Brand Personality

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Brand personality is essential in order to successfully market your business and brand. Think of a company like Taco Bell. Their ads are trendy and exciting, and their interactions on social media make users feel like they’re talking to a person. By establishing a set of traits and characteristics that align with its target audience, Taco Bell has effectively brought its brand to life.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about brand personality. Continue reading to learn what brand personality is, the different types of frameworks, the importance of establishing a personality, and steps on how to create one for your business.

What Is Brand Personality?

Brand personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand. It helps shape the way people feel about the products, services or mission associated with a brand. From the organizational perspective, a brand’s personality is an effort to shape the brand image that consumers have of their company.

To develop a personality, you need a sound understanding of your target audience. Your brand’s personality is how you communicate your message. In order to appeal to a specific segment of consumers, you need to know their personality type and the traits they resonate with.

An effective brand communicates its personality through all messaging, visuals and overall marketing initiatives.

Brand Personality Framework: Different Types Of Brand Personalities

While every brand has a unique personality, there are five main frameworks that you can follow to get the ball rolling. Oftentimes a brand will fall somewhere in between a combination of the major frameworks. The five types of brand personalities include: 

  • Sincerity
  • Excitement 
  • Competence 
  • Sophistication
  • Ruggedness

I’ll break down each type in greater detail in the sections below.

Sincerity

Brands with sincere personality types are relatable and accessible to the general public. They have a small-town vibe and resonate with audiences that prefer a simple, enjoyable lifestyle.

The main traits that define a sincere brand include 

  • Wholesome
  • Honest
  • Trustworthy
  • Authentic
  • Cheerful

Examples: Coca-Cola, Hallmark, Headspace

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Excitement

Brand personalities that focus on excitement are outgoing, thrill-seeking personas typically targeting a younger, adventurous audience. Their visuals are flashy and use messaging that challenges consumers to take it to the next level.

The main traits that define an exciting brand include: 

  • Daring 
  • Spirited
  • Imaginative
  • Trendy
  • Unique

Examples: Nike, Red Bull, Disney, Airbnb

Competence

Competence is a brand personality that exudes trustworthiness and professionalism. Competent brands tend to be leaders in their respective industries.

The main traits that define a competent brand include: 

  • Reliable 
  • Hard-working 
  • Secure
  • Intelligent 
  • Technical 
  • Successful 
  • Confident

Examples: Google, Microsoft, Apple

Sophistication

Sophisticated brands create an elite, exclusive personality placing themselves above the average consumer. They advertise to a select segment of the market that is willing to spend more in order to stand out.

The main traits that define a sophisticated brand include: 

  • Upper-class
  • Glamourous 
  • Good-looking 
  • Charming 
  • Smooth

Examples: Rolex, Chanel, Mercedes-Benz

Ruggedness

Brand personalities that embrace ruggedness typically have characteristics that are outdoorsy and tough.

The main traits that define a rugged brand include: 

  • Masculine
  • Western 
  • Muscular

Examples: Jeep, Jack Daniels, Harley-Davidson

Why Is Brand Personality Important?

Now you have a better idea of what goes into a brand’s personality. But why is a personality so important when building a brand? It’s a key component of your branding strategy that makes your brand relatable and connects emotionally with the segment of the market you’re targeting.

Your brand personality plays a major role in the success of your marketing and promotional efforts. In the sections below, I’ll highlight a few reasons why it’s essential that you establish the right personality for your brand.

Connect With Your Target Audience

The key to obtaining brand loyalty is emotional connection. In fact, approximately 95% of all buying decisions are made subconsciously and a positive emotional connection increases the chances of general consumers converting to loyal brand supporters.

Because consumers connect with brands who share similar traits and characteristics to theirs, an effective personality elicits an emotional connection and response from your target audience. Think of it this way: would you be more likely to support a brand that reminds you of yourself and your personality? Of course.

Differentiate Your Brand From Competitors

No matter how groundbreaking your product or service is, there’s bound to be a competitor or two in the market. Establishing a personality for your brand separates you from countless others offering the same products and services.

It all depends on your target audience, but an authentic and unique brand personality is more likely to stand out. In return, you earn trust, loyalty and authority within your industry.

Provide A Personal Touch

Crafting a brand personality is all about giving your brand human characteristics and personality in order to create a positive, personal experience for your customers.

As automation and artificial intelligence expand, the element of human touch becomes more important to consumers. A study conducted by Accenture Strategy found that 83% of consumers want more human interaction in customer service.

In a sense, branding is a segment of customer service aimed at creating a personalized touch to every communication.

Place Your Brand And Consumers On The Same Level

In previous generations, businesses had leverage over consumers. With the onset and expansion of technology – primarily the internet and social media – the consumer now has the upper hand.

Consumers want to support brands catering to their desires and beliefs. So while they may have the upper hand, if consumers relate to the traits and characteristics of a brand they’re more to establish a mutually beneficial relationship.

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How To Develop Your Brand Personality

So you understand the different types of brand personalities and why they’re important, but where do you start? To be clear, it’s not magic and doesn’t happen overnight. There are several steps to take in order to establish an effective brand personality that resonates with your target audience.

In the sections below, I’ll guide you through a few steps that’ll help you brainstorm and create your brand personality.

Understand Your Corporate Brand

In order to craft a personality, you need to know who you are. Before you can start thinking about how to present yourself to consumers, you need to know your business inside and out.

That means understanding the different components of your corporate brand – specifically why you do what you do and how you want to be perceived by the market.

Know Your Target Audience

Along with a thorough understanding of your business, you need a sound knowledge of your target audience. That means clearly defining your ideal customer personas and grasping what compels them to support a brand.

To shape your brand’s personality in a way that connects with your audience on every level, you need to know their personality traits and how they behave. This helps you better understand what characteristics are likely to shape their behavior and lead to engagement and, ultimately, brand loyalty.

Align Your Brand To Personality Types

Once you’ve defined what characteristics appeal to your target audience and align with your business, you can start to analyze the different brand personality types defined earlier in this article.

It’s important to map out the different characteristics that go into each personality type. For example, you might think you’re a rugged outdoor clothing brand but find that your target audience has characteristics that align with a sincere or exciting personality.

By blurring the lines and crafting a unique personality that stands out, you give yourself the best chance of connecting with your customers.

Establish A Brand Voice

The best way to express your personality is by communicating. In order to communicate as a brand, you need to establish a voice and tone. The words and language you use determine whether your communication is effective.

If you’re aiming for a competent and sophisticated brand personality, you wouldn’t want your communication to be littered with slang.

Develop A Diverse Library Of On-Brand Images

Consumers are visually dominant and imagery plays a major role in spreading your brand. When it comes to advertising your business, you need to have on-brand images across all of your communication channels.

While you can try to shoot photos on your iPhone no amount of tips and tricks will give you true professional results. The best way to equip your business with a diverse library of high-quality, on-brand images is to find a professional business photographer.

With a well-planned corporate photography session, you’ll have enough pictures to use across all of your communication channels to spread your personality visually.

Create A Brand Style Guide

For every communication to emulate your personality, your entire team needs to be aligned on what it means to be on-brand. Whether you’re working with a team of one or have a full-fledged marketing division, it’s essential that you create a brand guide.

A brand style guide is essentially the end all be all of your brand – it defines and explains every component of your brand identity, in which personality plays a significant role.

Be Authentic

No matter what personality you land on, it needs to be an authentic representation of your brand. In order for your audience to connect with you, they need to trust you. It’s apparent when a brand inauthentically panders to its audience trying to increase sales without creating a genuine relationship.

Everything from stock photos to social media interactions can make or break your brand. If it feels like you’re cutting corners or hopping on a trend, you risk appearing disingenuous to the public eye.

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Consistency Is Key

In every facet of your business consistency is key. There’s no way around it. Brand personality is no different. It’s crucial that all components of your advertising and promotion are consistent with your personality.

If you have trouble keeping up with all of your different marketing channels, consider creating a checklist with the following platforms: 

  • Your website 
  • Online ads
  • Print ads
  • Brochures 
  • Social media profiles 
  • Email marketing 
  • Storefront/eCommerce experience 

Brand Personality Examples

Since we’ve covered a ton of information about brand personality, I think it might help you to see the concept in action. In the sections below, I’ll highlight real-world examples of companies with successful brand personalities.

Red Bull

Red Bull has an exciting brand personality based on living a thrilling lifestyle. It gives you wings. From sponsoring events like The Red Bull Space Dive to engaging social media presence and clever commercial video campaigns, Red Bull clearly presents a daring personality.

Apple

Apple is a clean, competent brand that focuses on minimalist design, reliable products and technological innovation. A leader in the tech space, Apple prides itself on consistently rolling out state-of-the-art products that improve consumers’ lives.

Jeep

Picture a Jeep commercial, speeding off-road down a snow-covered mountainside. The sports vehicle brand is a perfect example of ruggedness. Diving deep into the wilderness with its ads and brand voice, Jeep represents the ultimate outdoorsman living a natural lifestyle.

Mercedes-Benz

When you see a Mercedes-Benz, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? That person must be extravagant. From the elegant tone of narration in commercials to the sleek interior of its products, Mercedes-Benz is a brand focused on an elite lifestyle.

Their ads often consist of well-dressed, upper-class individuals at exclusive, classy events.

Patagonia

Though it’s also associated with the outdoors, Patagonia is a hybrid brand personality of rugged and sincere. Their product line and advertisements are focused on the outdoors, but their marketing and brand voice is down-to-earth and wholesome.

Work With Casey Templeton Photography To Establish Your Brand Identity

I hope by now you have a better understanding of what brand personality is and how important it is to your branding efforts. By creating a human-like personality for your brand that aligns with the traits and characteristics of your target audience, you give yourself the best chance of connecting with customers and generating brand loyalty.

If you’re looking to establish or reinvent your brand personality, consider a professional photoshoot for your company. Casey Templeton is a professional commercial photographer trained behind the camera and with extensive business brand experience across various industries and business sizes.

To learn more about Casey Templeton Photography or to get started on a project, fill out our contact form.

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