Whether you recognize it or not, your business has a brand personality. The big question is, is it the one that you want?
Brand personality is essentially the attributes one would ascribe to your brand if it were a human being. And just like people, a brand’s personality traits affect how that brand connects with the world around them.
For most small businesses it is difficult, and probably meaningless, to distinguish brand personality from that of the overall company - unlike large corporations who likely have a unique brand personality for each of their product lines or subsidiaries.
Why Is Brand Personality Important?
Brand personality differentiates a business from its competition and positions it in an engaging, meaningful way. It acts as the foundational element in the building of brand identity and is, or at least should be, reflected throughout marketing messaging, customer experience, and the entire company culture. Brand personality should create an emotional connection and be recognizable.
Brand personality shapes the emotional relationship between a business and its audience. Think about some of those big brands you love. Take Apple for example. How would you describe their brand personality? Innovative probably comes to mind first. Imaginative. Sophisticated. Simplicity. Cool. Stylish. Creative. Now think about how those personality traits manifest themselves throughout the tech giant’s marketing, advertising, product lines, and really everything they do and say. Next think about the clean lines of the Apple logo. It’s “Think Different” tagline. The sleek designs inherent in its product line. And while Steve Jobs claimed the company name and imagery came from his love of the fruit, the bitten apple logo certainly reflects the “taking the bite of the apple” idiom, evoking a sense of knowledge and innovation.
How Do I Define My Brand Personality?
Most business owners launch their businesses with some sense of desired brand identity. How they want to do things differently than their competitors. What they feel matters from a leadership perspective. How they want to connect with people and conduct their business. But often in the hustle and bustle of running and growing a company, those desired attributes get lost. For business owners ready to identify their brand personality, it is time for some self-reflection and a little fun. Start by answering a few key questions:
- What are five adjectives that would ideally describe your brand? Make sure they are reflective of your business goals and company culture.
- Now think about your brand voice. Is it loud? Suave? Playful?
- Who would be your dream spokesman for your business? What are the qualities of that person that inspired you to choose them?
- Who are your customers? Why are customers attracted to your brand? How do you think they would describe it?
Your answers will provide you with a good starting point on identifying your brand personality. Then it is time to start infusing that brand personality into virtually everything you do.
How to Apply Brand Personality
Start by revisiting your Company Vision and Mission Statements if you have them. See how your brand personality traits align – or don’t align – with these core business documents. This process provides an opportunity to assess the accuracy of your brand personality characteristics, as well as to amend your Vision and Mission to better align with those traits if necessary.
Maintaining the purity and authenticity of your brand personality is vital. For instance, if your brand personality is lighthearted and youthful, but your marketing messaging is dry and technical, that messaging is out of brand alignment. If your brand personality is modern and sophisticated, but your logo looks dated or sophomoric, you again have a big disconnect - and it’s time for a new logo that is better reflective of your brand. If your brand personality is kind, but your company culture feels toxic, needless to say you have some considerable work to do.
By establishing and leveraging brand personality in literally everything your business touches - from processes and operations to marketing and customer experience to employee development and company culture – your business is much better poised to distinguish itself in the marketplace in a meaningful, substantial, and engaging way.
To learn more about branding your business read "How Branding Strategies Can Help Your Business Grow."