In our previous post, we discussed brand personas – what they are, how they have been utilized in at least one highly-successful advertising campaign, and how they can benefit budding entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses.

How A Person Can Be Your Brand

A brand persona is the personification of your brand, as in if your brand were a person, it would be your brand persona. It is a relatively simple concept that is understandably difficult to understand in practice – how can a brand be a person, and vice versa? An excellent example we previously cited was the “Mac” character, portrayed by actor Justin Long, in the “Get a Mac” advertising campaign by Apple. Justin Long was not a celebrity endorser of Apple, and his character was not intended to be a representation of Apple’s target market. Instead, his Mac character represented a personification of the Mac computer and Apple as a brand, while John Hodgman’s PC counterpart was a personification of the many PCs available with the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Public And Professional Personas

As an entrepreneur, freelancer or business manager, you may already be the personification of your business, especially if you are the only member of your business or organization! However, you can still decide the extent to which your public and professional personas act as, and in turn defines, the persona of your business.

The Difference Between A Spokesperson And A Brand Persona

It’s not difficult to think of companies and organizations that are defined by the personas of their founders, presidents, or CEOs. Donald Trump’s public persona has defined his companies for decades, while Dave Thomas was the amiable and folksy public face of Wendy’s for years. Yet simply being a famous (or sometimes infamous) founder or CEO of a company does not automatically make one a persona of the business. For instance, Jack Welch became renowned as a pivotal CEO of General Electric, but he never appeared in advertising or marketing campaigns as the “face” or personification of the company. It is possible to be the founder, executive, or manager of a company and not be its persona, while it is entirely possible to have no real connection to the company and be the brand persona, such as a celebrity spokesman like Catherine Zeta Jones for T-Mobile from 2002 to 2006.

The Pros And Cons Of Adapting Your Own Persona To Your Brand

The positives of acting as a brand persona for your company are simple – you can directly dictate, control, and manage the personification of your business or organization’s brand. For all intents and purposes, at least in the minds of the public and your target market, you are your brand, and for all intents and purposes the success or failure of the brand rests on your shoulders, which leads directly into the primary negatives of acting as the persona of the brand. If you behave or speak in a way that is detrimental to the brand, or even just perceived that way by the public, you will do direct, immediate, and sometimes irreversible harm to it.

Don’t Utilize An Employee As A Surrogate Persona

If you want to utilize a brand persona, but have no interest in fulfilling that role yourself, it is generally a bad idea to choose one of your employees to act as your brand persona. This doesn’t mean that one of your employees can’t act as a public face of your company, especially over social media or as a marketing or PR representative. However, there is a marked difference between appointing someone to act as a representative of your company and positioning them as the brand personified. If the chosen individual leaves your organization either voluntarily or involuntarily or behaves in a way that is unbecoming to your brand, it can be extremely difficult to repair the damage or replace them as the face and persona of your brand.