In the oil and gas industry, an organization with a strong safety culture is praised as one you would either like to work with or work for. Though not easy to define, corporate culture is discussed quite often. But when it comes to marketing, culture is less important that corporate personality.
Every individual has a personality, even if that person is described as having no personality. But can a business have a personality, or is culture all that matters?
Think of the people in your life and at work. If you want to laugh, you know who to call; if you need a shoulder to cry on or a sympathetic ear, there are people in you life who fit the bill. But what about the businesses and brands you trust? Can you easily identify their corporate personalities?
Corporate personality is made up of several different aspects of the business. Customers who buy from you have a much deeper understanding of your company's personality than the rest of the market you're trying to reach. Your target customers only get a glimpse of your corporate personality through your public face – marketing, PR, charity, etc.
Who Are You, Really?
Your corporate personality isn't a fixture cast in stone, just like an individual's personality can change depending on the situation.
That being said, your corporate personality has to be consistent with your business. Too many organizations try to be everything to everyone and end up acting completely differently once you start working with them.
If your business is laid back, don't pretend to be the formal, three-piece suit-wearing power broker you know you're not. Your customers don't want to be lied to, and the length of your relationship with them can be shortened by acting differently than they expected when they started working with you and your company.
Your message should be consistent but diversified. Your corporate personality should be a kaleidoscope of what your organization believes in and the feelings your customers have about your business.
If humor is part of your message, use it when you communicate with your audience. But if humor has never been part of your message, trying to force it into your message could have the effect of alienating a large portion of your target market.
If you really don't know what your corporate personality is, or how to define it, a great place to get the answer is from the market. How do people perceive your organization? You want to know and understand the good, the bad and the indifferent aspects of how your organization is viewed in the marketplace.
It's never too late to change how people view your company, but changing public perception takes time. It's also not a good idea to change too often and become known as the wishy-washy company in your sector of the market.
Don't try and be something you're not, but embrace what you believe in and spread that message whenever you communicate with your audience.
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