The Brand Personality Guide For Business And Individuals
When you think of a brand, what information pops up into your brain? Images, for sure, and maybe a catchy slogan or a jingle— but it’s also likely you had a specific emotional reaction. This isn’t an accident; brands invest significant time, energy and resources into creating this reaction. And their success is all thanks to brand personality.
Brand personality is a set of human characteristics attributed to your brand whose goal is to elicit specific emotional reactions from customers. There are five primary types of brand personalities: excitement, sincerity, ruggedness, sophistication, and competency.
Keep reading to learn more about the different dimensions of brand personalities, elements that impact and tie into brand personality, and how to create a brand personality for you or your business.
Table of Contents
Dimensions of Brand Personality for Businesses and Individuals
There are five different dimensions (i.e., types) of brand personalities, discussed below. First coined and analysed by Jennifer Aaker in 1997, these dimensions have continued to provide the foundation for a brand’s public perception.
An individual or company’s brand should connect with their primary customer base and elicit a specific emotional reaction. Generally, most brand personalities aim to create positive connotations.
Individuals and companies use primary and secondary (and even tertiary) traits to curate their desired brand personality. An effective personality can drive success and help brands stand out in and even dominate their markets.
To accomplish this, they may present themselves as:
- Exciting – These brand personalities focus on youthful traits, such as being carefree and spirited. As a toy brand, LEGO has a vested interest in connecting with children, who they call the “builders of tomorrow.”
- Sincere – These brand personalities centre around honest, ‘family’ values, such as kindness and thoughtfulness. Hettie describes itself as combining “beautiful design with family conscious values and ethical responsibilities.”
- Rugged – These brand personalities project athletic traits, such as being outdoorsy and rugged. Breitling’s latest watch, the Endurance Pro, is a perfect example of this since it’s marketed as the “ultimate athleisure watch.”
- Sophisticated – These brand personalities revolve around luxury, elegance, and prestige. For example, Aston Martin brands itself as the “iconic luxury British sports car” (and it has a price tag to match).
- Competent – These brand personalities present themselves as knowledgeable, like leaders and influencers. BenevolentAI calls itself a “global leader” in AI and drug development and discovery.
Keep in mind; these are just broad categories. Each brand can more specifically curate their personality to combine elements of different categories or hone in one or two aspects of a single personality.
For example, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ brand is immersed in ‘magic’ and creativity. But it’s also known as the industry leader in terms of animation technology and filmmaking.
Conversely, Dove focuses on sincere and “authentic” beauty that’s “not defined by shape, size, or colour.” However, it also presents itself as inclusive and progressive, which some customers view as a change from traditional ‘family’ values.
Before you decide which brand personality you want to create, think about your goals first: how do you want people to view your brand? How do you want them to feel about your brand? Begin crafting your personality based on these answers. Brand personality should be a primary consideration for businesses and individuals.
It’s much easier to begin building a brand personality when your brand is new, rather than waiting and forming a personality in response to public opinion.
Elements of Brand Personality
Individuals and businesses can’t just decide what their brand personality it— they have to craft it actively. Doing this should be purposeful; keep your goals in mind and think about what type of customers you want your brand to resonate with and attract.
There are several elements that tie into brand personality, including:
- Marketing – How you identify, meet, and predict your customer’s needs
- Branding – How you define, shape, and present your brand
- Advertising – How you promote and sell your brand’s services, products, etc.
Just like brand personality, each of these elements is used to create connections to customers. Despite their differing purposes, all are integral to building, maintaining, and growing a customer base.
Because of their interconnection, they will impact your brand’s personality. As such, they should all be part of a coordinated, collective brand strategy. As you begin creating a strategy, remember to do your research. This is especially important when you wade into copyrighting elements of your brand.
Creating Your Brand Personality
Though brand personality may be a fairly straightforward concept, actually creating it can be tricky.
To help make the process easier, consider these steps:
- Set your goals and include quantifiable markers of success
- Identify and learn about your desired customers
- Analyse your target industry, your competitors, and their brand personalities
- Strategically choose your primary and secondary brand personality traits
Some of these we’ve discussed before, like setting goals and connecting with customers, while others are new concepts, like considering your competitors.
There will always be other individuals and businesses fighting for your customer base. Likewise, you’ll likely be fighting to attract customers from other companies.
Ask yourself some key questions when considering your brand personality:
- What niche, industry, etc., do you fit into?
- How can you stand out within this niche, industry, etc.?
- What can you offer that competitors don’t?
For example, analyse pet product companies in your market if you want to open a pet store. If there’s already sophisticated boutiques and sincere non-profits, you could emerge as a rugged speciality brand.
Secondary Traits of Brand Personalities
When deciding on your brand personality, it’s also wise to identify a secondary trait.
Some companies do this voluntarily and to make themselves stand out, such as Disney and Dove. In competitive markets, this is especially useful. But for other brands, this is a requirement. This is the case for industries where one trait is required even to compete.
The medical and financial fields are two great examples of this. Every hospital and bank is required to be competent to open. Because of this, their secondary brand personality traits are what drive the emotional connection to customers.
The Brand Personality Cycle
Creating a brand personality isn’t a one-time event. Instead, it’s just one step in a continuous cycle:
- Create – Create a personality that will support your goals and distinguish your brand
- Maintain – Maintain your brand personality to strengthen and broaden your customer ties
- Evolve – Evolve your brand personality to adapt to changing times and remain relevant
You’ll need to change in order to remain relevant in your industry and survive over time, known as brand repositioning.
While your core values or personality traits don’t have to change, you’ll inevitably have to make calculated adjustments to stay current and competitive. When your growth has stalled, profits are consistently dropping, or your customers leave for other competitors, it’s time for you to evolve your brand and personality.
Consider brands like McDonald’s and Apple, which have expanded and changed over the years to connect with younger and broader audiences. Who they are and what they sell hasn’t changed, but their brand personalities have evolved over the years, which is exactly why they remain industry giants across the globe.
Brand Personality: Trust the Process
If you’re worried about creating your brand personality, take comfort in this cycle. Though it may seem daunting, it presents fresh opportunities for you to work towards personality perfection.
With some strategic planning and smart choices, who knows? Your brand could be the next big name listed in articles like these.
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