How Well Do Brands Understand their Digital Identities?

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On the return flight from a week away from work, I found myself sitting glumly in my assigned seat, watching the cabin crew stride purposefully up and down the aisles. A huge part of me wished I had their job: When work would be a matter of mechanics, and there would be so much to see, and do once the basics are done with!

“The internet gives me ways to become a certified musician, with a mathematics degree; all while sitting in my social media profile, so why can’t I also WORK in multiple places?” I was in the mood to grouse.

Clearly, my desk wasn’t at the top of my bucket list at that point in time… Until… My co-travellers gave me new perspective: I’d get bored of doing just that.

When you’re working with marketing communication; especially social media, you don’t just speak on behalf of the brand, you speak AS the brand. In a situation like this, there’s one thing you can’t afford: Superficiality. Your audience are well aware of what they can demand of their brands, and they want the real deal. You know how you have access to a world of information online? Here’s the catch… So does the audience! Which means that you can’t get away with telling them what’s a simple Google Search away.

As a brand custodian for your clients, you are their brand. You talk what the brand talks, breathe what they breathe, and are affected by what affects them. Brands like Netflix, or Zomato, or Amul have created just such personalities, which is why they’re right there at the top of your mind. It’s not about getting a great content writer on the job; it’s about understanding who YOU are.

We do a lot of persona mapping for our TG, where I come from. We know the profile of the guy buying our product, we know what his family may be like, where she shops, what the kids like to do… But a lot of times, we miss out on mapping our own persona; that of the brand. This is where brands like Pepsi hit their hurdles last year. If you’re a youth brand, how are you not speaking about what your people are talking about? Are you taking the effort to be one among the crowd to whom you cater?

Speaking from a personal perspective, and not as the professional, I’m tired of brands who don’t have a personality. It’s like trying to find a date on Tinder… You keep swiping, but sooner or later, the conversation bores you. Why would it hook you, when you’re just another faceless social media post talking about empowerment or education or some other trending theme?

Social media lets you bring a brand to life! There are things happening every day, every minute that are within reach for you to talk about! Rocket launches, festivals, cloudbursts, the world is your Facebook Feed! If you can make conversation as yourself, why ever should your brand’s voice be clinical? And if nothing else, Read, Listen, Learn and Leverage in conversation, just to see the look on your client’s face when you can have an in-depth conversation with him about his own domain.

My typical day at work involves putting on multiple hats: I start off as a tech accelerator, move into a niche startup-world, think about consumer goods towards the end of the day, and perhaps round things off with a session as a fitness brand… And this is how all my colleagues work. Our days are divided among our multiple personalities; as we take on each brand, and imbibe all the information that comes with the domain. Because of the way my days at work run, I wasn’t going back to one profile, I was going back to at least 5. And while this was potentially tiring me out, at least I wasn’t stuck on a plane for hours, with irritating brats on vacation demanding endless glasses of hot water.


The author of this article, Aashna Iyer, is Head of Planning at Ourbit Digital. A reader, writer & slam poet, she can be found researching new methods of marketing mind control, often with a cup of coffee in hand and a cat by her side. She is also a qualified shooter, which also helps her to focus and hit the mark with her brand planning.

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