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Ya Gotta Have Personality

by Elaine Fogel  |  
April 1, 2011

How many marketing buzz words get tossed around these days? We could run a contest to see how many we collectively accumulate. Since the advent of Web 2.0, we often hear terms like, "authentic," "genuine," "transparent," and "engaging."

But isn't this just code for: "Ya gotta have personality?"

Want to blog and actively participate in social media to engage customers and prospects in your content? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but if you're boring, academic, and didactic in your tone or long-winded, who's going to engage with you? Who wants to do business with you?

Personality! That's what it takes. It's "the visible aspect of one's character as it impresses others" or "the distinctive character of a person that makes him [her] socially attractive."

In the "old" days, it was the salesperson who capitalized on using personality, but in many cases, it was to BS the unsuspecting prospect into making a purchase, whether it was the right move or not. Today, BS is passé. It has been replaced by meeting the customer's needs in an honest manner.

Whether you're involved in B2C, B2B, government, or nonprofit marketing, it's your personality that attracts others, builds relationships, and garners trust. You can't force it. It has to come naturally.

What personality characteristics do you think are valuable in marketing now?

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Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel

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  • by Jackie Eldridge Fri Apr 1, 2011 via blog

    Great piece---you're spot-on.

    After being laid off from my creative strategist job with an agency, I had to redefine myself to start my own marketing agency in a time when businesses were pulling back on spending. I chose the blunt, in-your-face approach, so people know what I can do for them, and that they'll have some fun with me. They get my personality. I have had a lot of great feedback on the name of my company--"I Make Shit Up." People are always asking me for one of our t-shirts.

    Bravo to you for illuminating the fact that even in hard times, you can prosper by using what comes naturally to you.

  • by George Fri Apr 1, 2011 via blog

    Absolutely! The challenge I think most small-business owners make is that they can't communicate their "personality" (i.e. brand) in their marketing. And of course, with Twitter and FB, it becomes even more challenging, if not, impossible.

    Thanks for the validation!

  • by Steve Jones Fri Apr 1, 2011 via blog

    Well said. You either have personality, or you don't. No matter how many buzz words you attach to measuring your impact, you either have an engaging personality or you don't. I wrote about that idea just this week, after becoming frustrated with the endless stream of "personal branding" experts tweeting on Twitter. The essence of this piece is that you can only construct your brand so far... if you aren't remarkable and interesting, the world will see you as a fraud soon enough.

  • by Dhana Fri Apr 1, 2011 via blog

    One company that comes to my mind is - balsamiq. They are small, making waves (I am no way related to them, btw) with their personality - which is being 'genuine' and 'transparent'. They even blog about their revenues :). howz that for transparency ?.

  • by Ramiro Rodriguez Sat Apr 2, 2011 via blog

    You guys are awesome. I look forward to reading your emails and blogs every day because I know I'll learn something. And I know I'll smile!


  • by Elaine Fogel Sat Apr 2, 2011 via blog

    Jackie, I adore your company name! It really speaks to your brand personality. :) I also believe in being totally honest with clients, even if it's something they don't want to hear. Thanks for adding your experience.

  • by Elaine Fogel Sat Apr 2, 2011 via blog

    Thanks, George. I agree. Some Web sites don't even include info on the company's principals. What a wasted opportunity.

  • by Elaine Fogel Sat Apr 2, 2011 via blog

    Steve, I agree, you've either "got it" or ya don't. Sometimes people are honorable, but devoid of an engaging personality. It's not their fault; they may be shy or withdrawn naturally. It doesn't mean they are fraudulent either. The fact is that they may find it more challenging to attract business. Thanks for sharing!

  • by Elaine Fogel Sat Apr 2, 2011 via blog

    Thanks for telling us about this company, Dhana. I love their "mission statement" to make the world a better place by helping people create software that is easier to use. Amazing that they aare SO transparent to blog about revenue. That's unusual, for sure.

  • by Elaine Fogel Sat Apr 2, 2011 via blog

    Well, Ramiro, if I have anything to do with your compliment, I accept with deepest gratitude on behalf of all my awesome MProfs colleagues. Keep reading, and keep adding your comments. We need it for our egos! :)

  • by J.B. Brocato Mon Apr 4, 2011 via blog

    Awesome article! Personality does have a significant role in the sales and marketing process. I guess, though, unlike some of the other comments, I am a big believer that we all have personality. While some people may have more overt and larger personalities than others, we all have unique attributes that make up our personality which can effectively be used by us to generate more business. Interestingly, I have an approach to developing business that I call Crux Rainmaking. One of the three ideas, or concepts, involved in Crux Rainmaking is Unique Business Relationships (UBRs). UBRs are relationships that are difficult, if not impossible, to replace. I advocate building these UBRs with potential clients/customers to maximize the chances of developing exponentially more business. A key ingredient to building UBRs is Crux Personality. It is what moves us, what makes us tick, etc. And with Crux Rainmaking, we learn to identify with and understand our Crux Personality and infuse it into our relationships with our potential clients/customers. If you would like more info on Crux Personality and Crux Rainmaking, please visit my Blog at Thanks.

    J.B. Brocato

  • by J.B. Brocato Mon Apr 4, 2011 via blog

    Just noticed that the link I referenced in my Comment was missing a "w". Here's the right link:


    J.B. Brocato

  • by Joann Simon Tue Apr 5, 2011 via blog

    You know, it still surprises me how many companies do completely overlook this and think that, since they've got the 'basics' down (i.e.-the right tabs on their website, the "right" buzzwords to get "noticed", etc.), that they're just good-to-go! Wrong. They should take a peep here to catch some advice for a start! You summed it up really well! Personality is key, not just that you have information people want, but that you know how to communicate it to individuals in a way that will interest them and keep them coming back for more! With that, one of the key variables I see to be important in marketing now is customer relationships and communication, especially since it should be way easier with the internet being so accessible.
    Keep up the blogging!

  • by Elaine Fogel Tue Apr 5, 2011 via blog

    Joann, wanna be my new best friend? :) We're on the same page, girl!

  • by Elaine Fogel Tue Apr 5, 2011 via blog

    Thanks, JB! I found your blog post interesting. The mindset is everything. From one musician to another, thanks for adding your comment.

  • by J.B. Brocato Tue Apr 5, 2011 via blog

    Cool! Thanks, Elaine, for checking my Blog out! And good to know you are a musician. Do you find that your creativity as a musician helps you in the sales and marketing world? If you get a chance, let me know. Thanks!

    J.B. Brocato

  • by Elaine Fogel Tue Apr 5, 2011 via blog

    Absolutely, JB. Every creative vein in my body contributes to any creative project I do. My guess is you're probably the same. The only thing I haven't done in years is write music and perform. I used to adore it. Now I just make a ham of myself as a professional speaker. :)

  • by J.B. Brocato Sat Apr 9, 2011 via blog

    Awesome! Sounds like you are having fun, releasing some creative energy, and adding a lot of value to people's lives! Congrats! Maybe we will be speaking at the same conference/venue some time!


  • by Jackie Eldridge Thu Apr 14, 2011 via blog

    Thanks Elaine! Me too!

  • by Beth Harte Tue Apr 19, 2011 via blog

    I wish I had the guts to put this on my resume "You want sh*t done--the right way, under budget, and with results? Hire Beth Harte!" LOL! ;-)

    Kudos to you Jackie! And, I couldn't agree with you more... Marketing (and PR and Branding!!) as a term has been completely diluted. People think marketing is promotion and spin and opening up a trench coat and saying "which watch? all real." Sigh. I still hold my marketing head high though as I truly believe in real marketing that is driven from the customer's point of view.

  • by basekit Thu Oct 6, 2011 via blog

    This article manages to deliver a clear message in a short piece of writing. Personality is so powerful in business today, it is what makes people relate to each other.

  • by Elaine Fogel Thu Oct 6, 2011 via blog

    Agreed! Thanks for adding your two cents. :)

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