Personality and your brand [Pt. I]


I have already started three different posts that address my thoughts on personality and branding, a topic I am scheduled to dissect at the Social Media Breakfast [Portland, Maine] this Friday. I am looking forward to taking on the topic, as it is one that is very much a part of my professional day-to-day. The other posts delve into my history with the topic, though as of right now they delve with the aid of a few too many words, so for the time being I’ll talk a bit about what most excites me about the intersection of these two subjects.

Personality is imperative to the development efforts of my company. It would be helpful for you to know that my company Knack Factory is a media and content production company. We make all sorts of creative and commercial video and photo content both for clients (for hire) and in a self-directed editorial and creative capacity. In other words, sometimes people hire us to produce stuff for them and other times we make our own content.

With regard to that content, which serves us in a “content marketing” capacity, injection of personality is ultimately how we bring attention to our services. The process of being hired to create video, or content generally, is typically a conservative one. By and large, departments spending on production have finite budgets and want some degree of predictability built into the endeavors they’re investing in. They want to see what you have done and are capable of and your displayed capabilities represents how adventurous as they’d like to get. In other words, the most adventurous a client will consider getting is represented by however adventurous you have gotten because it a) helps them imagine doing something they otherwise might not have considered and b) ensures them that you are capable of creating more than standard fare.

So, for example, if you have only made a bunch of corporate talking heads styles of videos, and that is all you have made yourself known for, that is all you will get engaged about. People will typically solicit you about what you are known for doing and if all that you do is boring, safe stuff that’s all they can imagine you doing. An injection of personality into your creative and experimental ventures will help clients imagine themselves helming more interesting and larger scale productions.

Further, injection of personality into what you create and—as an extension, how you are understood as an organization—helps to spread a message far. I will be presenting alongside Tim Cotton of the Bangor Police Department, who helps that department develop what the Washington Post suggests might be the only police department with a funny Facebook page. By creating personality rich messaging, he helps to traffic messages that, without injections of that personality, would be unlikely to go far. And in doing so, he makes a police department appear cool, which I had previously imagined to be an unachievable feat.

Similarly, in my line of work people don’t broadly share what you’ve made if your work is dictated exclusively by client needs because, again, client needs on their own are typically conservative and often pretty boring. As a result, your body of work and displayed aptitude will be similarly conservative and boring. So when you share another talking heads style interview developed for a very specific set of purposes, that’s going nowhere and your capabilities aren’t getting seen by a sizable pool of new prospects. This is why when we make creative work, we make it about interesting people, stories and things. We inject everything we do with the personality of those who move and inspire us, and in doing so we grow our audience of prospects—prospects who become more adventurous by seeing what we could make together—and we get to show off our interests and perspectives along the way.

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.