The ± Factors Preface Premise 1: Personify

Premise 1: Personify the company

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IDWhen I talk about ± factors in companies, I project emotions to what you normally perceive as inanimate objects.

The common view is that personifying or personalizing a company is a modern innovation that came about with mass-marketing and branding. Marketers all over the world have in recent years adviced their customers that the company needs to be a friend with the customer, becoming the person the customer can trust. But actually, the basis for the personified company came about much earlier.

From a legal point of view, you can say that it started in the UK in 1862 with the Companies Acts. It became a popular model copied throughout the world. With the introduction of Companies Acts you could create separate legal entities (just in the same way as you are a separate legal entity) making it possible for an organization to get a life of its own, working in its own interest and being responsible for its actions in such a manner that it in extreme cases also could be sued by its owners.

But from a communications point of view, the personifying of the inanimate object or the issue started much earlier. Very much earlier. Although critics during the late 1800s regarded companies as “soulless institutions” - which critics still do - the personifying of ideas, goals and offers have been around for thousands years or more. In the book “The Art of Rhetoric”, Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) pointed out that when convincing someone it is always easier to make people identify with a problem or a solution if you are creating an example (a paradigm or a parable) instead of making a deduction or an inductive reasoning (an enthymem). And how do you make them identify? You personify.

And when personifying, you project emotions - positive or negative.

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