I’ve just finished reading *Personality Not Included by social marketing guru Rohit Bhargava. I don’t know a lot about marketing, but I know what works and doesn’t work when companies try it on me, and I’m increasingly interested in the crossover between social media and marketing.
Bhargava examines the concept of personality as it applies to organizations: why it’s important for an organization — or often a brand produced by that organization — to have a personality at all, and how to use that personality to strengthen customer relationships. The first two chapters are essential reading for any organization that’s still stuck in old-school marketing: first, why being faceless used to work but doesn’t any more, and second, how social media is fundamentally changing how organizations communicate. Much of the rest of the book is some solid advice on how to create and foster the necessary brand personality, but so many companies are still stuck back in the “why should we do this?” phase that the first two chapters are going to be a major eye-opener for them. Also brilliant are the short “sellevator pitches” at the end of each chapter, summarizing the main message.
With the first half of the book covering the theory of brand personality, the second half digs into tools and techniques for making it happen. The book lists 10 major personality-focused marketing techniques — curiosity, karmic, participation, un-whatever, sensory, antimarketer, fallibility, insider, incidental, and useful — then describes each in terms of what it is, why it works, when you should use it, who’s already doing it, and step-by-step instructions. There’s also guides for finding the accidental spokespeople inside or outside your organization, empowering your employees, creating a successful company blog, and hiring employees with personality.
If I can make one complaint about *Personality Not Included, it’s the overwhelming number of gratuitous analogies used in the writing, to the point where I started finding it annoying. I’m not talking about relevant examples, I’m talking about analogies, like the one where he spends half a page talking about Disney’s movie High School Musical — which has nothing to do with anything else in the book — in order to have us understand the concept of being pressured into sticking with the status quo. By the time that I read a number of these, it started to feel like filler. This is purely an issue of style, not content, and you may experience it differently.
Disclosure: this book was provided to me for free by the publisher, McGraw Hill, through a great program called Mini Book Expo for Bloggers, which allows bloggers to claim a book in order to receive a review copy, in exchange for writing a public review of the book. All books can be shipped for free to bloggers within Canada, and some now can be shipped to the US.