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Seven Steps To Creating The Perfect Brand Persona



Seven Steps To Creating The Perfect Brand Persona

Yael Klass is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Similarweb.

Personality has been defined as the “complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group.” But a crucial component is missing from that definition—companies should also be included. Brand personalities guide your strategy, content and design. They affect how you speak to employees and customers and determine the feeling prospects get when interacting with your business. Creating this identity builds trust, manages expectations and creates loyal relationships that impact your business’s success. If you’re struggling to define yours or want to take your company’s personality to the next level, I’m sharing seven effective steps to do so.

1. Determine what your brand is and is not.

What exactly is branding? Alina Wheeler said it best: “Branding is a disciplined process to build awareness and extend customer loyalty. It is about seizing every opportunity to express why people should choose one brand over another.”

Your brand isn’t your name, website or product. It’s the personality traits or word associations people make about your business, including:

• Sincerity: honest, wholesome, down-to-earth.

• Excitement: lively, imaginative, daring.

• Competence: reliable, hard-working, successful.

• Sophistication: luxurious, high-end, charming.

• Ruggedness: youth, unconventional, adventurous.

Your brand is not your corporate identity and goes beyond the individual components we associate with a company. It’s the value beyond the sum of its parts.

2. Differentiate branding from marketing.

Branding shapes who your company is. Marketing promotes that.

Branding is the why. Why does your company exist? What are you trying to achieve? How do customers describe your business?

Marketing is how you convey that message via specific tactics like pay-per-click (PPC) ads, emails or blogs. While marketing draws attention to your business, your brand maintains it.

For example, your business may run a targeted campaign to generate leads. How you devise the story, the visual and content language and the feeling prospects get (inspired, funny, etc.) is your brand.

3. Pick personality traits that define your brand.

The most prominent companies in the world have strong brand identities.

Think Apple, Amazon and Google. (Full disclosure: Apple, Amazon and Google are clients of my company.) There’s a reason they’ve become household names worth billions, and it’s not only because of their products.

They cater to Jung’s 12 archetypes: As Mahnoor Sheikh writes, “humans have one dominant trait that leads to typical behavioral patterns, desires, values, and motivations. These typical ‘archetypes’ can also be applied to brands, and businesses can use them to create brand personalities that connect with their target audience on a personal and emotional level.”

Is your brand a service (Caregiver) or innovation (Creator)? Maybe you convey freedom (Explorer), safety (Innocent) or understanding (Sage). Or do you represent power (Magician), a hero (Master) or liberation (Outlaw)?

Ask your team to choose characteristics they associate with your company without revealing the corresponding archetype. You’ll get an unbiased overview. From there, review the collateral you’ve created and see if the archetype would realistically communicate in that way. This will show if the brand you want is, in fact, the brand you’ve expressed so far.

4. Choose colors wisely.

Did you know that colors elicit specific emotions, affect our behavior and impact whether your brand resonates with customers? Up to 90% of their snap decisions are based on color—so you’ve got a convincing reason to be mindful of color choices.

If your brand already has colors set in stone, consider other ways to use different ones in internal and external materials outside of the logo and webpages to evoke certain emotions.

Greens are typically associated with health, nature or wealth; reds with energy, passion or appetite; blues with peace and reliability. Purple can make people feel sophisticated or nostalgic, whereas orange can suggest playfulness and exuberance.

5. Enlist a mascot.

Sometimes mascots can drive more impact than products. Think the Michelin Man, Pillsbury Doughboy or Geico Gecko. (Full disclosure: Michelin and Geico are clients of my company.)

Some mascots are genius forms of advertising and help companies achieve and maintain fame. People recognize them, even if they’re not consumers of that product, spreading awareness.

If you’re not interested in pursuing a traditional mascot, you can decide on other guidelines for representation—for example, illustration versus photos. What kind of people do you use to showcase your brand? Are there symbols that can be combined with images to express something similar to a mascot? Get creative.

6. Define your tone.

There’s a difference between voice and tone. Voice is static. It identifies your brand by the way you sound and the kinds of words you use. On the other hand, tone changes depending on who you’re speaking to and the mood of the conversation.

Pretend your brand is a person. Give them a name and go through an exercise of creating their LinkedIn profile. If I did that for my company, the byline would read, “I’m a creative data-digger curious about every facet of the digital world.” I’d highlight skills such as marketing, advertising, research, analytics and business hacks.

Construct your brand persona and hone the appropriate voice through this exercise. Remember that the tone of your brand will change depending on if you’re talking to investors, customers, prospects, partners, etc.

7. Lastly, create your key messages and go!

Now it’s time to craft key messages to use in brand communication.

I recommend starting with “power words” you want to seed into your brand messaging. Then list out concepts you want to grow, reduce and remove to best align with your newfound identity.

Perhaps you want to ensure people connect your brand to the concept of “growth,” so you’d want that as a power word.

Make the concepts personal, short and straightforward; present your features as a solution and use analogies or comparisons when possible.

Keep working on your brand persona.

Overall, your brand persona is about selling the idea that makes your business unique and drives all your business decisions.

Once you develop the secret sauce, your brand persona will speak for itself. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to come back and revise. At the bare minimum, revisit your persona once a year to ensure its traits, tone and power words align with your company’s vision and mission.

Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

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Is this X’s (formerly Twitter) final goodbye to big advertisers? It looks like it



Is this X's (formerly Twitter) final goodbye to big advertisers? It looks like it

It looks like big advertisers are leaving X (formerly Twitter) for good and its owner Elon Musk couldn’t care less.

In the packed DealBook conference in New York on Wednesday, he bluntly told them to shove it. 

This response came after another round of advertisers including IBM, Apple, CNN and Disney bailed on his social network after Musk seemingly supported an antisemitic conspiracy theory last month by responding to an X user’s post — a move he’s since admitted was silly and apologized for. Musk was less remorseful over the uproar caused among advertisers, telling the room: “This advertising boycott is going to kill the company… let’s see how Earth responds to that.”

For many large marketers, this marks the end of a drawn-out farewell (lasting a whopping 13 months) to advertising on X since Musk took over. Surprisingly, even some of X’s own staff members are now calling it quits. Freelance journalist Claire Atkinson reported a “wave of resignations” from CEO Linda Yaccarino’s sales team, including a few of the remaining ad executives who were there before she officially joined in June. Musk’s actions are essentially reversing any recent progress made in reviving X’s advertising business.

Lou Paskalis, CEO and founder of AJL Advisory confirmed that Musk’s comments were indeed another extra nail in the already well sealed coffin because it reaffirmed what most large advertisers already know — Musk resents having to be beholden to them.

“He is trying to position their legitimate brand suitability concerns, largely precipitated by his ongoing antics on X, as a vast, left-wing conspiracy among advertisers to ‘blackmail’ him into constraining his right to free speech,” Paskalis said. “As someone who spent over three decades in the ad buying business, it’s laughable to think that we could all act with that level of coordination, presumably in secret.”

This event highlights how out of touch Musk is with what keeps his company running. He takes an ad boycott as a personal insult when, truthfully, it’s just part and parcel of managing a platform these days. Look at how often YouTube and Meta have dealt with similar issues over the years. The difference? The bigwigs at those companies prioritized protecting their businesses, not their public personas, and were willing to make compromises to win back advertisers. Not that it took much to win back those ad dollars — advertisers rely on those platforms as much as the platforms rely on them.

“It’s just a very sensible decision not to continue advertising on that platform which poses such a strong brand safety risk,” said Ebiquity’s chief strategy officer Ruben Schreurs. “To do all this on stage is unheard of, I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

The largest advertisers seem to agree. Unlike their previous boycotts of advertising on X, this one is permanent for many of them. Some of the most active accounts like Disney, Paramount, Liongsate and Sony Pictures haven’t posted in nearly two weeks. This chimes with what one senior ad exec, who had been in touch with a number of X’s advertisers over the past year, told Digiday last month. Advertisers who had continued to spend on the platform only paid a fraction of what they used to prior to Musk, out of fear of getting called out by Musk if they didn’t.

“It’s easier to pull advertising than it is to return, and what makes the X ad boycott unique is that it isn’t primarily about content adjacency or moderation,” said Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst, social media at Insider Intelligence. “Advertisers are concerned about the reputational damage and the uncertainty of doing business with Musk, and yesterday’s comments will deepen the rift between them.”

An impossible job has now become even more challenging for Yaccarino. Ad dollars weren’t exactly flowing into the social network before Musk’s latest rant. X has averaged a 55% year-over-year revenue decline, according to Guideline. This figure increased to 61% YOY between May and August 2023 — despite Yaccarino joining the company during the summer. 

“The hill she [Yaccarino] must climb to rekindle advertiser demand for the platform just went from steep to vertical,” said Paskalis. “I don’t know how anyone could overcome a direct verbal assault of the magnitude that Musk delivered at the DealBook conference against a customer base already alarmed by his previous rage inducing, divisive and dog whistle laden tweets. None of this will cause Linda to leave, in my opinion, as she sees quitting as failure and failure is not an option in her calculus, no matter what damage may be done to her reputation.”

X did not respond to Digiday’s request for comment.

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YouTube Adds New Analytics Cards, Simplifies its ‘Product Drops’ Feature



YouTube Adds New Analytics Cards, Simplifies its ‘Product Drops’ Feature

YouTube’s making some updates to its Product Drops feature within live streams, while it’s also adding some new analytics cards, and testing a new format for its TV app.

First off, on Product Drops. YouTube’s changing the requirements for Product Drops in live streams so that more creators will be able to include drops to highlight their items.

Up till now, Product Drops have only been available to creators who’ve connected their Shopify stores, or have access to Google Merchant Center, while creators have also had to plan Product Drops in advance, and schedule them via Live Control Room. But now, YouTube’s giving more creators more ways to access the feature.

As per YouTube:

“Any creators who have connected to their first party stores, or are participating in the YouTube Affiliate Program can set up Product Drops in the live control room on YouTube. This means that more creators will be able to use Product Drops to boost sales and engagement on their live streams.”

YouTube will also now enable creators to implement Product Drops at any time during a live stream, eliminating the pre-planned requirement.

“This will give creators more flexibility to react to the moment, and drive excitement in real time.”

YouTube says that many creators have seen good response to their Product Drops, with the interactive, engaging process helping to drive hype, and spark more response from viewers.

Product Drops are available via the Live Control Room in YouTube Studio. You can read more about how they work here.

YouTube’s also updating its Community Posts creation flow, in order to simplify the process, and ideally get more channels posting text-based updated in the app.

Community Posts remain a lesser element, though YouTube’s been working to make them a bigger focus throughout the year, by adding additional engagement elements like pollsquizzesdisappearing updates, and more.

Simplifying the creation process is another step in boosting awareness, and potentially driving more interaction with you YouTube audience.

YouTube’s also adding some new revenue analytics cards, including “Total Members” insights (which includes subscriber data) and “Where Members Joined From”, which will provide more insight into what’s driving channel growth.

YouTube’s also adding new data on why users have canceled their membership within the insights tab in YouTube Analytics.

YouTube analytics cards

As you can see in this example, the new card will show the reasons why people have opted to stop their subscription to your channel, based on responses provided in the cancellation flow.

Finally, YouTube’s also experimenting with a new format for its TV app, which will make it easier to access different elements.

YouTube TV app

As you can see in this example, shared by 9t05Google, the new format will include bigger buttons to access different elements, and further customize your YouTube experience on the bigger screen.

Connected TV is the fastest growing viewer segment for YouTube, with more and more people now looking to consume YouTube content on their home TV set. As such, it makes sense for YouTube to roll out more updates aligned with big screen viewing in order to feed into this usage.

Some handy updates, across various elements, which are worth noting as you go about managing your YouTube presence.

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Musk regrets controversial post but won’t bow to advertiser ‘blackmail’



Elon Musk's comments at the New York Times' Dealbook conference drew a shocked silence

Elon Musk’s comments at the New York Times’ Dealbook conference drew a shocked silence – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP Slaven Vlasic

Elon Musk apologized Wednesday for endorsing a social media post widely seen as anti-Semitic, but accused advertisers who are turning away from his social media platform X of “blackmail” and said anyone who does so can “go fuck yourself.”

The remark before corporate executives at the New York Times’ Dealbook conference drew a shocked silence.

Earlier, Musk had apologized for what he called “literally the worst and dumbest post that I’ve ever done.”

In a comment on X, formerly Twitter, Musk on November 15 called a post “the actual truth” that said Jewish communities advocated a “dialectical hatred against whites,” which was criticized as echoing longtime conspiracy theory among White supremacists.

The statement prompted a flood of departures from X of major advertisers, including Apple, Disney, Comcast and IBM who criticized Musk for anti-semitism.

“I’m sorry for that tweet or post,” Musk said Wednesday. “It was foolish of me.”

He told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin that his post had been misinterpreted and that he had sought to clarify the remark in subsequent posts to the thread.

But Musk also said he wouldn’t be beholden to pressure from advertisers.

“If somebody’s gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money?” Musk said. “Go fuck yourself.”

But the billionaire acknowledged that there were business implications to the advertiser actions.

“If the company fails… it will fail because of an advertiser boycott” Musk said. “And that will be what will bankrupt the company.”

Musk, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Israel earlier this week, insisted in the interview that he holds no discrimination against Jews, calling himself “philo-Semitic,” or an admirer of Judaism.

During the interview, Musk wore a necklace given to him by a parent of an Israeli hostage taken in the Hamas attack on October 7. The necklace reads, “Bring Them Home.”

Musk told Sorkin that the Israel trip had been planned earlier and was not an “apology tour” related to the controversial tweet.

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