Brand personality is the set of human characteristics that are associated with a brand. It is the way that a brand presents itself to the world and how it is perceived by consumers. A brand’s personality can be conveyed through its messaging, visual identity, and the overall customer experience that it provides.
Branding is about differentiation, developing a unique position in the market, increasing memorability and relevancy for your business and creating an emotional connection with and delightful experience for your target audience all of these areas can be influenced by and should utilise a well-defined brand personality.
The brands we tend to gravitate to the most and that delight and captivate us are the ones that make us feel something be it familiarity, excitement, rebellion, connection, intimacy, creativity or any other emotion that you can think of and these brands through their brand personality resonate with us on a deeper level than brands that fail to develop a unique personality.
In this article, we will go over how to define your brand’s personality, why it is important and give you some examples of brands that have built their business on a well-defined and magnetic brand personality.
Why is defining your brand personality important?
Differentiation – Brand personality is important because it helps to differentiate a brand from its competitors and can influence consumer behaviour. A brand with a strong and well-defined personality can create a more emotional connection with its target audience and establish a deeper level of trust and loyalty.
We see 100’s if not 1000’s of brands every day but very few grab our attention. The ones that do stand out have managed to do so through that sea of noise by being different in some way either visually, through their messaging, the way they are positioned or their marketing.
All of the brands that manage to resonate with us do so by tapping into something beyond the logical parts of the brain they instead appeal to the emotional centre of the brain and it is this area that drives buying habits.
The brands that effectively stand out the most have defined and crafted a deliberate personality specifically to resonate with their target audience one that is intrinsically part of their brand and that informs all external expressions of it.
Positioning – In any given market you have competitors that are vying for the same audience as you and the only way to build your business is if you can create a well-defined position in the market that is relevant to your target audience.
‘Positioning is not what you do to a product it is what you do to the mind of the prospect’ – Al Reis
A sure-fire way to cement your position with your target audience and enhance it from its strategic foundation is through a differentiated brand personality and by building out the character of your brand to be in alignment with the brand positioning you increase the engagement with your brand and help your audience to associate it with your positioning.
A good example is VOLVO who have positioned themselves around the idea of safety, and reliability. As vehicles that can withstand the inhospitable climate of Scandinavia, they have accentuated this by developing a brand personality that feels true to the country of origin by being calm, meticulous, enduring, strong, one with nature (similar to IKEA) and leaning into safety and reliability in their brand expression and communication.
They even spread the letters of their logo out wider than normal which gives a feeling of confidence, calm and safety.
Memorability – If you were to think of the people that have changed your life the most you will probably have extremely detailed memories of them that include sounds, images (and mental movies), emotions and sometimes even smells, tastes and feeling (touch) this is because the things we remember the most move us in some way and the higher the emotion the stronger the connection and memory.
Now brands can’t and won’t ever compete with your childhood friend or a family member but the principle is the same if you can make your audience feel something that like the VOLVO example above aligns with who you are and your positioning and you do this better and more uniquely than your competition then you stand the chance of gaining mind share with them and be the go-to brand for them in your category.
Expression – In order to connect with your audience and communicate your brand’s personality effectively you need to take control of your external brand which includes your visual identity, brand voice, messaging and language, audio and video, experience and the way your team shows up and interacts with your clients or customers.
All of these areas go into how you express your brand’s personality externally in direct communication with your audience, for example, watch the Nike campaign ‘Dream bigger’ below.
Did it make you want to do more, be more, get outside, go for a run and stop putting off the things you think are too hard?
Nike is channelling their personality to inspire, empower and motivate their audience to be better and constantly improve. This directly ties into their slogan ‘Just do it’ and their primary brand archetype of the hero.
How to define your brand personality
Here are the steps to defining an effective brand personality:
1) Determine your brand’s target audience
Defining your target audience is important when creating your brand personality because it helps you to tailor the personality to appeal to your desired customers. A brand personality is a set of characteristics representing a brand’s values and attributes. It is how the brand communicates with and appeals to its audience. By knowing who your target audience is, you can create a brand personality that resonates with them and helps to establish a strong emotional connection. This, in turn, can help to build brand loyalty and increase customer retention.
Without a well-defined target audience, you won’t be able to accurately develop your brand’s personality.
To do this start by asking yourself the following questions:
Who is your audience in terms of demographics and psychographics?
What is their situation when they first interact with your brand?
What are they looking for as it relates to the product or service you provide?
What problems and issues are they facing that your brand solves?
What is their aspirational identity, and who do they want to become personally that your brand can help them to be?
2) Identify your brand archetype mix
Brand archetypes are important when creating your brand personality because they help you to define and communicate the core values and characteristics of your brand in a way that is relatable and meaningful to your target audience. By choosing a specific set of brand archetypes, you can create a unique, clear and consistent brand personality that resonates with your audience and differentiates your brand from competitors.
Brand archetypes are also useful because they provide a framework for thinking about your brand’s personality and how it fits into the larger context of your industry and target market. They can help you to better understand the needs and motivations of your audience and to create a brand personality that resonates with them on a deeper level.
Understanding what your audience is looking for at the moment they first start to look for the product or service you provide can help you to determine your brand archetype mix. If your target audience are out of control, overwhelmed, stressed or generally disorderly then they will be looking for stability and control which relates to the Ruler, Creator and Caregiver archetypes and by aligning your brand to one of these you can then embody the character they are most in need of. If they are confused, on a quest for knowledge an understanding or seeking spirituality then they will be looking for freedom and independence which relates to the Innocent, Sage and Explorer archetypes.
These are just two of four quadrants and 6 of the 12 archetypes that make up the brand archetype wheel which is a powerful tool for developing your brand’s personality.
Your brand archetype mix is usually made up of 2-3 archetypes that create a unique personality for your brand. The way we characterise these during our brand strategy sessions at Elements Brand Management is the primary archetype is the one that they are seeking when they interact with your brand so the immediate desire they have, the secondary archetype aligns with the process you take them on / or that they go on themselves and the third is the aspirational identity they reach or the ultimate goal they attain through purchasing your product or service.
If you can develop your personality around a brand archetype mix you will build a magnetic brand personality that creates a strong bond with your target audience and you will speak to them on a much deeper level than your competition.
3) Identify your brand’s values
Brand values are important when creating your brand personality because they represent the guiding principles that define how your brand operates and interacts with the world. They are the fundamental beliefs that drive your brand’s decisions, actions, and behaviours, and they help to shape the way that your brand is perceived by others.
By defining and consistently communicating your brand values, you can create a clear and consistent brand personality that resonates with your target audience and differentiates your brand from competitors. Your brand values should be authentic and genuine, and they should align with the needs and values of your target audience.
Values are partially responsible for developing your internal culture and by building this so that it is in line with your brand’s external personality you create a Unified Brand whereby your team literally become the face of your brand and through culture and values embody your brand’s personality to your audience.
We have an article on how to define your brand values here that you can use to craft yours.
4) Define your brand’s voice
Your brand’s voice refers to the tone, language, and style that you use to communicate with your audience. It is an important aspect of your brand personality because it helps to define the way that your brand speaks and interacts with the world.
Your brand’s voice should be consistent across all of your communications, and it should be tailored to fit your brand’s unique personality and target audience. It should be authentic and genuine, and it should align with your brand’s values and the needs and values of your target audience.
The role of your brand’s voice is to establish a connection and build rapport with your audience. It helps to create a sense of trust and authenticity, and it can also help to differentiate your brand from competitors.
Your brand’s voice plays a significant role in your brand personality because it helps to define the way that your brand speaks and interacts with the world. It should be consistent, authentic, and tailored to fit your brand’s unique personality and target audience, and it should be used to establish a connection and build rapport with your audience.
5) Create a visual identity
Your brand’s visual identity refers to the visual elements that you use to represent your brand, including your logo, colour palette, typography, imagery, and overall design aesthetic. It is an important aspect of your brand personality because it helps to visually communicate who you are and what you stand for, and it can also help to differentiate your brand from competitors.
Your brand’s visual identity should be consistent across all of your communications and touchpoints, and it should align with your brand’s values, personality, and target audience. It should also be cohesive and well-designed, and it should effectively convey the key messages and emotions that you want to communicate to your audience.
The role of your brand’s visual identity is to create a strong, memorable, and consistent visual impression of your brand in the minds of your audience. It helps to establish recognition and recall, and it can also help to establish trust and credibility with your audience.
Your brand’s visual identity plays a significant role in your brand personality because it helps to visually communicate who you are and what you stand for, and it can also help to differentiate your brand from competitors. It should be consistent, cohesive, and well-designed, and it should effectively convey the key messages and emotions that you want to communicate to your audience.
6) Communicate consistently
Communicating consistently is important for the expression of your brand personality because it helps to establish recognition and recall for your brand, and it also helps to create a sense of trust and credibility with your audience.
When you communicate consistently, you are able to create a clear and consistent brand personality that resonates with your target audience and differentiates your brand from competitors. This can help to establish a strong and positive emotional connection with your audience, which can be a powerful driver of customer loyalty and advocacy.
In addition, communicating consistently helps to ensure that your brand is represented in a consistent and coherent way across all of your communications and touchpoints. This can help to create a seamless and cohesive brand experience for your audience, which can be an important factor in building brand awareness and loyalty.
Communicating consistently is important for the expression of your brand personality because it helps to establish recognition and recall for your brand, and it also helps to create a sense of trust and credibility with your audience. It helps to create a clear and consistent brand personality that resonates with your target audience and differentiates your brand from competitors, and it also helps to create a seamless and cohesive brand experience for your audience.
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Brand Personality Examples
Here are a few examples of brands that have effectively created a unique brand personality:
Nike: Nike’s brand personality is energetic, sporty, heroic and inspiring.
Apple: Apple’s brand personality is rebellious, modern, creative and innovative.
Harley-Davidson: Harley-Davidson’s brand personality is rebellious, rugged, provocative, and authentic.
Southwest Airlines: Southwest Airlines’ brand personality is fun, caring, friendly, down-to-earth and approachable.
Starbucks: Starbucks’ brand personality is exploratative, comforting, inclusive and welcoming.
Old Spice: Old Spice’s brand personality is bold, confident, and humorous.
Disney: Disney’s brand personality is magical, family-friendly, transformational and fun.
Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola’s brand personality is fun, refreshing, optimistic, happy and upbeat.
A well-defined and unique brand personality is important for any business, regardless of size or industry.
If you need any help to develop a magnetic brand personality, are not sure where to start with your brand development or are struggling to rebrand, schedule a brand discovery call to talk to one of our experts – https://calendly.com/elementsbrandmanagement/discovery-consultation-call