Crafting a Brand Personality


Personalities. We all have one, and they are a quintessential component of what makes us who we are, and who we associate with. A personality is a set of distinctive characteristics or qualities that form a distinctive character. 


Personalities have significant influence over who we attract and who we repel. A personality plays a big role in the type of work we do, the type of activities we enjoy and importantly the type of businesses and brands we associate ourselves with. A personality is also a measure that others use to decide if we are the type of person that should be a part of their tribe.


Creating a brand that is attractive to your target market is no different, it needs to have a personality for the exact same reasons a person does. A brand personality will influence and polarise our audience, it will attract some and push others away. It allows the brand to say “this is who we are, this is why we are different, and this is the type of people we associate with”. 


It is a key method of positioning a brand to capture increased market share. It is also a great way of actually standing out and being more relatable to the consumer. Provides a point of differentiation that separates you from replicating another boring business with nothing to say, and that is indistinguishable from the competition. Successfully implementing a personality into your brand creates a handle that your customers can grab on to, an important step in building something more than just an organisation that offers products and services. 


Afterall customers respond positively to brands that are consistent. Consistency with their messaging and offers brings clarity and alignment with what they do and what customers expect from them. It is just as important to be consistent in how a business delivers their messaging and offers, a unique and recognisable voice builds trust with the customers. Customers today demand that a brand is authentic and a personality is an effective method of showcasing authenticity consistently.


Peter Walshe, Global BrandZ Director, explains that brands that build positive customer sentiment by being ‘meaningfully different’ from the competition are able to capture five times more volume, command a 13% price premium, and are four times more likely to grow their value share than those that don’t, according to research from Millward Brown.


Marty Neumeier talks about this a lot when he says that the real competition for businesses today is not the fact there are other companies fighting for market share, it is the complete lack of businesses trying different techniques to effectively differentiate themselves. Instead creating an ‘over abundance of look-alike products and me-too services’. Resulting in businesses fighting tooth and nail to sell themselves rather than create something bigger that customers organically want to be a part of.

This explains the importance of creating a brand personality but what is involved in the process of successfully crafting a personality for your business. In order to do this we must first be clear on a couple of things.


Firstly, brand personalities are often crafted as a part of a brand and marketing strategies workshop, where there are many steps that feed into building a brand personality for your business that makes this process more organic. That is not to say you can’t derive a brand personality without first completing other exercises, however you might find that without a holistic approach your brand personality may not flow as cohesively. 


If you are a founder, brand manager, or CEO it is sometimes easy to just take your personality and imprint onto your brand. Don’t. A good brand personality is derived from a clear understanding of why your brand exists, its positioning in the market, the tribe you are serving and an awareness of how you are different. These are some of the criteria that should be considered when crafting your brand personality, at least if you want it to make sense…


We create a brand personality by starting to think of traits of our brand as if it were a person. For example, if we were to think of traits that would describe Apple we could use words like Different, Imaginative, and Creative. Red Bull’s traits could be described as Rebellious, Dangerous, Adventurous and Brave.  


These traits exemplify these brands and their approaches to marketing and are always foundational in any marketing deliverables. Almost like they have thought deeply about these beforehand and allowed the brand personality to flow from their brand through marketing and into how they present and position themselves in the market.( 😉 )

Once we have come up with a comprehensive, but focused, list of traits we are ready to use these to better understand our personality archetype. Personality archetypes are universally repeated and recognisable personalities that we are hardwired to connect with. Peter Walshe further speaks about how all good brands have personality archetypes. There are 12 archetypes that are commonly used; these are the Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage.


We use our personality traits to see what archetype best matches our brand. While we are interested in having a primary personality archetype, you will often have another 1-2 secondary archetypes that also match some of your traits. This is fine, just like a real person you want some dimensionality to your brand.


Now that we have worked out our personality archetype what do we do with it? We do something that most businesses fail to do, implement and execute consistently. We use our archetypes as filters for our decision making. 


For our visual branding we use archetype to inform what colours we choose, what our logo should look like, our fonts etc… For our marketing strategy we use our brand archetypes to inform our messaging, our offers and more. When creating marketing objectives we use our archetypes to inform how we design the User Experience, how we create funnels, and how we go about achieving our marketing goals. Finally for our deliverables our brand personality archetype must be reflected in the content we create and at every touch point we have with a customer.


Sounds complex, and difficult, and for that reason most businesses say they can’t be bothered and surrender their ability to craft a brand that enables them to increase profitability and growth. In truth it isn’t that difficult, it is just something which must be considered before acting on the newest or latest shiny object or idea that comes across your desk.


Personifying your brand allows for an authentic voice to consistently flow from your larger brand strategy into marketing strategies, your user experience, and into deliverables like content and advertising. This consistency creates brand recognition and connects with customers more effectively, allowing you to distinguish yourself from the competition and create something that can achieve long term success.


How could a brand personality change the way you connect with customers? How might better understanding your brand personality allow you to change processes to better serve a consumer? How might a brand personality allow your business to better connect… 

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