Online seduction – brand personas in a digital space

The winner of Engine Creative’s Most Promising Student Award, Damian Gawel, takes a look at online personas for us whilst on his work placement. Thanks Damian!

What is your online image? Who are you on Facebook? How do you describe yourself on Twitter?

Recently I came across a site that checks your Twitter entries in order to describe what kind of social media type you are. Engine Creative came up as a perfect Matchmaker – they’re well connected and keep connecting.

We all want to be seen in a specific way and with the expansion of social media it is easier to create a persona online than in the real life.

An office colleague who constantly tweets about fabulous weekends. A quiet fellow student regularly posting his wild party pics. An intriguing blog author who chooses not to give away too much in order to keep the readers coming back for more.

Brands do the same. They seduce us differently online than they do in the real world. Coca-cola online is all about funky design and a passion for all things fresh: sport, independent angry bands, club music, fashion and games – you might just forget that their core product is a drink. This obviously works as on Facebook the brand attracts more than 4 millions fans. Whilst offline Coca-cola will project the same persona to the mass audience, online they send you highly personalised messages on Facebook and are able to control their communications more closely.

Another example is Dell. Their Twitter presence generated sales of $6.5 million. The computer giant offered discount codes, technical help and exclusive deals to its followers and built up not one but nine Twitter community sites, attracting 1.5 million subscribers.

On the other hand, Habitat has been guilty of a monumental social media misdemeanour. First they stayed an online virgin for far too long (customers could not buy products online until last month), then the furniture chain attracted bad press and scathing comments when they finally made their Twitter debut in June this year. That Habitat story has already become a case study of how not to use Twitter and a harsh lesson that all brand guardians should learn.

Have a look at your brand differently. Forget all you know about it and see how is it portrayed in the online world alone. How would you seduce your customer if the virtual world was all that exists?

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