Customers feel connected to brands they can relate to. A relatable brand isn’t perfect, it’s human. It makes mistakes, grows with age and has a personality of its own. Your brand’s personality shapes your brand message and builds relationships with your customers.
A brand personality is a consistent set of human traits assigned to your brand name. Brand personality is as much emotional as it is visual. Physical attributes, like your company colors, logo and taglines are obvious contributors to your brand personality. But below the surface, are key characteristics that make your brand what it is. Never underestimate the impact emotion has over your customers’ decisions. The survival of your brand is dependent on that human connection you make with your customers.
Why is Brand Personality So Important?
Building a brand personality is important because it helps you create consistent brand messaging. According to Forbes, consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23 percent. In the age of social media, brand messaging has never been more important than right now. You may have an idea of what you want your brand personality to be, but ultimately, your brand is what it’s perceived to be. Your customers are the ultimate judge of character. If your brand personality isn’t consistent with who you are, they won’t buy into it.
A brand personality is also a great way to build brand equity. If you build your brand up through consistent messaging, you can gain brand loyalty. Your customers will value your brands business over others because they can identify with you.
What’s My Company’s Brand Personality?
Your brand personality should match your customers’ personality. Consider your current customers and the customers you want to attract. What traits do they possess? In her article published in The Journal of Marketing Research, marketing expert Jennifer Aaker identifies five dimensions of brand personality. Although published in 1997, Aaker’s dimensions are still taught and used by brands today. The five dimensions of brand personality are excitement, sincerity, ruggedness, competence and sophistication.
Excitement conveys a carefree, youthful and spirited attitude. A wide variety of different brands fall within this personality dimension. There is Disney, GoPro and Airbnb. All of these brands are different, but they seek to create an experience that is fun and engaging. They are the definition of exciting, carefree and spirited.
A brand with a sincere personality is transparent, thoughtful and often times family oriented. Sincere brands are ethical, responsible and they take customer expectations seriously. Sincere brands are really successful at building customer trust. Examples of brands with sincere personalities are Toms, Coca-Cola and Hallmark. These companies are big on social responsibility by giving back and spreading joy.
Rugged brand traits include adventurous, tough and athletic. Brands that come to mind are Yeti, Jeep and Patagonia. These brands embody the outdoor lifestyle of their customers. They understand that their customers are unafraid, tough and willing to get dirty.
A competent brand is innovative, clever and efficient. Brands that fall within this personality dimension want to assert themselves as the leading experts of their field. Apple and Uber are examples of competent brands that thrive off of new, innovative ideas and clean, easy-to-navigate design.
A sophisticated brand is refined, lavish and typically pricey. Sophistication attracts a very specific group of people. These brands are not for the majority. They cater to the 1% willing to spend money on the finer things in life to project status. Examples of brands that attract sophisticated customers are Rolls Royce, Versace and Rolex. The personality of a sophisticated brand is often flashy and sometimes arrogant. But so are their customers.
How Do I Create My Brand Personality?
Many brands focus on a single category and develop their brand personality from there. But don’t put yourself in a box. Brand personalities are multidimensional and active. Most of these personality traits fit within many categories not just one. For example, many would agree that Patagonia falls within the ruggedness personality dimension because they are adventurous, outdoorsy and athletic. But the brand is also very environmentally conscious. Their sincerity shines through their environmental and social initiatives.
Brands like Patagonia are successful at creating a brand personality because they maintain their personality through their actions. They show that they are rugged by creating quality outdoor gear and apparel. And they show that they are sincere by fighting to protect public lands and by reducing the environmental and social impacts of their products. If your going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.
Before assigning yourself to any one category, write down a list of personality traits you feel represent your brand and target customer. Create groupings of traits that go together and pick the best ones from there.
Aaker suggests rating personality traits on a scale from one to five. One being the least descriptive of your brand and five being the most descriptive of your brand. This can help you eliminate personality traits that don’t represent who you are. It will also help you determine which of your personality traits are the most important to you.
Developing a cohesive brand personality can take years of hard work and tweaking to get just right. Changing your brand personality is okay, but tread lightly. It should be a balance of sticking to core values and adopting new ones as your market changes. Don’t jump on new trends without thinking about the bigger picture. Always think about the consequences and remember that trends are trends because they aren’t long lasting.
How Do I Manage My Brand Personality?
Your brand personality needs to be nurtured, understood and managed. Meet regularly with your team to keep your brand personality in check. Also, closely monitor the conversations your customers are having about your brand. They will let you know if your personality is understood.
Creating a brand personality builds connection. A Forbes article written by Chich CEO Stephanie Burns claims that “when treating your brand like it’s a person, it’s easy to pull out the small nuances that will create quick connection. You will begin to identify what attracts people to your brand and then build upon what makes them fall in love with you.” Every detail about your brand tells a story. In the very early stages of your business, your brand personality can help you construct key aspects or your brand, like your vision, your mission and your core values.
How did you develop your brand personality? Did you follow any of the steps mentioned above? Leave a comment below!