November 12th, 2008

What is personality?

Google ‘definition of personality’ returns “the complex of all the attributes–behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental–that characterize a unique individual; “their different …”

Essentially personality is what makes us different and unique.

Big businesses try to stamp out personality to keep regimented systems for franchises, to reassure customers, to get the right cogs doing what they need to.

Yet more often than not a loyalty between organisations is between people, not the brands.

It’s people behind every company and every interaction and with people comes their personality.

We shouldn’t shy away from that, we should embrace it, what are the personalities behind our business? and how can we leverage that? (and in term keep them happy).

I was thinking this as I bought a coffee from Cafe Monet, in Newmarket. ย 

I wandered in and 3 people were in there and they all said hey anton, morning anton, etc to (as I instantly became aware) Anton the barista.

Anton looked up and said ‘hey buddy’ to me, and carried on talking to various people, within 30 seconds you could tell he was the personality behind the cafe and the reason people kept coming back.

It was like everyone was friends, a real sense of community.

I daresay his 10% extra effort with every customer leads to 80% (or higher) return rates. ย 

I’ll definitely be going back to say hi to Anton and grab a coffee (plus the coffee isn’t half bad).

The question is, what personalities do we have? and how can we embrace them?

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8 Responses to “Personality”

  1. Simon Young Says:

    Bang on. This is so true, and it’s what keeps leaders of large (or growing) businesses up at night.

    If all their competitive advantage is actually the guy/girl in their TV ads, or in their call centre, or behind the counter, this means two things:

    a) that person is really, really powerful and has a lot of bargaining power
    b) what on earth will we do when that person leaves?

    Just because those questions are hard to answer doesn’t mean they’re legitimate. Personal branding is as important – or more important – than branding branding.

  2. Ben Young Says:

    @Simon Creating a culture to bring like minded personalities in works, case in point Google? (for when personalities leave).

  3. Steven Kempton Says:

    I think the classic example of pushing individual personalities in a larger org is the NBA doing it in the 80’s and 90’s with Jordan, Bird and Magic. Great strategy because they the also played the game great. But it failed when they continued to market personalities in the late 90’s and early 00’s but those personalities didn’t actually play the game at the same level. The problem was exacerbated when the newer personalities started to think they were bigger than the game, made it a worse game to watch, and ultimately drove fans away. You can argue they just need to find a better personality to market, but I’d argue you make the game great then the personalities emerge. You market personalities above the game then you’re disrespecting it and those who love it. There is my crazy rant for the week.

  4. Mark Lincoln Says:

    Absolutely. When I go for something like a coffee or haircut, I will go out of my way and even pay more to go to a place where I know someone there by name who will look me in the eye and welcome me through the door.

    I’m sure if that person then moved on and was replaced with someone with zero personality I would make far less effort to go there.

    I think our company is really good as we actually have some quite different personality types in our office. This means we always find clients that can really connect with through one of our team.

  5. Simon Young Says:

    @Steven the sports analogy is a really good one. The old playoff of individualistic heroes vs genuine, inspiring team players. Great organisations like the Mayo Clinic, Procter & Gamble etc have a team player culture that weeds out high performing but individualistic people.

    Good movie to watch on this theme: Invincible starring Marky Mark Wahlberg and Greg Kinnear. Finding a player with heart who can turn the team around.

  6. Mark Lincoln Says:

    What about political parties?

    I’m not saying John Key has an incredible personality in New Zealand but generally the personality of the political leader is a pretty big driving force for the party!

  7. Simon Young Says:

    @Mark that’s a good point too. In the latest election both National and Labour were accused of only focusing on their leaders and not their possibilities – but it’s simply because we identify with people. And then there’s Obama – the ultimate personality in politics at the moment!

  8. Samreen Mehdi Says:

    I totally agree with the article because to attract people obviously we need influencial people with having personalities that can have a stong impact on others’ responses,as what we see hear or see people acting in a particular manner so automatically our behavior and attitude altered to give an appropriate response..apart from that for instance if you go out to watch a movie the foremost imporatant thing about the project would definitely be the personalities or celebrities who are behind the project..For attracting people towards your desired message or the thought that you want to convey you need to have interesting and attractive people…

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