The fifth step in Active Marketing’s branding process is to define your brand personality. This will allow your audience to relate and react to your brand in a consistent, measureable way. Defining the brand personality is integral to the branding process, and other facets of the brand will be guided by the personality as well, such as the writing style and voice.
What is Brand Personality?
Brand personality is the personification of a brand, or the application of human characteristics to a business. The more relatable the personality, the more consumers will listen to it, trust it and, ultimately, use it.
Think about it, if a teenage girl is looking to buy nail polish, would she be more likely to use the product with an adult, masculine personality or the one with a young, feminine personality? The latter, right?
Your brand personality will also be used to make all of your future creative decisions regarding the look and feel of your marketing materials, including your logo, website and advertisements.
Types of Brand Personalities
Though there is an infinite number of personalities to choose from, it is important to choose a one that perfectly ties into your company’s history, vision, mission and audience.
There are five main personality types that brands typically use, each one divided into a set of facets:
- Daring: trendy, exciting
- Spiritedness: cool, young
- Imagination: unique
- Contemporary: up-to-date, independent
- Down-to-Earth: family-oriented, small town
- Honest: sincere, real
- Wholesomeness: original
- Cheerfulness: friendly, sentimental
- Genuine: kind, family-oriented, thoughtful
- Masculinity: outdoorsy, western
- Toughness: rugged
- Reliability: hard-working, secure
- Intelligence: technical, corporate
- Success: leader, confident
- Class: good-looking, glamorous
- Charm: feminine, smooth
Finding Your Brand Personality
What seems like a simple, straight forward task is actually one of the more difficult and time-consuming aspects of building a brand. That’s because a lot weighs on this one step – the rest of the campaign will start falling into place once the personality and tone are defined, so if you choose the wrong personality to focus on, your entire brand will be off, resulting in a less-than-satisfying result.
We start our process by identifying ten to fifteen personality traits for your brand from the list above and add to them a bit of flair from our own creativity and intuition. We strive for the unusual, eccentric traits, such as “Compulsive” and shy away from the cliché. Consumers see right through the cliché and mark it up as an outdated, unrelatable brand.
After we have a good list, we narrow it down to three to seven traits that best describe your brand and write up a short, pointed personality statement that will be used throughout the rest of the campaign. In order to create consistency and eliminate confusion, though, it’s important that the brand has the same clearly defined personality traits across all media, channels, and messaging.
There are some great examples of brand personalities that exemplify the difference between the ways a brand is presented. Brand personality can help to differentiate the brand, especially when brands are similar in functional attributes.
Marlboro is masculine, where Virginia Slims are feminine.
Apple is young and hip where Microsoft is older and reliable.
BMW is sophisticated and high performance, where Volvo is safe and family-focused.