This is about the debate of whether a company should portray itself as a corporation, or try to be more personal about their business, and put a face on it. Here I will list the advantages and disadvantages of both, and give you my opinion.
First, I’ll start off with the personal side. An example of a company that could be described as more personal is Apple. The face of their business is Steve Jobbs, he built the company from the ground up, and it is his life’s work. He is the talisman of Apple, a symbol of what their company is, when people see Steve Jobs, they immediately associate him with anything Apple has produced. This is an advantage as customers feel closer to the company, and they can relate with them. It is a warmer relationship than say, a corporation that is a boardroom full of businessmen that you will never see. Sure, Apple has a room just like that, but they are fronted by Steve Jobs, and it makes a difference. They are also very personal in their stores, they have staff called ” Genius’ “, that you can take your iPod or your Mac, and they will be very friendly and fix it for you, instead of having to ring up a number, where you can’t see who you’re talking to. A disadvantage of this, is what happens when Steve Jobs steps down? Will Apple be able to cope without him, and will they turn to a new face, or turn to more of an organisational approach.
An example of a company that has been able to do this is Microsoft, many people used to see Bill Gates as the face of Microsoft, however when he stepped down Microsoft carried on doing just fine by creating a new marketing campaign (one that I will talk about later in my blog), and that campaign is the whole “Windows 7 was my idea”, campaign. This is very personal as they are making you feel like you helped create the new Microsoft OS by giving them your ideas, and your complaints.
Another disadvantage is that if the face of your company does something that customer’s don’t like, for example drink driving, it reflects poorly on the company as a whole, and the likely outcome is that sales will drop.
Now I will talk about a more organisational approach. An example of this is the Coca Cola company. They have never had one man as the face of their company, and they are strictly a corporation trying to get sales, not that this is a bad thing. They make their decisions as a company, and not one man is bigger than it. They don’t attempt to make you feel personally inclined towards their company in any way. The advantages of this approach, is that you don’t have one person who people associate with your business, instead you can have a multitude of things.
In my opinion, the best approach would be a happy medium between the two, make people feel personally inclined towards your business, but not at the expense of having one persona who is bigger than it.