. It’s a bit the same with people.”

B2B brands need to work out who they would like to be at the party and how popular they are likely to be in reality. They also need to consider what kind of person their audience would like them to be.

Want to get the party started? True now offer a free B2B Brand Workshop – and it’s going to be emotional.