In his latest project, “Conversations with Chip Griffin,” CustomScoop’s CEO talks one-on-one with some of the brightest voices in a variety of fields. In his latest episode, he chats with Rohit Bhargava.
Rohit is a Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy at Ogilvy Public
Relations. He is also an expert at helping companies navigate the new media
waters, and author of “Personality Not Included: Why
Companies Lose Their Authenticity and How Great Brands Get It Back.” Rohit launched a memorable social media blitz around the release of his book, giving dozens of interviews to bloggers in an effort to spread the word.
In their chat, Rohit and Chip start out wondering if companies even need a personality at all. Chip points out that the first priority of any company ought to be providing the appropriate service for their customers; giving them the products they need. Rohit counters, pointing out that every company should do that regardless–the personality of a company ought to be in addition to the services they already ought to be providing.
It’s an interesting concept. Certainly, all a company is required to do is offer the services or products its customers ask of it. The “personality” is a bonus, right? Should it be required? And what do we even mean by personality?
Rohit answers by saying we can mean many different things. “The definition I used in the book was a very simple, three core elements of
personality,” he explains. “Number one, you have to be unique. Number two, you have to be
authentic. Number three, you have to be talkable. And so, within each one
of those, I really try and describe, well, what makes a business unique? It is
offering something that somebody else doesn’t offer.
“Authenticity is this
big idea in business right now, which is actually meaning what you say and doing
that. That is very difficult for a lot of companies, particularly when it comes
to their marketing messages. I really lay out some principles for how to do
While Rohit agrees that the bigger a business is the more likely it is to lose some personality, he is quick to point out that being small does not immediately ensure a company will have what it takes. What’s important is determining the tone you’d like to set and communicating that to your customers.
He points out that sometimes companies end up with “accidental spokespeople,” who may be actively evangelizing the company, but may not be trained in marketing. Embracing these situations is what can lead to a company finding its appropriate tone. Rohit offers Dyson Vacuums as an example of a company doing it right, noting that there are dozens of examples in his book–and if you can’t find one that speaks to you, email him and he’ll find one.
Rohit’s take on brand management is fitting with the idea of the importance of social media engagement. He argues that information (good or bad) about a brand can travel fast, and if it’s the wrong information a company needs to be equipped with ways to dispel concerns and reach out to their customers. Personality and authenticity are just two of the tools that can help.
And no company is immune–unless you have a product that is so completely “game-changing” that everyone would want it no matter what, you’d better work on building your personality. It’s a scary concept for some companies, but one they must overcome.
Just click the link to download Chip and Rohit’s conversation and hear more.