• Sam Thayer

Personification of Brands: How Traditional, Not-So Exciting Brands Can Stand Out


Billions of people around the globe use social media every week, making the internet an increasingly attractive space for businesses to market their product or service. Many start-ups and small businesses have utilized the power of social media to create content that focuses specifically on their niche target market. For example, two agriculture workers were able to quit their jobs and pursue their dream of selling vintage clothing online after growing an audience on Instagram. Their account, @massvintage, has reached almost 40,000 Instagram followers since their inception in 2019. Furthermore, larger corporations such as Netflix are easily able to maintain a large presence on social media by posting trailers, behind the scenes content, and revealing new films.


Clearly, some brands with a specific niche or industry have used social media to their advantage. However, how can so-called “boring” companies, such as airlines, logistics, or food companies grow their audience online? The answer: personify your brand with consistent posts, even if the posts are completely unrelated to your product or service.


One example of personifying your brand is how popular fast-food chain Wendy’s interacts with others on Twitter. Traditional Wendy’s marketing campaigns on TV or billboards feature new products or prices. However, Wendy’s twitter has a mind of its own. The Wendy's twitter account has 3.7 million followers, which it has gained by “roasting” people who tweet at them, in addition to their competitors, Burger King and McDonalds. A Youtube video featuring the top Wendy’s Twitter roasts currently has 6.7 million views. Although their tweets do not always promote their products, they allow Wendy’s to gain significant reach on Twitter, specifically to Gen-Z and Millenials. As a result, they have a cult following that is more receptive to their brands.


Another example of a personification of a brand is RyanAir on TikTok. RyanAir is an Irish airline with over 300,000 followers on TikTok. By following trends unrelated to airlines, they have grown an audience where they never would have with traditional videos. With RyanAir and even NFL teams, we can observe brands stretching the limits on traditional marketing to get as close to consumers as possible by responding directly to comments and participating in trends. As a result, they avoid the boring, “boomer” appearance that some large corporations are branded by younger audiences.


Does this mean that every brand should follow every social media trend? Not necessarily. It is yet to be determined whether these social media strategies actually convert to increased profits. However, there is no denying that these brands are increasing their overall reach on social media.


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