The power of the personal for professionals

Ryan Wallman
April 29, 2014

personality

If you’ve read my previous post about Marketing Chap and what his success says about the benefits of making your company brand more personal, you might be thinking: “that’s all very well but it doesn’t have much relevance to professional services”.

And to an extent, you’re probably right. ‘Tax Accounting Chap’ might not have quite the same charm.

But there are nevertheless examples of firms from traditionally conservative professions that are eschewing the norms of corporate communication. Simply put, they show some personality.

In the legal sector, for example, there are now several firms that look and sound different from the standard corporate brand. Not to put too fine a point on it, but these firms don’t come across as crashing bores.

Take Marque Lawyers, for instance.

The expertise page of their website lists the areas of law they cover. So far, so expected.

But they follow this list with the rider:

“We don’t do criminal law, family law, ambulance chasing, dust diseases, life coaching, laser hair removal, personal training, dog walking or tax (come on, we have some self-respect).”

Beautiful! Not only does this inject some personality into what could be a very dry communication, it’s also consistent with the firm’s tagline ‘Law, done differently’.

Now, this tone of voice is not appropriate for every professional services firm. It works for Marque Lawyers because it’s in line with their positioning. However, the underlying principle – being more personal in your communications with your customers – is indeed appropriate for every firm.

Don’t believe me?

The figure below, which is based on a survey of 3000 customers by the Corporate Executive Board, shows you the percentage of customers who reported feeling ‘emotionally connected’ to various brands.

 

B2B branding

 

As you can see, the average proportion of customers who felt emotionally connected to a given brand was much higher for the B2B brands than for the B2C brands. Notwithstanding that the role of emotion in brand-building is sometimes overstated, it would seem that making an emotional connection with your customers is at least as important – if not more so – if you’re a B2B firm.

This might strike you as surprising, but it shouldn’t. People respond to other people, not to a company. So it makes sense to communicate with your customers in a way that’s at least vaguely human. As David Ogilvy said: “You cannot bore people into buying”.

 

By Ryan Wallman, Head of Copy at Wellmark.

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‘Personality building’ image courtesy of Vic via Flickr Creative Commons (under the following licence: CC BY 2.0)

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