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Mickey Mouse, The Personality Brand

In a recent New York Times article by Brooks Barnes, it reported that the Walt Disney Co. was going to take a risky step of recasting Mickey’s image for the future, adding, “Disney has quietly embarked on an even larger project to rethink the character’s personality from the way he walks and talks to the way he appears and how kids interact with him online.”

This acknowledgement by Disney of the importance of “thinking”, about how a personality brand is perceived on many levels by your audience, is a lesson we all need to keep in mind. Clearly Disney is concerned about brand reception and its effect on a brand with $5 billion in annual merchandise sales. Your company’s brand might not have billions at stake but what you do have is just as important to you.

Brand reception by your audience, no matter how big or small, must always be a concern and mixed messages can be as large a problem as bad messages. This is one reason that we encourage clients who have businesses driven on personality brands to be consistent not only with the verbal messages they are conveying to their audience but the more subtle messages as well. Brand reception is particularly important in the age of Facebook and other social media sites where some brand personalities might relax too much. Yes, it is important to let your personality come out and let your client/customer base know who you are so you can create a stronger bond. This is one of the strengths of building your business based on personality branding. However, you must at the same time be cautious to realize that you are being watched by your clients and the messages you are sending must remain true to the brand you are building or someday you may have to, “rethink” the direction your brand has taken.