A brand’s persona, conceptually, is really not that different from your own and nailing brand personality will really help your company stand out from the competition. Here’s how.
What Makes People Stand Out?
Instead of thinking about your brand’s personality as an inanimate “thing” – think about it as a person. Let’s face it, we’re drawn to people who have personalities that are strong, positive, persuasive and impactful.
When you think of big brands like Coke or Apple, Google or Nike, how do they make you feel? Do they inspire change? Positivity? Motivation? Boldness?
Usually – who can forget Coke’s iconic “Buy the world a coke” ditty about loving one another (something we could use a bit more of today, frankly).
Or Nike’s “Just Do It” – reminding people you don’t have to have Serena Williams or Sydney Crosby level talents to drag yourself off the couch and throw your heart and soul into something.
Even body-positivity brands such as Dove – reminding us all to love who we are and accept what we’ve been given – that we’re all beautiful.
People Want to See Themselves Reflected
We recently talked about being a purpose led company, and how that core connection with consumers – letting them see that you also have X or Y morals or values – creates brand loyalty.
The same is true for defining your brand personality.
You’re not going to be all things to all people. Nor should you be. In fact, that’s probably the most important reason to really understand “who” your brand is before you move forward with anything related to branding – logos, packaging, style-guides, etc.
Know Your Audience
While you won’t be all things to all people, your brand personality should accomplish a few key things if it’s going to be a successful base upon which to build out the rest of your company branding framework.
It should elicit some type of emotional response in people. And again, that emotional response will be very different – a mountain climbing gear brand’s emotional connection will be quite different from your local emergency veterinarian’s!
As I mentioned above, your brand personality won’t be that different from people you know! Is it rugged and sporty? Youthful and on-trend? Caring and compassionate? Intelligent and high-end? Traditional and buttoned-up or at the cutting edge of shifts in pop-culture?
Sit and brainstorm, with a team if possible, and write down everything – no matter how silly you might think it sounds – that best represents your brand as a person. You might even consider doing a vision board if you’re in the very beginning stages of brand creation.
The Four Corners of Brand Personality
And while every brand is unique – there are four core things you should consider when determining your brand’s personality:
- Vision: Where and how do you see yourself? What will make you stand out from the competition? What are you attempting to accomplish?
- Emotion: This one’s tough – because you have to be really honest with yourself. How do customers/clients see your company (or how do you want them to see it)? Which emotions are inherently “who you are.” How does your brand make your audience feel – really feel? And is this feeling consistent?
- Consistency: Consistency is a crucial component to eventual success – is your brand personality applied consistently across all of your offerings? All your social platforms, advertising, and corporate culture? Is it reflected in style guides and your on-boarding process? Go and check!
- Perception: Ultimately, if we’re being honest here, it’s not really down to you is it? Your audience will determine all of the above – and will let you know if you’re not hitting the mark when it comes to brand personality.
Brand Personality is Your Bedrock
These exercises and/or ways of thinking aren’t just for new brands or companies, either! We worked recently on a re-brand for a company who felt that they had changed and were ready to give themselves a bit of a make-over.
They really had grown up, matured a bit if you will, and their initial brand personality didn’t reflect that as much as they would like. In other words, it’s never too late to take a hard look at your brand and its personality – you might find it’s morphed and changed over the years, or your audience has shifted slightly.
What do you think? Have you experienced companies where branding, product and personality just don’t mesh? Or do spectacularly? I would love to hear your thoughts.