Differentiating Your MSP Business Through a Brand Personality

August 16th, 2018
Elaine Wang
Elaine WangDesign Lead

Have you spent time speaking to prospects about your MSP business? If so, you may have gotten the impression that many potential customers think that one cloud service provider is almost the same as the next one. This attitude makes your marketing more difficult.

You can enjoy a better competitive advantage when you differentiate your brand  by making sure that the people who need your services will associate your company with the kind of positive traits that they prefer to associate themselves with. Marketers call this establishing a brand personality, and it’s not that difficult to do.

Understanding the Importance of Brand Personality

No, your business isn’t actually a person who has a personality. On the other hand, you can and should associate your brand name with positive personality traits that people within your target market will value. To help you understand more about developing a brand personality, consider the example of the way Apple tries to distinguish itself in the personal computer and phone markets.
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Brand Personalities May Reflect Customer Personalities

A few years ago, Apple ran lots of ads to promote their personal computers as more reliable and hipper than similar products from Microsoft. These days, Apple also focuses upon differentiating iPhone users from Android users. In fact, a recent survey demonstrated that you can even predict some things about the personality of people who own an iPhone versus people who choose to buy an Android phone.

This survey found that people who buy an iPhone are more likely to engage in physical activity, favor a sporty appearance, and even eat vegan food than people who buy Android phones. On the surface, these characteristics may not seem like they have much to do with the type of phone people choose. Apparently, the kinds of people that Apple products and marketing attract tend to also have these other traits.

Understanding how various people may react to your own brand personality can help you better target customers or adjust your image when marketing to a particular industry. For instance, you will probably find that buyers who represent financial services value somewhat different traits than customers who represent marketing or creative companies.

Benefits You Can Enjoy by Developing Your Brand Persona

If you don’t differentiate your brand personality from that of competitors, you will probably find yourself competing mostly on price. If you’d rather enjoy the luxury of not having to always undercut other MSPs day in and day out, you’d better develop your brand persona.

When customers automatically associate your company with certain traits that they value, you can differentiate your brand in a number of ways that will also increase the value of your services in their mind:

  • Make a quick, emotional connection: Even B2B buyers tend to base their purchasing decisions on emotions as much as upon logic. In fact, one Gartner study found that emotion may drive business purchases even more than consumer purchases. This may make sense if you consider that business buyers may take greater risks than regular consumers do.
  • Easily convey a consistent message: No matter which personalty traits you want to associate with your company, you will have an easier time sending a consistent message after you have them clearly defined. If you want customers to view your business as reliable, innovative, trustworthy, service-oriented, or friendly, you should strive to always convey that tone and message in your marketing and sales materials.

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How to Develop Your Brand Personality

Start defining and documenting your brand identity by taking these steps:

  • Define your brand personality: Consider the words that you use to describe your business to other people and the sorts of traits that your best customers value. For instance, do people think of your business as traditional and reliable or high energy and innovative? If you’re not sure, you might consider surveying other employees, customers, or your potential target market.
  • Craft your brand’s voice and appearance: You may ]pick up on visual or verbal queues that help you make quick decisions about the personalities of individuals. In the same way, people make judgments about brands based upon what they hear and see. More conservative companies tend to use more formal language and stronger colors; however, a more contemporary organization may write less formally, use brighter colors, and select more stylish typefaces. You should think about the signals your website, marketing materials, and even phone calls sent to customers.
  • Write a style guide: Once you’ve defined your brand persona and figured out how you can communicate it, you can create a style guide. You can use this document to communicate your consistent message to writers, web designers, and other talent you hire to produce marketing materials. Even if you plan to do everything yourself, a style guide will help make sure that you always produce materials with the same tone and message. You don’t need to produce a long or complex document; in fact, many effective style guides only consist of a few, well-considered paragraphs. Sometimes, when style guides get too long or complex, you might increase the risk that people won’t or can’t follow them. In any case, you should probably consider your style guide a work in progress, and once you see the kinds of visuals and text people produce from your guide, you can always make adjustments.

    Make Marketing Easier by Developing Your Brand Persona Right Away

If you don’t take the time to figure out what kind of image you hope to present to customers, you can hardly expect them to figure it out on their own. The personalty of your company will impact the types of clients you attract; however, most of all, your brand personalty can help you differentiate your brand in an industry where many competitors seem similar on the surface.

You should consider defining and developing your own company’s brand persona before you produce other marketing materials, so you can keep your message consistent. Consistency is key.