Getting Personal: How Much of You Should You Market?
In 2003 documentary The Corporation, film-makers Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbot highlighted the psychopathic tendencies of huge multinationals.
And brands are talking to us like never before, just look at companies like Innocent.
There's even a whole area of business psychology devoted to discovering your brand personality.
Why are we telling you all this?
Well, humanising business is no new thing. The trouble is, many smaller organisations try to go down a 'corporate' route, mimicking the tone of larger, successful companies on their websites and other marketing/advertising.
But what better personality to ascribe your businesses than your own?
Of course, much depends upon the type of business you plan to run, but don't be seduced into thinking you have to talk big to be taken seriously. There's little point in dressing things up and acting like a global kingpin if you actually operate out of your mum's back bedroom.
The more open and down-to-earth you are, the quicker you'll gain the trust and respect of your customers.
It's far easier for people to feel a connection if they can actually see you, so don't hide behind the mask of some fluffy corporate mascot - you're the key to your success, so show your face and be confident in what sets you apart from the competition.
Putting yourself at the forefront adds credibility to what you do, whilst also ensuring your brand becomes instantly recognizable.
For your fledgling empire to take flight you'll need to win your share of the market, and the best way to do this is by establishing yourself as a voice of authority on your chosen subject - regularly updated blogs and video content will help you maintain interest levels.
If you're a one-man band, it's also wise to avoid language like 'we' can do this and 'we' can do that because it soon becomes stuffy and uninspiring. It's much bolder to take ownership of the matter, addressing your audience directly with proud statements like: I guarantee you...' and I promise you...'
The more transparent and open you are, the further enhanced your reputation becomes.
When you think of Apple, one of the world's biggest brands, you inevitably think of inspirational founder, the late Steve Jobs.
Despite the huge corporate machine, Jobs did a good job of stamping his personality on the company, with consumers buying into his innovative philosophy as much they did his range of products.
He was confident in what differentiated the brand from the competition and his passion shone through, which undoubtedly played a key role in the company's global success.
If you're going to incorporate any lessons from the world of big business into your model, you could do worse than to take inspiration from Mr. Jobs.
If you hope to secure memberships and build a community of online subscribers, making matters personal can help you go a long way.
Aside from frequent updates and fresh content - the cornerstones of any successful membership site - it's important to listen to your audience and act quickly upon their feedback. Your members want to know they're dealing with a real person and, likewise, they need to feel the mutual respect is reciprocated.
Having open lines of communication will be of great benefit in helping you master your niche, and can only help expand your network.