The past couple of years around this time our house has been egged. No, it's not some adolescent prank, and there is no messy clean up. Someone or some group of someones has come to our house in secret and hidden a dozen eggs in our yard for our boys to find. It's the cutest thing! We have never known when or if it would happen. We have just found a note taped to our door and plastic eggs in our yard. Some of the fun is the surprise; a little bit of the fun is the hunt, but most of the fun is the mystery. By mystery I mean: there is no name, no logo, no call sign. There's no one to thank, no one to credit. Somehow this empty spotlight (not unlike the empty tomb) makes it all the more meaningful.
The idea of a company having a personality may be strange, but I think it's valid. A company is going to make an impression on people, through their contact with those people (directly or indirectly). Sometimes, there are preconceived notions people hold about a company thanks to word-of-mouth. While this is great advertising, it's also good to take time to personally tell people about your company. You've emphasized the importance of building a relationship with your potential clients and educating them, but I think you should also add a little personality into the equation.
Last year I was contacted by a potential client who does seasonal work. There was a problem, however. He contacted me during his on season. He really wanted a website, but he was too busy to put anything toward it. The season has passed, and now money is tight. So, he wants to wait until he's got some more padding in the bank account. I tried to encourage him to invest in advertising during his off season rather than sitting dormant for half the year. I guess the word advertising turned him off because the response was that, "Word of mouth works just fine." Is there folly in this logic? I think so.