Do brands need an online personality?

Published on 30 April 2018 at 17:29

Remember when Kendall Jenner worked with Pepsi last year? I guess the online personality they were trying to present was “we’re hip and wanting to help, and we can, with this single drink.”

Having an online personality presents opportunity and risk.

While Pepsi and Kendall came under massive criticism, KFC and Spotify have recently shown that bringing passion and personality to your brand can be wholly successful.

Spotify using David Bowie for these interactive subway tributes, for example, suggest personality more than commercialism.

In 2018, it would sure make a lot more sense from a commercial standpoint to use someone for that campaign which is currently in the top 40, who is currently more popular and less legendary. Though perhaps, this is just a smart way for brands to give personality in a non-controversial way; as using a modern artist would cause more of a strong divide amongst consumers than the legendary, late, David Bowie.

The CEO of digital reputation management firm REQ recently said, “Traditional brands can no longer sit on their hands and allow well-scripted corporate statements to shape who they are… They have to be dynamic and understand they’re talking to multiple generations of people.”

One of these generations being, Generation Z who was the first to grow up with smartphones and devices. In the US, they wield $44 billion in annual purchasing power. I think a lot of Gen Z would argue that online transparency for Businesses is not to destroy companies but rather to expose those who aren’t acting with Social Responsibility.

In a video with Rowan Ellis, President, and CEO of The Freedom Fund, Nick Grono confirmed that it was not possible to shop completely ethically; at all, for anyone!

So while Gen Z and Millennials would most likely agree with exposing and discrediting a company like Apple for its misuse of workers in China, they’d probably still like to get their hands on the new iPhone 10.

Apple often pushes messages of creativity, expression, and individualism through their online advertising; something that those of us who grew up on or with Social Media feel a strong connection.

So while every brand will have its flaws, flaws being an understatement, it is those who broadcast their brand with positive personality traits that survive and even thrive despite their controversies. If Apple didn’t commit to their advertising in the ways, they had over the years, with a distinct voice, who knows if the products would have spoken for themselves? And who knows whether the reveal that they had mistreated their workers would have spoken a lot louder.

The truth is, if you don’t give a voice to your brand, someone else just might.


#Pepsi @KendallJenner  #OnlineMarketing

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