By Gina Morin, Design Intervention
Personality is the final step needed to inspire the next level of branding—the Identity Level—which makes up your logo, colors, typography, and written language. (If you haven't done so already, go back and check out the other six levels of Core Branding; Vision, Mission, Values, Objectives, Audiences, and Positioning.) This is especially important to note because so many businesses believe that their brand is their logo. If you've been following along over the last few months and defining all the steps along the way, it's clear to see that your brand is made up of so much more than just your logo. By taking the time to define each of these steps, you are making sure your marketing efforts and dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently.
How do you define your Brand Personality?
Brands with personality stand out more, we tend to like them more, and we stay loyal to them. Just like we tend to connect with people that have characters similar to our own, this holds true with brands as well.
Sarah Durham gives a great example in her book, Brandraising. There was an ad campaign that Apple ran for years. Two men were talking to each other. One was a casual-looking guy who said, "Hi, I'm a Mac." The other guy was in a suit with glasses and said, "And I'm a PC." This ad gave a visual personality to the Mac computer in comparison to the PC. Apple wanted to convey that Macs were casual, relaxed and hip while showing that the PCs were uptight, unreliable and not cutting-edge. While you may not have the budget to run a national ad campaign like that for your businesses, it is still critical to let your audience know what your Brand Personality is through all your visual communications like your logo, etc.
Start by looking at the five core Brand Personality types (as defined by Dr. Jennifer Aaker's report titled "Dimensions of Brand Personality") and the traits that go along with each:
- Sincerity: down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, cheerful, family-oriented, sincere, original, sentimental, friendly
- Excitement: daring, spirited, imaginative, trendy, exciting, lively, fresh, young, unique, independent, contemporary
- Competence: reliable, intelligent, successful, loyal, hard-working, secure, technical, corporate, leader, confident
- Sophistication: upper class, charming, glamorous, smooth, feminine
- Ruggedness: outdoorsy, robust, active, rugged, masculine
Ask yourself, if your brand was a person, how would you describe its personality? Out of this list of traits, you are free to blend personality types by selecting a handful of human-like characteristics that create your unique Brand Persona. Be careful not to choose attributes that describe your customer. Your brand may have traits that are similar to your target audience but select the qualities that define your brand or that represent you and perhaps your employees or the people that will ultimately make and keep your brand promise. Your brand will prove to be authentic if it reflects the characteristics of the people who will deliver value to their customers.
Once you have defined your Brand Personality, be sure it resonates throughout all of your branding materials like your logo and digital and printed marketing materials. If you need some help with that part, let's chat!