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Can A Brand Have Too Much Personality?

By Carrie Keenan | Small Business

Can A Brand Have Too Much Personality? image pondering carriejkeenan deepthoughts open discussion what do you think 150x150Can A Brand Have Too Much Personality?If you have been reading this, or any of the other blogs I write for (Steamfeed, Social Solutions, Fox Cities Social and so on) you know that I often like to ask a question and then argue both sides. Call it devil’s advocate, maybe it is the eternal quest to learn all the answers, blame it on my being an only child, it could be that I just like to hear myself talk, or say I just like to see what is inside other peoples’ heads – whatever, here I go again!

It is considered good practice for brands to not only be fully transparent, but to often show personality in social media. People make examples of the brands who do a great job of creating fun, popular digital campaigns and those brands become goals for others to mimic. How many times have you heard the phrase “be the next Oreo“? That, to me, is like asking someone to create something ‘go viral’.

I think (and this is the both sides bit) that some brands do have the capacity to create a wild and crazy, full of personality digital and social presence. I think, it has to be the right kind of brand. Representing your brand in social media, has to be an extension of how the brand represents itself offline. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Before it started its “Be the Man” campaign , one of the first commercials to go viral, it was thought of (at least by most people I know of) as an old man cologne. The kind of thing you would find in your grandfather’s medicine cabinet (well, and one ex boyfriend of mine.) And now, when you say “Old Spice” you think of Isaiah Mustafa, in a towel and on a horse. They carried this fun and wild persona into the social media space and carry on in fun, creative ways. Including a rather fab “Twitter War” with Taco Bell.

Can A Brand Have Too Much Personality? image taco bell 200x300Can A Brand Have Too Much Personality?

Taco Bell is another brand who has done a great job in social. They not only have some fun tweets, they are massive engagers .If you head over to the Taco Bell Twitter page, it is full of RT’s and conversations with followers and fans. Again, Taco Bell is another brand that verges into the weird, wild and wonderful – especially when they are actively listening and talking to people in the stream.

I feel like this is an easier process for a B2C brand vs a B2B. I don’t know if I would ever see the head of a Fortune 500 company half naked and on a horse in a YouTube video. Nor do I see my boss appreciating me starting a battle, even a fake one, with another brand online. Depending on the product, a B2C brand can take that next step and go whole hog with its creativity.If you head over to the Taco Bell Twitter page, it is full of RT’s and conversations with followers and fans. Again, Taco Bell is another brand that verges into the weird, wild and wonderful – especially when they are actively listening and talking to people in the stream.

The question I have for you, dear reader is this; how much is too much in personality? Can the Old Spice/Taco Bell shenanigans work for everyone? I say no. Check out these tweets from a local B2C company (part of a national chain). I think it looks like someone’s personal account, just with a business name attached. To this day, I can’t tell if this is an account gone wild, a front desk person who is using the account as their own, or someone trying to be funny and just not pulling it off. Also note how they are all auto posts from Facebook! They do throw in some brand-logical posts, but mostly, they just leave me with question marks floating in my head.

Can A Brand Have Too Much Personality? image can a brand have too much personality carriejkeenanCan A Brand Have Too Much Personality?

So, good friends – What say you?

How do you walk that line between professionalism and fun for your brand. How do you create it and set it in stone? Also – how do you know when and how to hopscotch over it?

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