Can you truly duplicate another’s results? In some cases you can. One player can hit a homerun directly after another. But that’s just one aspect; some things can be ‘mocked.’ What about personality? Can personality be duplicated? People are characterized using objective words such as “funny,” “intelligent,” “friendly” and so on. However, is one brand of friendly so similar to the next? I don’t think so; it depends on the ‘author’ of the action; the character of the former makes the latter something unique in itself.
What exactly is ‘character’? I throw that word around sometimes; but, it’s a very intangible notion, difficult to articulate. Maybe it’s something you ‘feel’ or intuitively ‘observe’ rather than scientifically sample. It’s a notion such as ‘love.’ There’s no pragmatic way to ‘measure’ love as there’s no way to weigh ‘character’; yet, we can’t dismiss they exist.
As online marketing evolves, ‘character’ is becoming more apparent, made possible through social media interactions (take your pick of social platforms), video posts, and other tools of business communication. I think the notion of ‘character’ is largely unnoticed as an ingredient of brand success. In the past, brands did not have such opportunities to express character (perhaps those hosting a storefront). Now, there’s nowhere or way to hide online.
I recently exchanged Twitter DMs with a brand owner. He was asking general questions via Twitter and I responded. He was kind enough to take interest in my ideas and DM’d me, inquiring about things I recognized his handle does well. I wrote that I believed a huge portion of his success was due to his personality, which also exudes from his brand. I told him his success is something other brands will attempt to emulate; but, one aspect others can’t organically replicate is character.
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal on combining likenesses for marketing’s sake. It’s an interesting notion. Obviously, celebrities have been used to sell services and merchandise for years. Why? Their popularity for one, but research reflects an influence of trust emanating from celeb faces; as consumers we trust them; we’ve ‘seen them around’; so, we’re more likely to give our money over at that point. However, I assume I can’t just ask Tiger Woods to promote Content Muse (I woudn’t.) He’s likely to cost a pretty penny; but, you can borrow parts of his likeness and align it with a ‘no name’ for free in attempt to ‘duplicate’ the celeb/consumer trust/open-wallet dynamic.
Working—in this instance—before the Tiger Woods scandal broke, two marketing researchers at the University of Wisconsin blended the superstar golfer’s face with that of another male, with Woods’ face constituting 35% of the final image. 109 undergraduates then rated the trustworthiness of that face compared to another one that blended, in the same ratio, the same stock photo with one of an anonymous man carefully selected to match Woods in age and attractiveness. No participant recognized the superstar golfer—in fact, the two faces were rated as equally familiar—but the students rated the face containing traces of Tiger as significantly more trustworthy than the control face.
Oh marketers, what will you think of next? Well, Joe Hall recently thought of something clever, a way to make emails better. The message is simple and extremely powerful: do something uniquely…you. Unique is the inextricable operative word. If you’re a follower of Joe Hall’s personality, his observable online character, you understand how that fits, how that implementation is so… ‘Joe.’ Could that work for someone else? I celebrate the notion of exploring creativity; but, don’t expect above-average results of ‘Joe’ proportions.
They say character is unique; each person has to play their hand with the respective cards dealt to them. I like the card metaphor. Let’s think of each brand comprised of players, much like a baseball team. Winning in baseball is a team effort much like business. However, business ‘players’ didn’t always have such access to the public eye. These days, leveraging online marketing tools, they do.
I think such is incredible news for brand-savvy companies, those who actively participate in branding, in creating an overt company ‘personality’ and likeness. This is good news for owners who host and value ‘character.’ I think the recognition of character is an ability, but one not valued or procreated by all.
I saw this tweet today:
@wellpast40 how is it so easy for so many people to forget that you must be a true friend to recognize another?
I think the tweet refers to ‘character recognition.’ I’ve often heard, “You have to be a good friend to have good friends.” We nod at maxims; but, do we really think about the wisdom behind them all the time?
I re-tweeted this by Dan Shure:
Real friend —>
@iPullRank comes all the way back uptown to see my 10 minute presentation
I think ‘character’ is important to Dan Shure, an online marketing entrepreneur building his brand. Such a trajectory came to mind as I read another great post (maybe the best.one.ever on company culture I can think of?) on building a brand.
Building a brand makes more sense now more than ever; as mentioned, players are now more visible. Branding consists of creating and enforcing a central message, maintaining the brand’s personality. Rand Fishkin does this through his acronym of TAGFEE. SEOmoz’s decision to recruit Dan Shure as an associate is a testament to Rand’s eye on character. Such ‘recruiting’ of like-minded souls makes sense to me.
A teammate I admire, Chris Countey, was recently chosen to speak at the upcoming Search Church meeting of the SEO minds. Chris is going to discuss relevant authorship. Two posts on the topic immediately come to mind; one by AJ Kohn and another by Tom Anthony. I’m not sure if Chris will mention ‘character’ in his presentation but I know Chris will do an excellent job; he always does. One thing I admire in Chris as I do with Dan Shure above, and another online marketing cohort Wayne Barker, is their attention to character.
@wayneb77 thanks Wayne … I smile as I type I’ve heard that before… haha @content_muse it shines through in your copy mate!
I value character. I value those who value character. What’s your take on character? Is it important to you? I see a bright future for those building brands with like-minded players. Is your brand going to be one of them?
Thanks for reading – Anthony Pensabene