What’s your Business’s Personality?

Samen banner

A longstanding method to evaluate your business is to scrutinise its personality. That is, to see your business as a person – a real, live, walking, talking person. Let’s put the SA Post Office to the test.  If it was a person, who would it be?

Quickly answer the following questions about the South African Post Office:

  1. Is this person male or female?
  2. How old is she/he?
  3. What race is this person in your mind?
  4. What is she/he wearing?
  5. Where would she/he live?  Which town or suburb?
  6. What car would she/he drive?
  7. What would her/his favourite drink be?
  8. Where would she/he go for holidays?
  9. Finally, would you want to be seen with this person?  Would you hang out with him or her?

What did you come up with? Is it a late-fifties woman with a brown floral crimplene dress, oversized bifocals with curly brown hair who lives in Randfontein?  Does she drink cane and Coke?  Does she drive a late ‘70s green Passat and goes to Warmbaths over Decembers?  Would you happily drink a spookendiesel with her on the grass next to the super tube at Forever Resorts in Bela Bela?

Or is it a quirky coloured guy with a big smile, designer clothes and rimless glasses with a great sense of humour. Or perhaps a distinguished black gentleman with years of investment experience who drives a Bentley and wears a pin-stripe suit? Would you rather be seen with him?

Companies spend millions of Rands to establish a favourable image of what people perceive its personification to be.  The final goal is to have people say that they would like to be associated with this person.  In some cases the image portrayed by businesses is so disjointed and evident that money has to be spent on marketing to change what people think of the brand.

Do the same exercise with Standard Bank.  If you come up with a Merc-driving Sandton man in his early forties, Standard Bank has done its job well. 

The voice of your business speaks through this person in the same way every McDonald’s message is delivered by Ronal McDonald.  Whenever something is said by ABSA, a wise old man speaks.  Your job as business owner is to work towards a personality your target market would like and associate with. 

As you set off into the personification of your business it is crucial to know exactly who your target market is and what they like.  And the character or persona that represents your business should talk their language, know what they wear and listen to their music.

If you are selling a fragrance for teenagers, talk their, like, language and to be totally tight you need to be the illest brand out there. If you fix homes, talk to the security and happiness in the home and talk family, family, family.

Now, try these questions on your business.  Do people think who you think you are?  Ask them.  Do a field experiment and check if your business is what you think it is.

Wow, I just had a great idea.  What if you sell detergents for kitchens and bathrooms, a good plan would be to get a superhero to battle the dirt and stains.  Dress him in orange and call him…uhm…let’s think…what would be a good name? How ‘bout Mr Muscle?  Freakin’ hell, somebody stole my idea again.