Someone I recently met said to me, “You’re just like you are on your blog.” I took that as a great compliment, as I try to project a friendly and approachable image as I write. And that, I think, is part of what attracts people to reading my blog, my book, and ultimately hiring me as a consultant.

When I first started writing the blog, I tried to be all business, keeping my personality under wraps. After all, I wasn’t just representing myself on the blog, I was representing my company. But after a while of striving for stodgy, impersonal writing, I realized that as a consultant, my personality IS the company’s personality. And by letting my own authentic voice come through, potential clients are able to get a sense of who I am and what it would be like to work with me.

Of course, if I tried to be someone who I’m not — say, a hip trendsetter — I would quickly be exposed when my words and actions don’t quite match what I say I am. Many companies have found that they can’t just talk the talk, but also have to walk the walk in matching their branding efforts. The old writing maxim of “show, don’t tell” captures how a company’s personality should come through to its potential customers. It’s the difference between reading someone’s computer dating profile that says he is “spontaneous, romantic and athletic” and having the guy surprise you on your first date by taking you to the beach at sunset to run through the surf together.

A personality is not something you can just decide on (“Let’s see, I’ll have a wry sense of humor, a dose of humility, perfectionism that doesn’t quit, a congenial ability to bring people together, and a broad sense of optimism.”) As an introvert, I know that I can emulate an extrovert for a while but my true proclivities come back out as soon as my guard is down. Similarly, any company that does not have the desired qualities as an organic part of the organization can pretend for a while, but its true personality will eventually emerge in its interactions with customers.

Why is personality an important aspect of marketing? People prefer to deal with individuals and companies they like and trust. When they have a good sense of who you are, they can better figure out whether they like and trust you. A personality does not have to be unfailingly positive, and in fact, showing some personal quirks or how you respond when things go wrong can contribute to the sense of authenticity. Perfection can be boring.

A company’s personality, like an individual’s personality, comes down to how others feel when they’re with you. Do they enjoy spending time with you? Do you make them feel good about themselves? Do they notice that you’re even there? Or are you barely tolerable? Find tangible ways to make the positive aspects of your personality shine through, and just like the rest of us mere mortals, work on the parts of your personality that need improvement. Ultimately, the outward image your company projects will reflect the inward qualities it possesses.