*Personality Not Included

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.

4 thoughts on “*Personality Not Included”

  1. a couple of years, a hurricane, a few new members on team, and 3 award winning product releases later… Ultimus will host the America’s Users Conference and Partner Forum October 22-24 in San Antonio, TX. We’re inviting customers, partners, analysts, interested parties and Ultimus executives and employees from around the world. The agenda is full of forward thinking ideas, road mapping, recent case studies with the new migration tools and a lot of networking. For the first time, attendees will hear the new CEO, Richard Davis, talk about the new face of Ultimus and where we’re going. We’d love for you to join us. Click here to learn to see the agenda.

  2. What a completely uninformed way to try to flog your company online — the only reason that I didn’t delete your comment is so that I can use it as a lesson to others.

    For someone with the title of senior director of marketing at Ultimus, you really need to learn how to use blogs and bloggers to get your message across.

    First of all, don’t put a purely promotional comment about your user conference on a blog post that has nothing to do with BPM, conferences, or anything else related to your message: it’s a frickin’ book review blog post! Just because it happened to be the most recent blog post on the site when you stumbled across it doesn’t mean that it’s a good place to add your comment — you *do* know how blogs works, don’t you? Be relevant!

    Second, having your PR agent email me 12 hours after you post this comment to see if I want to meet with you at an upcoming BPM conference doesn’t exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy about meeting with you. Why not use the comments section for what it’s really for, namely to engage me and the rest of the readers in a conversation? Then maybe I’d see if you had anything interesting to talk about besides regurgitated press releases interjected in inappropriate places.

    Third, the “click here” part of your inappropriate comment would be a lot more impactful if you actually included a link.

  3. ha, thought you stole this from stowe boyd, went over to check, it was you! nice enough. i despise the book as an effort by the author in self-branding, but that is how it goes these days.

    and comment number one is why i hate marketing, marketers, pr and ad people… they should all be locked in a room with mirrors.

    i was on somebody’s twitter page, decided to arbitrarily click on somebody they followed to ad to my connections… boink, that got me here.. nice blog, will add it to my neuronal input.

    enjoy, gregory lent

  4. This is the first time that I’ve cross-posted to both blogs; I don’t generally do that because the subject matter rarely crosses over.

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