The old adage of ‘people buy from people’ is never more relevant than in the world of PR. To bring a brand to life, to make it seem personable and real, for the messaging to strike a chord with you, what’s needed?
There’s no hard and fast answer to this question, but one way to raise awareness is to find the face of the brand.
Having a founder, owner or even a staff member that can communicate the benefits of your product or service is vital. However, your communications strategy can also be extended to thought leadership, by creating content which positions you and your team as experts at the forefront of your field. In what is an undeniably saturated consumer market, being a friendly, concise voice of reason can work wonders for improving your credibility and giving you the edge over your competition.
If you think of many of the brands that are household names to us, we’re also familiar with the brains behind the operation, so to speak. A great example of a creator becoming the ‘face’ of a brand is James Dyson and Dyson…he gave his name to the product he created, but more than this, his direct, knowledgeable manner means that he is seen as a voice of authority and innovation.
Another example of using a personal profile to help build brand awareness comes in the form of Innocent Smoothies co-founder, Richard Reed. Innocent is a brand with clear values – indeed Reed himself said that it aims to “leave things a little bit better than we found them”. Reed is one of three founders of Innocent, but was clearly chosen to become the face and voice of the brand, whilst the other two co-founders focused on remaining areas of business. Through using Reed as a mouthpiece for these aims, Innocent were able to communicate the more serious messages of the brand through by humanising it, whilst keeping the brand itself light, fun and more than a little tongue in cheek.
Even smaller brands need a spokesperson who can convey and embody who they are and what they do. Having a strong opinion and being reliable as a trustworthy source of information and viewpoint is important, but equally making yourself available to the media is key.
Not everyone in business will feel comfortable in making themselves the face and voice of the brand but pushing yourself outside your comfort zone will help the business move outside its comfort zone too.
It’s all too easy for us to think of Sir Richard Branson as a celebrity these days, but when he first started out, he positioned himself as a vehicle to sell the products and services he was offering through the press. That doesn’t mean to say you need to put yourself forward to take up every PR opportunity by dressing up in wigs or flying around the world in a hot air balloon, but being able to make yourself available to the media and to clearly articulate who you are, what you do and why you exist is a crucial in making a name for your brand.
More than a nod needs to be given to longstanding The PHA Group client Charlie Mullins, Managing Director and Founder of Pimlico Plumbers. From a one man band with a bag of tools, Pimlico Plumbers had grown unrecognisable, and Charlie is now an established media and political commentator. His personal profile and that of the Pimlico Plumbers brand are so intrinsically linked that they feed off one another, helping to make a national household name for a London centric business.
Founder of WAH Nails, Sharmadean Reid, is another great example of an entrepreneur who has successfully imprinted on her brand her own very personal brand of cool. Reid’s nail empire has grown unrecognisably from a single East London salon to a brand stocked in the likes of Topshop, largely down to her own inspiring persona and clear message of female empowerment. Reid documents her life on Instagram, and her aspirational yet attainable persona means that her brand is both highly desirable and accessible. There’s the feeling nothing in her range that she wouldn’t personally endorse, making each new product or style seem that little bit more genuine.
If you truly want to build your brand, to be seen as credible, trustworthy and a leader in your field, developing a personal profile can do wonders for this. Yes you can communicate your message through branding, but branding is a subtlety that’s difficult to explain. By putting forward a ‘face’ of the brand, it’s far easier to communicate your passion and reasoning. More importantly even than this, your brand appears relatable and that little bit more human, giving you the edge over a faceless, corporate competitor.