I get asked this question a lot, especially by those who get paid for being “the sage”.
What’s the right balance between personality vs. simply speaking in the measured, professional tones you might believe your audience expects?
Most especially in your day-to-day marketing and sales communications.
The easy answer?
You match your audience’s EARLY experience with your brand to the ACTUAL experience of working with you once you’ve been hired.
Even if you really are all business, all the time, you still want to demonstrate your energy and interest in your sweet-spot clients.
Luckily, most all of us have a personality, even the driest expert on the driest topic.
One of my former colleagues “Sam” is a tax maven for middle market companies. A narrow expertise on what some would find a dry topic, right?
But Sam had this ability to take almost any situation and recast it as the scene of a well-known movie.
Watching a long, boring presentation and asked for his feedback, he might turn to you and say “anyone, anyone?” in Ben Stein’s best Ferris Bueller’s Day Off voice and off he’d go.
Not picking on the presenter, but rolling up his sleeves and helping to figure out solutions.
His unique talent was such a part of his personality and way of working that it was simply inseparable from his marketing communications.
So what aspects of your personality—your working style—do you want to showcase?
Tip: start with the core values of your brand (marketers call them attributes).
These—typically no more than five—set the stage for how you express your brand day to day.
Coupled with your big idea and target audience, they give you the parameters of the sandbox you want to play in.
So, an executive coach might talk about rescuing abused animals in her spare time (seeing their potential), but probably wouldn’t go on a social media tirade about the abusers (because her core promise to her clients is I will help you, not tear you down).
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A football-obsessed technology strategy consultant might weave sports analogies into his articles and group strategy discussions in his consulting practice.
Or a financial advisor specializing in executive working couples with children might speak frankly about her own challenges of balancing work with family.
If you can’t put your personality in service to your big idea and your target client, it has no place in your marketing and sales.
Said another way, your brand is most powerful when it’s an authentic expression of who you are and what you most fervently believe and will fight for.
Otherwise, you’re building a fantasy, not a business.
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