15 Ways to Come Up with a Brand Personality
A distinct brand personality will set you apart in the market and entice consumers to choose your company over competitors. Without a unique brand personality, your company will have a hard time standing amongst thousands of similar businesses, and consumers won’t have a reason to choose you over a more renowned option.
Coming up with a brand personality can be quite a detailed process, but we’ll make it easy for you. If you’re reading to bring a little life and character into your brand, here are fifteen ways to do it.
Table of Contents
Know Who You Are
The essential element of coming up with a unique brand personality is that you, as a company, need to know who you are before you even start this process.
By that, we mean that you should have a detailed description of the following:
- What is your company trying to sell/provide
- Your long-term target goal (e.g. 4,000 new consumers in year one or 15% revenue increase, etc.)
- Your short-term goals to help you achieve your long-term target goal
- Company budget
- Company values
- Available marketing resources
- What niche within your market are you trying to fill
You don’t necessarily have to have every element of your business finalised in concrete since you’re still trying to create a personality, but you do need to have the more nuts and bolts aspects figured out.
If you don’t know what you’re selling/providing or what values are driving your company, the process of creating a brand personality will take much longer because you must determine who you are first.
Not only that but if you haven’t done the dirty work of outlining your company budget and finances, your brand might not survive long enough for all of your brand personality work to be worthwhile.
Ultimately, you’ll want to have done your homework before you enter this stage of brand creation.
Create a Mission Statement to help develop your brand personality
The brands with the most effective and unique brand personalities are those that truly understand themselves inside and out. And the way to do this is to have a clear vision of who you are and what you’re trying to do as a business.
The first step of outlining your business is essential to your overall success, but something that can take it one step further is a mission statement.
Mission statements are brief statements that concisely describe your company’s overall goal. This might be something like selling 100% organic food of the highest quality to consumers using local sources, for example.
These statements are typically a few sentences or one small paragraph at most. By creating a mission statement, you can clearly detail what your company truly values and strives to achieve daily with its services and products.
Consumers like to see that a company has a clear vision in their mind of what they stand for and how they try to reach their goals with them in mind. It means the company isn’t just there for profit, but rather, there’s a more important overarching purpose to its presence.
Having a mission statement to refer to might also help your company with some other factors in creating a brand personality. If you are ever in doubt about the direction you want to go towards, you can refer to the mission statement and determine if what you’re considering aligns with what you’ve written.
Use the Competition to Your Advantage
There is always competition in the market, no matter what service or product you’re providing. A smart company will consider their competition when they’re first creating its brand in order to determine what niches in the market need to be filled and how they can be different enough from competitors so consumers will choose them instead, or even better, switch over to their company from another.
We might not want to be best friends with the competition, but we can certainly use them to our advantage in creating a brand personality. The best way to do this is to choose the top competitors within your market that you will be vying for business over.
Try to do this within reason. If you’re creating a coffee shop, you certainly want to keep big brands like Starbucks on your radar, but it’s likelier you’ll be competing with other small business shops on the block.
Now that you know who you’re directly competing against, look at samples of their own brand personality, such as:
- Colour palette
- Use of language
- Store and product aesthetic
- Brand-defining symbols or mottos
Most of these are qualities we’ll discuss in further detail, but it’s important to look at your competitors first.
You want to be as unique as possible with your brand personality, and so studying the competition will better help you determine what works for them, what doesn’t, and overall, what to avoid when creating your brand personality.
This will help ensure your company stands out and doesn’t just look like a copycat for a brand that’s already well-established with a loyal following.
Use Your Team Members
A quick tip we have before we get into the meat of this topic is that we strongly recommend you use your team members when creating a brand personality if you have them.
If you’re working solo, try to get the opinions of friends and family involved in the process so you have multiple perspectives at play.
Using your team members can help you quickly determine which personality traits, adjectives, styles, or other determining factors appear most in their responses. You could easily provide them with questionnaires that ask general questions regarding the brand’s personality and choose the majority’s answers.
You’ll want to keep these questionnaires fairly simple and highly focused, so your brand personality isn’t a jumble of opinions and styles that don’t overlap.
By seeking the opinions of your team members, you’re not only getting early feedback regarding the brand’s personality, but you’re getting it from people that truly know the company inside and out and might even be consumers themselves.
Therefore, they can see the situation from both sides, which is invaluable.
Outline Your Target Audience
Many of the methods for choosing brand personality can be done in any order that feels natural to you, but this step definitely needs to come before all of that.
Arguably, defining a target audience should be done before you even start creating a brand personality back when you’re determining who you are, but if you haven’t done it yet, you need to do it now.
Having a unique brand personality can be extraordinarily helpful to the overall success of your company, but at the end of the day, everything you do needs to be done with your target audience in mind.
Of course, your values and goals are also an important factor, but when you choose a voice, brand symbol, or any other personality elements, they need to tie back to your main audience.
A great way to make sure you always have these people in mind is to write out exactly who they are as a group. This is the time to consider the larger picture and pinpoint defining factors such as:
- Shared experiences
Having all of these written somewhere in black and white for all of your team members to see will help you stay focused when deciding on the more creative features of brand personality.
Describe Your Ideal Consumer
So, you might be thinking, “Didn’t we just do this?” and the answer is not exactly. Yes, prior to this step, we detailed the ideal audience for your company’s product or services. However, now we’re going to get even more detailed and create the ideal consumer.
The ideal consumer is an individual within your broader target audience who is essentially the reason you’ve made your particular product or service.
Basically, if anyone were to walk into your store and purchase your product, it would undoubtedly be this person. They’d be the ideal age, gender, height, or whatever factors you value the most for your product’s success.
Many companies will struggle to keep their target audience in mind when they create their brand personality because it’s still such a large group to visualise when making a decision. Therefore, they often benefit from drawing or creating a clear image of just one person, giving them a name, and declaring them the company’s ideal consumer.
This picture-perfect consumer helps them stay focused, especially when the company starts expanding or creating more products and services. Whenever a decision is to be made, they can ask themselves, “Would Claire (ideal consumer) like this product/style/tone/etc....?”
As a result, they’re more likely to stay true to their brand personality once it’s created rather than deviating and attempting to incorporate more elements to please a broader spectrum of people within the overall target audience.
Determine How You’ll Reach This Audience
It’s not enough to know who your ideal audience and consumer are; you have to know how to find them. You might think that this is more relevant to business marketing success than your brand personality, but it plays a significant role here as well.
Knowing where you are selling and marketing your product can have a profound effect on your brand personality. For instance, if you’re selling products to teenagers and you know for a fact your target audience is easily found on Instagram, this will easily affect your brand’s voice, if nothing else.
If your company is going to be purchasing ads and posting images on Instagram daily to reach your target audience, you aren’t going to opt for a serious voice because it isn’t natural to the tone of the forum.
You’re far more likely to opt for a playful, friendly, or even sassy tone to entice this age group to invest in your product.
Of course, not all of your marketing will be done in this one sphere, so you don’t need to tailor every aspect of your brand personality to the environment your audience is found in, but it’s certainly important to consider for ultimate success.
Pick 5 Brand Defining Adjectives
Now we can have a little more fun with the creation of our brand personality. While considering and utilising all the previously mentioned steps, it’s time to give your brand personality a little clarity and character.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to pick five adjectives that perfectly describe your brand’s overall personality and aesthetic. You don’t really want to pick more than five, or your personality will become unfocused. However, if you pick fewer, you fall into the trap of being too vague or too specific, depending on the words chosen.
Five strong adjectives will assuredly help your company really get a sense of what their personality will be for years to come. These words can describe:
- Your company values
- Your product(s)/service(s)
- Your preferred voice or tone
- Traits of your ideal consumer
And these are just a few options. A great exercise for this is getting a piece of paper, or even a large whiteboard if you have a large team, and just start spitting out words you think define the brand. This is a great opportunity for the questionnaires we mentioned previously, where you could choose the five words people wrote the most.
After you have a nice set of words, you can start choosing the five that really resonate with you and your brand’s image.
Alternatively, you could start one word at a time if that’s easier and just ask yourself if you had to describe your brand in one word, what would it be?
For example, say your company sells safes. Your consumer will immediately question if their treasured belongings are going to be protected by your product. So, if your brand personality focuses on being trustworthy, then consumers are likely to feel comfortable investing in your product. So “trustworthy” would be adjective number one.
They also will want a product they think is strong, so it isn’t easily damaged or broken into, making “strong” another adjective. And so, the process continues.
Once you’ve chosen one, you can repeat the process until you have the five adjectives you believe best reflect and represent your brand’s personality.
Select A Brand “Voice”
You’ll notice that the steps to creating a distinct brand personality start to come together when you choose a “voice” that reflects your brand’s adjectives, values, and target audience.
We’ve touched on the importance of voice briefly in previous sections, but this is the time to really put some serious thought into the persona you’re going to be displaying to the world and, most importantly, your audience.
Your brand voice essential means the tone and manner you will use to address the public and embody the brand. Are you going to be snarky, sincere, or silly? There is an endless number of tones and personas you can choose from, so make sure the ones you pick align with all of the elements previously mentioned.
If you’re going for a hipster vibe with your company, you probably aren’t going to use stiff, professional language. Instead, you’ll just be more laid back and inclusive. Just like if your company strives to be the leading expert in a field, maybe legal representation, you probably wouldn’t adopt a tone that’s humorous, carefree, or filled with jargon.
A great way to start when determining your voice and tone is to pinpoint what kind of personality you want for your brand.
In Jennifer Aaker’s “Five Dimensions of Brand Personality,” she claims that the overall tone or personality of every brand can fall into the five dimensions listed below:
|Brand Personality Dimension||Words associated with dimension||Common companies that use this dimension|
|Sincerity||Believable, trustworthy, wholesome, genuine, honest, warm||Food brands|
|Competence||Reliable, efficient, successful, intelligent||Banks|
|Ruggedness||Powerful, thick-skinned, outdoorsy, tough, strong, muscular||Construction companies|
Outdoors and sporting brands
|Sophistication||Luxurious, charming, refined, cultured, classy, elegant, poised||Jewellery and clothing brands|
Any company that sells products at a significantly higher cost than the competition
|Excitement||Daring, cool, intriguing, current, imaginative, limitless,||Social media brands|
Most teen or kid-oriented brands
Covers a wide range of companies like “sophistication.”
Choosing one of these dimensions can significantly help your company determine which voice is best for their brand personality.
Once you have a dimension, you can decide how you’re going to address your audience within the structure you’ve given yourself to best connect to them and entice them to support your business.
Put a Picture to the Personality
Visuals are indescribably effective when it comes to marketing your company and establishing a unique brand personality.
If done correctly, your ideal consumer and target audience will be able to recognise your brand from one simple image, and that image will denote everything your brand stands for.
The easiest and most effective way to create a visual connection to your brand personality is through a brand logo.
Think of the most famous logos ever created. What comes to mind? Are you picturing a golden “M,” the swoosh, or maybe an apple with a missing bite?
Your goal is to make a brand logo that is just as unique and identifiable as these without losing the emotions and values of your brand. This is essential because it might be the first thing your consumers see even before your products one day.
However, keep in mind that this logo isn’t all-encompassing of your brand. It’s an image you’re associating with who you are to flesh out a brand personality. It’s the qualities of the company that the logo stands for that are important.
So, make sure you’ve done all the hard work of firmly establishing your brand values and identity before you get to this point.
Attach Your Personality to a Brand Tagline
Similar to a logo, a brand tagline can help your brand personality be more easily identifiable and memorable for consumers but shouldn’t be created until all of the previous elements have been set in stone.
You can think of your brand tagline as almost a shortened version of your mission statement or even the compilation of some of those adjectives you brainstormed earlier in the process. This is just something short, sweet, and concise that gets straight to the point about who you are, what you do, and what you value.
Taglines usually aren’t normally longer than two to three words, let alone a sentence. Some famous taglines like Nike’s “Just do it!” and L’Oréal’s “Because You’re Worth It” are effective because they not only reflect a brand value but also entice the consumers by targeting an emotion or call to action.
These are tactics you can incorporate into your tagline to support your brand personality and entice consumers to choose your products over a competitor’s.
Find out more about: Taglines and slogans
Give Your Brand a Spokesperson
Another thing you can do to go the extra mile is to give your brand personality an advocate through a spokesperson your audience will connect and relate to.
This is likely a step your company will take much further down the personality creation line, but it’s still important to keep in mind, nonetheless.
Try to think back on that ideal consumer and see if you can find a person, real or otherwise, that matches them. This could be an actor or athlete that truly embodies your brand’s values and personality to a T, it could be the person or animal depicted on your brand logo, or it could be an image you created entirely on your own.
A spokesperson not only gives your brand a recognisable face and voice but also gives your ideal audience someone to look up to and aspire to be. Or they could simply be someone they trust that gives them the confidence to invest in your brand because if said spokesman supports you, they can too.
Play the Consumer
Once you’re relatively confident in the brand personality you’ve created, try looking at it from a consumer’s perspective to see the experience through their eyes.
You could really do this throughout the creation process to ensure your brand personality is going in the desired direction, but you should definitely test this out before finalising the personality and using it in the real world of consumers.
Try to think of yourself as that ideal consumer you create way back when, or even better, find someone that fits this description perfectly and ask for their opinion on your brand personality.
Analyse the decisions you’ve made with your brand’s tone, values, logo, etc., and ask yourself some of these questions:
- Is the brand relatable to the target audience and ideal consumer?
- Does it feel like it’s really targeting who you think it’s targeting?
- Would you like the brand if it wasn’t yours?
- Do you like how you’re being spoken to in terms of voice and tone?
If you’ve decided you are happy with the brand personality you’ve created after all of this reflection, then congratulations, you did it.
Now all that’s left is getting comfortable with using this personality over and over and refining it so you know exactly how to use it in any situation necessary without deviating from brand values or other company essentials.
So, everything is established for your brand personality, and now you have this beacon of your company that you can use for your ideal consumers. It was no small feat to get to this point, so don’t let it all go now.
The worst mistake companies make after they’ve created their brand personality is to alter major elements multiple times in a short period.
We recognise that not everything will work perfectly with your brand personality immediately, but you don’t want to make significant, brand-defining changes too often too early.
If you do, you’ll quickly muddle your brand’s image, and confused consumers will assume your inconsistency means you don’t really know who you are as a brand. As a result, they’re more likely to invest in a brand that already has a clear, established identity.
Remember the things that matter most with your brand personality and stick to those until the very end. These are the building blocks that create the sturdy foundation of your brand, and without them, everything else will crumble.
Elements like tagline, logo and even your tone can change if necessary, but it’s your values that need to stand firm unless you’re planning to completely rebrand and start again. Consistency is key to creating a strong, established brand that audiences would recognise, support, and loyally follow.
Use Feedback and Don’t Be Afraid to Change
This might seem a bit contradictory since we just told you to be consistent a moment ago, but a little change here and there, in the beginning, is important as long as it’s fueled by constructive consumer feedback.
You don’t necessarily want to change major brand-defining elements, such as what you’re selling or what you value. But you can change smaller aspects of your personality, such as how you speak to your consumers, how your market towards them, and even your logo or tagline, as we said previously.
It’s important to listen to your consumers and what they have to say about your brand. If they feel something doesn’t feel genuine or could be more effective, that feedback is invaluable to you as a company.
It helps you better tailor your brand personality to effectively relate and connect to your target audience for ultimate success.
You certainly don’t want to be constantly changing elements of your brand personality within the first month or so after its release, but there’s nothing wrong with a little trial and error. These moments are vital to company growth and will help you learn how to best interact with your consumers and create a more polished and effective brand personality for the future.