June 15, 2022
By: Gareth Mankoo
A brand thrives because of the perceptions it triggers among consumers, which is why a strong brand personality becomes an essential cog in your branding journey.
Just like people, a brand’s personality can take different shapes depending on what emotion or action you would like to invoke from your target audience.
Building a brand’s personality is not a quick task. It involves an arduous journey that is full of learning, adventure, occasional mistakes, and great imagination. Imagine your consumer to be someone who is meeting your brand as a person for the first time and is unsure about what it is all about.
What are the first things you think they will notice? The packaging of your products? Your business name? Nope! It’s a little deeper than that.
Here are some of the key drivers to creating a brand personality that is never forgotten.
Authenticity is critical if you are to survive as a brand. A brand’s believability is strongly derived from how true it is to itself. This is manifested by its processes, the way it projects its solutions, and its ambitions. A brand that speaks about sustainability should never resort to plastic ballpoint pens, for instance.
Steve Jobs is a wonderful example of this.
Steve Jobs celebrated being distinct and creating things that do not conform to the mundane. This authenticity is reflected in the way Apple operates even today. It is one of the reasons why the brand is so effective in adopting new technologies.
The most famous personalities are the ones you remember. You know that a confident man wears Old Spice because that’s what the brand has projected to you, as a consumer, for years.
Forgettable personalities are the ones that aren’t made to succeed.
How good are you at what you do? Do you know the arena where you compete? Through your brand’s communications, you can strengthen your position as a thought-leader and subject matter expert in what you do. This automatically raises your brand’s personality in the eyes of the consumer.
Elon Musk has been part of the entire journey of the SpaceX and Tesla brand, and this makes him a CEO who understands his domain well. His customers trust in his adeptness, and eventually, that of his company.
Never be satisfied. If everyone believes that your brand is the coolest maker of wax crayons in town, it will only take a single advertisement by your competitor to topple you from that position. Keep your ears to the ground and improvise in real time to stay ahead of the competition and project the brand personality you desire.
There is no finite number of brand personalities that brands embrace to entice their consumers. But here are some of the most unmissable personality traits of brands that we love.
Here’s the surprising answer: There are as many brand personalities as there are adjectives in the English language. If your brand claims to be bold, you could be like Dior. If you want to be female-friendly, then you could be like Bumble. Or if you want to be witty, then Wendy’s would be your benchmark.
So, how many kinds of brand personalities are out there? Open a list of adjectives and imagine a combination of qualities that best apply to you and come up with a distinct personality. It’s best not to be like the other guy, but rather adopt your unique personality and style.
As mentioned earlier, it’s a time-consuming process to build a personality. It consumes time, resources, money, and a fair share of belief in what you do. However, here are some bucket-list items you need to do to ensure you have a solid brand personality.
If someone walks up to you and asks you what kind of a brand you are, do you have an answer ready? Knowing what kind of brand you want to be is essential to defining your brand personality. For inspiration, look back at the time when you started.
Take the Disney brand as a prime example.
The flying flags, the rising turrets, and the illusion of fantasy define Disneyland’s personality as being the happiest place. Today, the park has branched out to different geographies, but this celebration of happiness remains a constant, making it one of the most recognizable theme parks.
Not every market embraces your ideas. If you are to sell sausages in a town with a growing vegan population, you may want to think hard about what you must say before putting pen to paper.
How’s your competition coming across? Are their personality traits working for them? What if they adopted a different approach? Can you adopt this approach before they do?
These questions are vital to address before you give your brand a personality of its own so that it shines forth ahead of your competition.
Here’s the fun part, but also the critical part. Define your business using an extensive list of adjectives. Keep striking the less relevant ones till you arrive at a list of your top three attributes.
If you finalize just a single adjective, it’s even better because that way you know that you’re well aware of your brand.
Is it worth projecting a certain brand personality? Time will tell, as will the intelligence you glean from your customer interactions. Weigh the pros and cons of your choice regularly. Changing the personality of your brand in the middle is not easy.
Gillette had to work incredibly hard as they journeyed from ‘the best a man can get’ to ‘the best a man can be’. Mind you, it wasn’t just the change of a word.
This transition allowed Gillette to focus on an essential aspect of their brand values: battling toxic masculinity. And just like that, their brand personality changed into being determined and open-minded.
Who better to judge your brand’s personality than the people you created it for? Carry out regular surveys. Speak with your customers to learn what they look for in a brand like yours and why they prefer the competition (if they do).
Mood boards are a great way to visually inspire an emotional or behavioral response. You can try mood boards and ask audiences to pick one that makes them feel a certain way. Then map your brand personality definition to this.
Extensive marketing teams, scores of research associates, and an army of consultants will not be able to deliver on a brand personality definition for you unless you have already figured out what kind of brand you want to be.
Read on for six gleaming examples of brand personalities we cannot easily forget.
Apple’s personality has inspired a generation of creators who have realized that creativity needn’t be a knotted bundle of yarn or a canvas that over-explains its contents. Sophistication and class can be creative too.
The iPhone 7 launch ad was the pinnacle of the brand’s creative approach to sophistication. Check it out:
Tesla is among the more courageous brands out there, set to carve a niche for all to follow. This is why they lead through innovation. Not unlike Apple, Tesla also presents itself as a sophisticated, minimal brand that means business.
LinkedIn is a professional platform, which also presents the opportunity for its customers to brush their shoulders with the best in their field. Therefore, LinkedIn has taken a friendly and approachable stance to make consumers feel more welcome.
Nike is all about motion. While the brand tends to communicate success in its many forms, it also sheds light on the aspect of struggling to achieve excellence. It drives energy and belief through every advertisement and brand collateral.
All genders ride Harley-Davidson bikes, but the brand is so quintessentially masculine that its consumers view the personality as a character more than a gender trait.
Rolex could satisfy itself by just playing at the luxury end of the court, but it has beautifully blended into something as rugged as sports with its sophisticated allure.
These examples make it clear that your brand could adopt any personality, so long as it stays true to it for a long time to come. Your brand’s personality could be more attractive than its logo, name, value-add, and so much more!