Consider the famous exchange from Pulp Fiction in which Jules and Vincent debate the rationality of abstaining from pork. Jules just doesn’t dig on swine, that’s all, because they’re basically dirty, like dogs.
VINCENT: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
JULES: I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy, but they’re definitely dirty. But, a dog’s got personality. Personality goes a long way.
VINCENT: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
JULES: Well, we’d have to be talkin’ about one charming #@$#%& pig.
Indeed, we would have to be talking about one charming #@$#%& pig. Sure, people can “like” a brand. But most people don’t really like brands. Brands need to be more charming. For that, they need personality. Without it … well, we wouldn’t call them dirty. Just invisible. Like a ship passing in the night, to quote our founder.
In fact, I think to feel human might be the greatest feat a company can pull off. But letting your “you” come through is not an easy switch to throw. It takes knowing the central truth about your offering, and identifying the one cultural tension it can speak to. It takes a team of smart, honest people leading the dialogue.
And it takes a social platform that helps these people shine. To be personable is to be in dialogue. The consistency of traditional media is critical, but social media offers opportunities to be carefully inconsistent, like all humans. How? For starters, by not yammering about yourself all day. By listening. By developing a dynamic social cadence that steps away from your textbook tweets, and dabbles in your fans’ interests and even their voice.
Maybe then they will a) always know what to expect and b) be pleasantly surprised at the same time. Charm can run the gamut, from funny to sincere to Arnold on Green Acres. Some varied examples, below.