How an alter ego can help your business

If you are a nervous or private person, sometimes it’s easier to hide behind an alternative personality. Alternatively some extrovert people like to exercise their prowess in acting or demonstrating by creating an alter ego to drive home their message in a more entertaining way.

Whatever the reason for this, having an alter ego can have its advantages. Some companies like to have a mascot such as a cute dog or similar animal, and some even perform their social media behind this personality as part of the attraction factor. If you do this, be careful not to undermine your reputation, but depending on which customer you are aiming at, having such a symbol certainly would draw attention, especially if humour is cleverly used.

Act on your behalf

Having a personality to ‘act’ for you could allow you to explore certain areas and scenarios otherwise unavailable to you. The concept of being human or suitably approachable is a strong state to cultivate, and if your readers can relate to this character within their own lives or situations, a strong bond is created that could be beneficial to all concerned.

Fairy Blog Mother as my alter egoI used to hide behind my little purple fairy, writing my posts in the third person, until someone asked me if I was afraid to own up to my knowledge and expertise. I had a good think about this, and realised I ought to ask for credit for the information I delivered, so now Fairy Blog Mother is merely a brand icon that aids recognition in the products I deliver, whereas now I own up to everything that I do.

Who is Grandma Mary?

Andrea VahlI had the honour of meeting a famous personality last month in London. Andrea Vahl was in the UK to deliver a series of presentations about Facebook, so I took the advantage of an invitation to meet her. Andrea is an ordinary American mom who just happens to be a Facebook guru, and she has this amazing alter ego called Grandma Mary from which she uses to explain various aspects of social media in language we can understand.

Grandma Mary, the alter ego of Andrea VahlGrandma Mary is a cranky old lady who loves to train people about Facebook. Her mantra is “If Grandma can do it, so can you”, and clad in a blue wig and horn-rimmed glasses, she rushes out accosting people in her pursuit to educate anyone about social media. The transformation from Andrea to Grandma is amazing, swift and complete, and donning the appropriate props results in a totally new personality that people feel comfortable with, can certainly relate to and are willing to maintain a relationship with her.

Grandma also takes on the nurturing role, someone who cares about her fans and wants them to succeed. She may be slightly ridiculous, but this takes away the unfamiliar edge that social media can create, and behind this crazy personality lies the warmth of an older person that provides a combination of authority and knowledge that encourages a better response. Andrea has hit the nail well on the head with Grandma, who as her alter ego has certainly has contributed towards her success.

So how about you?

I don’t expect you to find or produce a thoroughly victorious alter ego from the word go, but certainly take the opportunity to think about creating a personality that could deliver your message in another format that would resonate better with your readers or potential customers. Sometimes measured silliness can release the tension just enough to encourage a better response to know, like and trust, guiding the way to a better relationship in the future.

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Alice Elliott writes the award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She provides simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Visit her new Beginner Bloggers blog to find her latest learning resources.
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  • I can see why some companies would use an alter ego, Alice, as a clever or creative one may help them to stand out. However, where ‘solopreneurs’ are concerned, authenticity seems to be so highly rated in the UK that I am not sure alter egos are the way to go… at least not in this country?

    • I suppose the best way to use an alter ego effectively is to work alongside it and use it has an extension of your brand or marketing methods. Certainly hiding behind it is not the answer, but if it is able to explain a concept in another way to a different audience, or even become an attraction to gain a larger following, then that could be considered as benefit to a growing company?

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