In today’s crowded market, having a unique brand helps businesses stand out. This is where your unique brand personality can be essential in telling your brand story and how impactful your marketing strategy can be.
By having a distinct personality, your brand becomes more memorable and recognizable, making it easier for customers to choose your product or service over others. But how do you cultivate this brand personality?
What is brand personality?
Brand personality refers to a brand’s traits, characteristics and core values. There are many dimensions of brand personality — indeed, this is the soul of your brand.
The feeling people get when they think about it, the joy they receive in buying and representing your products or that emotional tie they have to the service you provide.
Think about Coca-Cola or Red Bull, Harley Davidson or Jeep, Microsoft or Apple, Disney or FOX, Nike or Adidas — while you may not have the precise words to describe it, each brand has a distinct personality.
This personality is the set of attributes, emotions and behaviors that a brand conveys to its customers, which help to create a unique identity and differentiate it from its competitors. It is for this reason that brand personality is so powerful.
Especially in today’s society, emotions are a powerful tool in the entrepreneurial field.
Brand personality is often described using personality traits. Maybe you want to emphasize the outdoorsy and down-to-earth soul and target somebody who appreciates ruggedness and toughness in a brand.
These traits can help to create a consistent and recognizable brand image that resonates with the brand’s target audience.
How does brand personality work?
This concept is not based on the idea and is backed by science that consumers perceive brands in much the same way they perceive others.
By assigning human characteristics and qualities to brands, consumers can relate to them personally and develop an emotional connection with them.
Science links this habit to the idea of anthropomorphism: the tendency for humans to attribute human-like characteristics to non-human objects. Sometimes this idea is even called “brand anthropomorphism.”
Research shows that this idea has a significant impact on consumer behavior. A brand identity perceived as trustworthy and dependable may appeal to consumers looking for reliability.
Why is brand personality important?
By creating a strong brand personality, companies can separate themselves from their competitors, build brand loyalty and drive sales and revenue. Emotion is one of the most powerful human decision-making factors, and companies can use this to their advantage.
Whether in an already successful business seeking to connect with its customers or a brand new entity trying to stand out, this process takes time, consistency and patience.
So don’t be disheartened at setbacks or times of feeling ineffective. This powerful tool pays off at the end of the day.
How to develop your brand personality
How exactly can you know how to connect with your customer individually? It’s hard to say or do the right thing for every person.
The most important thing to remember is that your product or service attracts all your customers. Let this motivate you to cultivate your brand and further draw your audience in.
1. Locate your values
Finding a solid mission statement or memorable tagline can help establish and set your company apart.
It helps create a common theme across brand messaging, creating a sense of reliability and routine for customers valuing that trait. This can be imagined as your brand archetype or skeleton.
Having a consistent theme also helps develop your brand’s visual identity. This theme can come through your logo, color scheme and typography.
This consistency in all aspects generally drives brand loyalty and maintains old customers while welcoming new ones. Consistency gives your brand personality framework more shape, providing a template in which you should style your brand.
Authenticity is also essential when developing a brand personality. Don’t try to be something you’re not or adopt a personality that doesn’t align with your values.
Consumers can spot inauthenticity from a mile away, damaging your brand’s reputation. People don’t want to be lied to, and having an authentic brand personality keeps falsehoods far from your brand.
2. Take inspiration from your audience
As briefly discussed, your audience should be and is attracted by your product or service. Let that inspire you to create content that connects with your target demographics on a deeper level. And don’t just stop there.
Be on the lookout for feedback, things your audience connected with and things that could use work. You’ll soon find that buyers often have the best advice.
3. Imagine your brand as a person
A person’s voice is a big part of who they are. Part of your brand personality should be your brand voice. Create a consistent tone of voice with which you address your audience.
This helps you identify how to continue promoting your brand experience and creating a sense of consistency for your audience.
Following up on consistency, you should ensure that your brand personality is consistent across all marketing channels. Your website, customer emails and social media should use the same brand colors, voice and personality to maximize your engagement and brand awareness.
Everybody loves a good story. Without stories, people wouldn’t be able to look back on history, whether directly or indirectly related to them.
It’s how people learn and grow. Giving your brand a unique story and telling that story through advertisements and products can create a strong bond between your customer and your business.
This also gives you brand personality traits, almost attributing a human-like aspect to it. Remember, science links emotional ties in business to anthropomorphism, human-like attributes. Be sure to hone in on this in your business.
4. Draft a brand style guide
A brand style guide is a document that outlines the guidelines for how a brand should be represented visually and verbally across all platforms and communications.
It is a reference tool that helps ensure consistency in the brand’s messaging, tone and visual identity, regardless of who creates the content.
This guide can help maintain a consistent and familiar personality across years or even decades of service. This is a common theme you almost always want to have: consistency. Develop a familiarity with your audience.
This consistency also creates a subconscious trust in your audience. Consider the gecko you see in GEICO, right? He’s got a nice accent. Any time you see him, you immediately think of GEICO, right? Notice the similarity in the animal’s name, “gecko,” and the company name.
And what else? “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” Even if it’s just because you remember that voice, you remember it because of its consistency and the familiarity you subconsciously develop with this little green gecko.
All of the familiarity of this can be traced back to one thing: consistency.
5. Conduct market research, tweak and repeat
Once you have your ideal brand personality, be ready to adapt and learn from all experiences and interactions. Your brand personality is not set in stone. As your business grows and changes, your brand personality should also evolve.
Always evaluate how your brand personality resonates with your audience and adjust and change wherever your personality is lacking. At the same time, be aware of the balance that is key here: branding consistency.
Research the best results from marketing campaigns. Tweak the way you speak through your brand a bit. And when all of this is done, repeat.
What are the 5 dimensions of brand personality?
Businesses often categorize brand personality types into five categories: sincere, excited, competent, sophisticated and rugged. It’s important to understand these to pick your favorite or the one that fits your brand best and how not to mix these personalities.
While mixing can be successful, staying within these lines is another way of maintaining consistency. Develop your brand strategy and guide around one of these personalities.
How to develop a sincere brand personality
Remember that your audience is human too. To be sincere, focus on being authentic and genuine in your messaging.
Use a warm, friendly tone and language that connects with your audience emotionally. Use real-life stories and examples to show that your brand truly cares about its customers and is committed to positively impacting their lives.
How to develop an excited brand personality
Once again, you and your audience are people. Find what gets them excited, either through research or based on your specific business purpose. Consider using high-energy language, bold visuals and dynamic messaging that captures the excitement and enthusiasm of your brand.
Use bright colors and playful typography to create a sense of fun and excitement. Highlight the benefits and features of your product or service in an engaging and lively way that appeals to your target audience.
How to develop a competent brand personality
To develop a competent brand personality, focus on communicating your expertise and professionalism. You can use concise language and avoid unnecessary jargon or buzzwords. Use a simplistic, modern design with a neutral color palette to convey a sense of stability and reliability.
Consider what a competent person might do, like using data and facts to back up your claims and demonstrate your competence in your industry. Remember, these are personalities shaped by people, after all.
How to develop a sophisticated brand personality?
While sophisticated and competent brands can easily mix, there are many ways to distinguish your sophisticated business from a simply competent one.
You can use a refined, elegant tone and a minimalist design aesthetic. High-quality visuals convey a sense of luxury and exclusivity. Use that feeling.
How to develop a rugged brand personality
Think of a western. Think of what sets somebody apart as a country person. Try using rugged tones and imagery that create a sense of toughness or durability.
Ram and other truck companies are great at this in their commercials’ tone and voice. Be sure to highlight the durability and ruggedness of your product or service and focus on the practical benefits it provides to your target audience.
What are some successful examples of brand personalities?
As mentioned above, Ford is an excellent example of a rugged personality. Almost anybody who has heard their commercials can easily recall that rugged voice telling them how tough their trucks are.
Think of Apple: the logo and the name are Apple. No fancy colors — just silver. Their products often look very similar and they specialize in technology that is prominent in today’s world. They have developed their personality by creating high-quality products and have maintained that personality throughout.
Airbnb is another excellent example of brand personality. Think welcoming, friendly and inclusive. That’s how you want to feel when stepping into a hotel room, rental or your own house.
This makes Airbnb’s messaging very effective. They emphasize the importance of travel and exploring new places, while their warm, inviting design aesthetic and friendly tone creates a sense of community and belonging.
What can brand personality mean for your business?
Brand personality increases overall brand recognition. It provides an avenue for customers to recognize their favorite brands easily. Any clear and distinctive personality always sticks out in memory. The same goes for a business.
As discussed, a personality can create emotional ties and even loyalty to a company. This leads to a strong base of old customers, allowing companies to reach out further to reach new customers, increasing revenue.
Developing a brand personality improves your brand reputation. This persona you give to your brand can help a business build a positive reputation and differentiate itself from competitors, increasing customer trust and credibility. That is the power of brand personality.
Check outEntrepreneur’s other articles for more information about branding and other financial topics.