Since I'm currently cruising the California Coast (in a convertible!), I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane. Below is one of my first ever newsletters and was the original piece that spawned Personality Brand. For those of you who haven't been with me since the beginning, this is a great primer for how Personality Brand came about and how it became my entire business model. Enjoy!
I am what I am
Newsflash: I have a big personality. I know. You can get off the floor now. But seriously, I’ve always been one of those people who, for better or for worse, brought my whole self to work. I wasn’t one way at work and another way with friends. What you saw was what you got.
When I was in corporate America this sometimes worked to my advantage, but in many ways it didn’t. More shock, I know. To me, behaving another way always felt disingenuous. Why would I pretend to be something I wasn’t? Wasn’t that lying and frankly, exhausting? And while I might not have dropped as many f-bombs in the office as with my friends, there were likely some. I did work in TV and Ad Sales, after all. It wasn’t exactly Mad Men, but I rode the wave of expense accounts and liquid lunches. Some “questionable behavior” and language wasn’t exactly out of the norm. (Taking those stories to the grave, btw.)
So whether I chose this career because it let me be more me, or the career made me more me, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that probably everyone I’ve ever worked with can attest that I haven’t changed and I’m the real Danielle all the time.
Now, of course I don’t always put my own personality into the copywriting that I do for my clients because it sometimes isn’t called for, on brand or appropriate. An infographic, website update, blog or paid Facebook campaign shouldn't reflect me. Although I did have a FinTech client that often let me add clever subheads to quite heady blog posts. Each of my clients has a specific voice and tone and there’s often no place for me in that, but, there is a place for their distinct personality.
Because if your brand doesn’t have a defined personality, then what is your audience connecting to?
And while you don’t need to be over the top, tone and voice are everything about defining your brand.
A brand that is so concerned about saying the wrong thing, or being too much INSERT RANDOM ADJECTIVE HERE is a brand that isn’t long for this world. One of the reasons I held out for so long on creating a newsletter was because I didn’t want it to be a series of boring articles on branding and copywriting. I struggled with how to make it fun! How to make it me. I hadn’t quite understood until recently that the reason people (you, dear Reader!) might read my newsletter wasn’t to learn about brand message — although I hope there’s some of that — it was to hear my take on it and also be entertained.
Your brand, only better
This was something my business coach, Ilise Benun drilled into me repeatedly. As I worked on copy for my new website (coming soon!), I kept writing it like every other copywriter out there. And she finally said to me, “Make it you. Your clients come to you for you. Don’t be generic.” Once she said that, my site practically wrote itself.
Now, with my newsletter, I love that both clients and personal friends, who have nothing to do with marketing, read it and they say the same thing, “I love your newsletter.” I even got this from a finance professional, “Hands down, you have the best emails I get! I actually laughed out loud.”
The truth is, I love writing it. Because it’s me. And while it’s my personality, I’m also writing about things that my clients — and anyone — can relate to. And if adding some sparkle helps get the message across, why not?
And that’s exactly what you should do with your message. Don’t dull your shine because you worry you won’t have mass appeal. We all know that if you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one. Your true audience will respond positively to your message. And those that don’t, well, they aren’t your audience or your people. Want to put some personality on your pages? Let's talk.