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The case for character marketing

Chris Green Media

"Just because you are a character it doesn’t mean you have character."

The immortal words of uber cool gangster/clean up guy Winston Wolf (Harvey Keitel) in Pulp Fiction – and one of my favourite film lines.

Why? Because it rings true. Character counts – but if someone is described as ‘a character’ it usually refers to an iffy, fly-by-night sort rather than a trusty, reliable type.

On the other hand, people with character are solid, reliable, trustworthy, ethical, credible and have integrity.

The list of positive features rolls on and on and we like each and every one of them.

Let’s face it, we don’t want ‘a character’ to fix our car, we want someone with character we can trust to lift the bonnet, diagnose correctly and carry out any required repairs.

That’s why marketing the character of your business should be high up your priority pecking order.

There are innumerable ways we can do this – from the way we structure our websites through to telling our business story via blogs, video, PR, branding, photography, brochures and social media.

Forget the back end, dark arts, twiddly stuff.

Every credible marketing resource now says that quality content – and lots of it – is king to achieving lead generation.

Same as it ever was. Character marketing means telling your story and getting your message out there loud and clear – not just what you do (often that’s a given) but why and how you do it that is different, special or unique.

Posting photos of plates of food and telling everyone where you’re going for coffee (yawn) is fine for your personal social media. For business, it tells us nothing and clogs your timeline.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Your aim is to win business and to connect rather than merely communicate.

People buy into people they feel an affinity with, understand and like – and those people will have characteristics they can identify with and respect.

This can take a little imagination – but often not too much.

Everyone has a story of one sort of another to tell.

Storytelling is how we learn – and telling stories is something that should be encouraged (as long as they’re not tall ones!).

So here’s a brief but true character marketing story about the benefits of blogging.

Dave Connellan, who owns Worcester’s Mobile Mechanic (WMM), has been a busy blogger for several years.

We know as we edit and post them on the company’s social media pages.

His blogs offer an insight into garage life and tell a few stories along the way of customers’ problems and how Dave and his team have solved them.

They reaffirm, offer simple maintenance hints and tips and Dave always supplies photos.

Having a good heart, he tells the story of supporting a school in The Gambia and how he delivers supplies of essential equipment donated by friends and colleagues.

Reach is achieved by likes, shares and retweets and the result is a steady stream of enquiries from people who felt they could connect with Dave and his team from what they’ve read.

“I just felt I could trust you,” one read. ‘Nuff said.

This simple example of character marketing speaks volumes.

Dave’s competitors will doubtless claim they are too busy, don’t have time or can’t be bothered.

To WMM, it makes sense and wins business. Character, see.

Character marketing is the theme of October’s CGM Business Media Club meetings in Birmingham (October 20) and Worcester (October 27) – the specific skill is blogging.

To attend either meeting or or more information call 01905 453908 or email info@chrisgreenmedia.co.uk