What is special in this book?
Theories vs. action
The book in divided into two sections. The first part of the book talks about theories the author
proposes. Whereas the later part of the book is the implementation and tools associated with these
The author also introduces visual bookmarking in this book. Visual bookmarking are small shaded
boxes bleeding to the edge of the page. This helps us to relate the theories in the first part with the
actions in the second. The guides and tools in the second part are organized by chapters and each
chapter has a small tab on the side of the page whose vertical positioning corresponds to the guides
and tools associated with that chapter in the second part.
Stories, stories and more stories
As you progress with this book you will notice that there are many stories in the course of the book
that you could reference a particular theory to. A little more than 100 examples of real people,
organizations or products.
The sellevator Pitch
Every chapter has a one or two liner pitch at the end of the chapter summarizing the chapter for all
those busy readers.
(Chapter 1)Sign here to Read this
- How Organizations lose their Personality
Individuals become JUST people
Commonly seen in many companies that their employees become just people from individuals.
Now an important question arises, So what is the difference? People are just a group of humans and
Individuals are characteristic of a single thing or person that makes them distinct from others of the
same kind. This being one of the core reasons as to why a company has become faceless. It is
always said that NO bad deed goes untold.
Likeability being a key factor in organizations loosing their authenticity. Every marketer much
realize this fact that doctors have been knowing for ages, that likeability matters. People don’t sue
doctors they like, regardless how bad they screw up. We are with the obvious assumption that no
one gets killed here. To correct these companies come out of being faceless. One of the greatest
myths about facelessness is that it’s a byproduct of growth. So is this true?
Does size matter?
Many people believe that it’s just the matter of time and growth before a company becomes
faceless. In the name of expansion, the uniqueness and enthusiasm of the original voices that started
the company are lost and compromises are made. This belief isn’t entirely true, as it assumes the
fact that companies are born with a personality. You must know the fact that companies do not have
a personality because they are small. However, it seems clear that small businesses should
understand the need for an authentic connection with its costumers as a way to ensure they keep
them as customers and that is personality. One needs to focus on personality as in an idea perfectly
competitive world its only personality that makes your service or product stands out.
Being Faceless used to work
In the past no one expected to reach a person with power at a company directly on the phone or by
just showing up at their office. Adding layers inspired customer trust, the more successful and
organization was the more that layers you could expect to encounter between the organization and
its customers. If an organization would not have those layers you might question its trust factor.
When a company could shape consumer perception of its identity through controlled messages, why
bother putting a real face on it? Advertising defines a company's identity, without the ability of
customers to easily share their perception about a company's brand with the world, as they can
today; defining and projecting an identity was usually a matter of advertisements.
The success of McDonalds is solely attributed to the brands ability to regulate sameness across all
of its operations worldwide. Consistency was a successful business principle, today this is no
longer enough. If you focus only on creating a consistent experience, your employees would lack
personality and be very robotronic.
Removing individuals from the public eye used to be among the most critical decisions an
organization could make. Risk management was the first priority, allowing personnel to have
individual voices or to share perceptions was dangerous for a company, as it would result in
lawsuits, loss of reputation or even worst decrease in product sales.
Hiding their personality
Not all organization loose personality but they choose to hide their it for a number of reasons
including self benefits. Below are key factors responsible for hiding personality:
Being ordinary (and yet profitable)
Ordinary doesn't mean failing. If companies have the right product in the right time for the right
price then they are definitely going to sell. If an company defines its business and its marketing by
what it needs to do in order to be profitable, then ordinary can be only good enough for a while.
Focusing on policy rather than logic
Most companies have set their policies based on legal issues or mandated by government and hence
are completely devoid of personality and in most cases lacking logic too. Common sense is more
pervasive than most companies might realize. The policies of many companies, assume that
consumers are naive. These policies are the mark of a faceless organization.
There is no other trend in marketing and communication process of companies that has been more
instrumental in the loss of the personality of an organization that the so called employee silencing
policy. And this would work before as they would not trust any employee to speak for the
Secret of Personality
Imaging that you sum up all the resources you as a company spent on marketing for a new
prospective customer and compare that to the amount you spent on an existing customer; this
always be a 80 – 20 proportion where you would spend 80% of your resources on prospective
customer and 20% on existing ones. This needs to be reversed, as a happy client speaks for your
service or product and his loyalty markets you.
(Chapter 2)The Accidental Spokesperson
- How unlikely voices are shaping your brand
Art of embracing accidents
Clearly the word accident brings a negative vibe in our head. But some of the best thing in life
happens with an accident. Who would know that post-it notes were the result of an accident. And so
were corn-flakes, Teflon and countless other products. One of the most successful marketing
campaigns was Jared for Subway. He lost more than 100 pounds eating subway sandwich.
The deliberate spokesperson
A spokesperson humanizes brands in order to raise their profile and combat facelessness. The
degree of success with which this happens however, is variable. Ideally a spokes should be true and
connect with customers at a psychological level. A deliberate spokesperson is a desperate attempt of
the organization to humanize their product and invariably tends to hurt the brand even further.
Uncontrollable rise of the accidental spokesperson
Accidental spokespersons are people who are not linked with your company except the fact being
that they are your direct or indirect customers. You as a company have no control over them, their
words nor their growth. Today accidental spokesperson are not just people on the road talking about
a product, they are people who blog, who contribute to knowledge bases like wikipedia, passionate
customer or in worst cases revolting unhappy customers.
Employees as accidental spokespeople
Employees often become accidental spokesperson, even thought they state every clearly that they
are not the official spokesperson of the organization. Every word they write, every perception they
share, every story they tell indirectly or in most cases directly reflect their organization and a real
person's views on it. And sometimes this means an unexpected executive has become one of the
most trusted voices for that brand, they may be a top notch person or someone from very lower
down the hierarchy.
Dark side of accidental spokespeople
Accidental spokespeople are clearly segregated into two sections, one being the people who talk
positively about your brand and the other who, in most cases true critics, talk negatively about your
brand. Here is the obviously part, the people talking negatively about your brand have the exact
same tool and liberty to do so to the best of their capabilities. More of these will be covered in
(Chapter 3)A Signature is not Enough
- How to define your Organization's Personality
Convenience is no long king
They say today's customer are not as uninformed as they were back in the old days. They are more
involved, informative and likely to value authenticity above just convenience. So if your
organization feels that it has found a way to stand out from the other by means of convenience then
its mistakened here. Instead, it should be finding a way to address the one emotion that any
customer will related to and that is vulnerability. Customers feel vulnerable when are using a
service or product that they cannot control.
Marketing to vulnerable customers
It is the ultimate sales hostage situation, where one is unable to avoid being taken advantage of and
must give your trust reluctantly to someone who may or may not be trustworthy. Personality here is
not just about having one or more signature services that you do for everyone. It is about offering a
unique experience that fulfills a need and gets customers to talk about it to others as a result. And
above all the greatest brands are the ones who can be more than just unique.
Isn't personality in the eye of the beholder?
Personality is all about being unique, authentic and talkable, this in turn forms a UAT filter that acts
like a common framework constructed to help an organization get more personality. You can name
any brand and that can be put through the UAT filter to identify the core elements of its personality.
The reason why this filter is put in place is that personality can be easily confused with other things,
including marketing campaigns or product design. Problem with most organizations is that they see
the 3 elements of personality separately and when doing that they end up with a totally different
outcome. [diagram missing, UAT filter]
The Stunt Marketer
Stunts are usually an enactment of a big idea that involve something highly visual and unique.
Focusing solely on stunts is one of the most common mistakes marketer make. Stunts are fun to
watch and can often become viral and spread from person to person. The problem here being that,
they are normally run in the absence of a real strategy and often have uncertain outcomes. Often
you would notice that stunts and its connection to the brand is very weak or in most cases minimal.
Personality on the other hand is something that more than a couple of stunts, more deeply connected
to your brand. The UAT filter will always help you differentiate between a stunt and personality.
How to be unique?
One of the most difficult ones is Finding the uncontested space, ie. finding a business that no one
else is in and then defining it through your company. A good example of this is the new Nintendo
wii, it has revolutionized the market to the extent that its competition are irrelevant.
The art of positioning yourself plays an important role too. It is defining how you want to be
perceived without necessarily changing the product you have. A good example for this is Subway
sandwiches, from just sandwiches to a diet food option.
In many occasions you feel that finding that completely different position is impossible, this is
exactly when you create a twist. Finding that element that is unique and ownable that sets you
apart. Finding that twist is not about finding a signature service, it needs more significance.
Sometimes geography plays a significant role in making your product unique. Thinking outside
your region is not about how you do it, but about where you do it. If you have a regional business
that is the same as that of several competitors, consider uprooting and establishing it elsewhere.
Transparency is overrated
Authenticity can be the hook that takes you from simply offering something different to building
trust with you customer. Today the number of brands that claim to be authentic through your
branding are countless. The most common misperception about authenticity is that it is all about
transparency. Isn't transparency the same as authenticity, well NO. Transparency requires being
open about what you are doing and admitting that you are doing it. What is missing is that who
evaluates whether what you are doing is right or wrong?
How to be authentic?
Defining a credible heritage
Having a real heritage that customers can identify with brings a brand to life and demonstrates that
there was a real struggle by real people to start and build the company. Defining a credible heritage
always enables your customer and employees to believe in your brand.
Demonstrate passion and belief
The real passion behind a company is something that cannot be faked or manipulated and people
easily recognize it when this is being done. Authentic companies have people working there who
are passionate about the mission of the organization.
Foster individuals instead of people
It is utmost important to have your employees to act as individuals rather than as part of one
monolithic and impersonal group. Individuals demonstrate passion and belief behind the brand,
unlike just people.
Have motives beyond profit
Authentic companies focus on goals beyond short-term profit. This criterion includes the idea of
good and bad profits, as well as of authentic and inauthentic motives. If a customer feels that every
interaction with you is nothing more than just a chance to sell something then trust erodes.
Talkability relates to WOM
Talkability is the hook that makes someone want to share your message with her or his friends.
Creating something talkable is all about finding the right hook and helping your customers pass it
on. The reason this can be difficult is that achieving talkability requires a type of thinking that many
brands are not prepared for because the “sell” is not your product but the talkable message that
someone is likely to pass on to someone else.
How to be talkable?
Offer something of value and that is limited
By letting fans record and share their music DMB had a built-in distribution channel that would
ensure that their music spread from person to person. having a different sound definitely helps but
letting these concert recording travel offered fans some ownership of discovering the band.
Have a hook that is shareable
The hook is the factor that gets people talking. It is the thing that makes your brand interesting and
worthy of discussion. For DMB is was the composition of the band (the normal guitar, bass,
drummer, a violin and a saxophone). Basically hook is that magic factor.
Get out of the way
Consumers want to share their opinions and discuss things they are passionate about. If there is a
vibrant discussion happening already and it is on your message, the best thing you can do is step
back and let it happen.
Talk like a real person
Avoid cliches or a form of writing or what is affectively known to businesspeople as
“marketingspeak”. The purpose of talking like a real person is to build credibility. Using a
conversational style of communication is one of the cornerstones of personality.
Admit you are marketing
Now this is cliched, you customers already know what you are trying to do. Ironically, the
admission that you are marketing can often create a compelling reason for a customer to pay
attention, as long as your message is relevant.
Have a sense of humor
Faceless companies do not laugh. They have inane policies and laughable marketing proclamations
but are loath to poke fun at themselves. Companies that can do this automatically win credibility for
being more authentic and real. Also one must not forget that humor has to be appropriate, but
having it is an essential element.
(Chapter 4)Lessons from the storytellers
- Crafting a Backstory People care about
Real power of backstory
Backstory is the history behind the organization and how it became what is it today. It is definitely
not just a timeline of accomplishments that can often be found on the company's website.
Backstories are more meaningful and they have real characters. A tale of how these characters had
to evolve and overcome challenges in order to make their business successful. What is more distinct
about a backstory is that, its only goal is to create a foundation of credibility. If telling stories about
your product or service is your main dish then creating a backstory is your appetizers.
Your marketing is not the Titanic (we hope)
Try reading the first few lines of a companies “About US” page or from their brochure, in fact try
reading it out loud. Can you imagine anyone say those lines in a real conversation? Is that how you
describe your company to strangers? You need to loose those Buzzwords. If consider some of the
dialogs of the movie Titanic (below mentioned)
“A women's heart is a deep ocean of secrets.”
“He saved me in every way that a person can be saved.”
“He exists now, only in my memory.”
the movie was filled with dialogs like these and hence was unrealistic in many sorts. So why is it an
example of something that doesn't work? Because when you watch a movie like this you go for the
melodrama and special effects, which is something the movie is delivering. The lesson being unless
your movie is selling melodrama don't let your marketing sound like the dialogs in Titanic.
Thinking like a screenwriter
Backstory works as a tool to build an emotional connection. This is why crafting a backstory is the
important first element in demonstrating the personality of your brand. Thinking like a screenwriter
1. Establish characters and stories quickly.
2. Create scenes and moments rather than prose and descriptions.
3. Always write with natural human language.
4. Foster an emotional connection with no basis of knowledge.
5. Weave these elements into a compelling story with a beginning, middle and end.
The BArc Model
A story arc is a common phrase used to describe the changes that happed to a main character from
the beginning to the end of any story. When it comes to applying these conventions of storytelling
to your backstory, the best way to approach it is to use something called the Backstory Arc (BArc).
BArc is a progression that your backstory must take in order to build an emotional investment. The
key elements in a BArc model are:
1. Characters – people in the story that your customers will associate with
2. Challenge – the question or need they are trying to answer
3. Vision – the unique idea they embarked upon
4. Conflict – who or what stands in the way of their success
5. Triumph – how they overcome this conflict
Most backstories actually draw upon elements from multiple models, hence below are listed the
primary story models. As you delve more deeply into your particular organization, you may find
that the other models offer supporting evidence or other story elements worth using as well.
1. The Passionate enthusiast – A driven individual takes a personal passion and builds in
into a successful business
2. The Inspired inventor – A tireless inventor creates something new and different by now
giving up on his or her vision.
3. The Smart listener – A new company is created as a result of listening to customers,
partners, or other.
4. The Likeable hero – A dedicated individual overcomes all odds to make his/her idea
5. The Little guy vs. big guy – An underdog company takes on a seemingly unbeatable,
(Chapter 5)Conquering the fear factor
- Getting your organization to embrace personality
Finding your authority
Authority to some degree is like respect. Respect drives performance, not a title on a business card.
The only way to earn respect is Buy-in, people believe that what you are doing is correct and
support you. This is quite similar to the definition of leadership, which is the ability to inspire
people to follow you even if they do not know where you are going. Trust, Respect and Belief are
all the elements that factor into this.
Fear and Beyond
Fear is the factor in holding companies back from thinking differently and/or from innovating has
been the topic of many recent books. A culture built on fear leads to individuals and companies that
are afraid of change. This is a fear seen firsthand in colleagues and clients unwilling to take a risk,
stuck on following conventions, blindly taking orders and never doing anything remarkable. Fear of
success, uncertainty, tradition, and precedent are the four barriers to personality.
Conquering the success barrier
In reality there is no such thing as infinite success. What is working today should give you the
license to try something new while you are still on top. If you need to innovate after you have been
replaced, then you are already late. John F. Kennedy said “the best time to fix the roof is when the
sun is shining”.
Conquering the uncertainty barrier
Uncertainty is all about lack of knowledge. When one has no idea how their action may be
interpreted, then one will naturally be more reluctant to try something new. Part of conquering
uncertainty is finding a way to demonstrate that mistakes or mishaps will not take you too far off
course. The other part is collecting knowledge to counter the uncertainty.
Conquering the tradition barrier
Sometimes tradition can actually be one of the easiest barriers to address, depending on your
organization, because it is usually followed for only one or two reasons. The first is nostalgia, and
the second is because of a mistaken belief that the way business is currently being conducted is the
best way since it has always worked before (a reason clearly related to the barrier of success
Conquering the precedent barrier
Sometimes taking an approach completely different from what a competition took will lead to
something that works for the organization. To conquer the precedent barrier, you need to find a
viable point of reference that you can claim as a precedent and build your idea from there. For
example, some people don't wear watches and still know what time it is, how? Generally they know
what time they left somewhere or what time their last meeting ended. That is a reference point and
therefore they can usually guess the time within a few minutes without needing a watch.
(Chapter 6)Add Personality and Stir
- Finding and Using Personality moments
Understanding personality moments:
Personality Moment is a trigger. It is the point when you have the chance to build your
relation with your customer, or when you are in the danger of losing it. They occur frequently in
small numbers and the fact that they are small does make them insignificant; it only makes them
easier to miss. Personality Moments are all around us and they represent pivotal moments in
which you can build customer customer loyalty and stand apart from competitors.
Personality Moment is as any moment when you have the attention of a customer or
Desperately seeking attention
Customers give attention to produce information when they are researching products or about to
purchase the product. Attention is the prize most companies are seeking from their customers.
Three methods of getting attention
The three methods of getting attention are Shock, Sex and Relevance. However Relevance is the
key factor that transforms something from good entertainment to good and entertaining
marketing. The brands using above three methods are successful in seeking attention for a
moment, but loose it quickly after that.
The attention paradox
“A Wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” the point is not that we have less
attention to give, but we are far more selective with how we spend it.
Kill the silos
The moment when you have your customers nearly undivided attention is the same moment
when the relationship with the customer whose from marketing to other areas of the business.
Forget the thrill of chase
The secret to being able to use personality moments effectively is to have a good eye for
spotting when you have captured your customer’s attention and have a chance to do more with
it. Your goal should be to more efficiently turn every such situation in to a personality moment.
Fifth Phase: Indifference
This phase includes all the moments when some one is not in the buying cycle at all. They are
indifferent because they do not care about you or what you have to offer. They are simply not in
the market for what you are selling; therefore who is not in the market for what you have to
offer is the toughest to reach.
Science of personality moments
Creating something talkable inherently empowers your product or services. When consumers
demand more authenticity the only way to respond is to find the real story behind the product or
brand. This is not about getting bigger or getting smaller. This is not even about finding
something to stand for. This is about understanding, what they underline personality of you or
brand is and finding the right moments to use it.