Sara Batterby’s article Brand Personification is a concise look at the living fluidity that one’s brand undergoes through the use of social media and search engine dissemination. It is also a call to recognize the “human” element of branding.
Batterby writes, “Brands, like us, have no meaningful existence outside of the constantly changing perceptions, interactions and relationships that they share with others. They must learn to see themselves this way. Through the eyes of their virtual community.”
Branding in an online world is subject to fluxuations, relationship building and collaboration, noise, and spread. One’s brand identity shifts and becomes unstable through interaction (or non-interacation) with others. It is no longer paid advertising, but publicity (i.e. conversations), that sway a brand to the ranks of the favorable or unfavorable. People have a voice and it counts consequentially. Moreover, it is the one who spends time with the work that counts, the one who helps construct our brand by making it apart of who they are.
The virtual communities that one is apart of communicates to others a part of who one is. The online identity of the brand is caught up within these micro-conversations, this labryinth of interconnectedness.
Batterby goes on to write , “This fluidity of what constitues the brand has given it a living quality that is more akin to our own existence and this should give us some insight into what to do about it.” Some companies are recognizing this and have joined the conversation. Directors, writers and artists using services such as Twitter to connect with others have put themselves into a vulnerable, albeit necessary state – they have embraced the human element of their brand.
We knew all along that behind the facade of the brand lurked real flesh-and-blood humans, but now, the facade is fading before our eyes and many brands are using social media, engaging with others and changing the way that we interact with and view their brand. Also, this flux has, in general, gone on to transform what used to be an online “profile” into a brand, a virtualization of the self.
Batterby ends by asking the deceptively simple question, “If your brand was a person, what kind of person would you want it to be?” Look within. Look without. Listen to the conversation. Listen to your self. Who are you?
Sara Batterby is the editor of WORD UP!.