Traditional branding has relied on graphic design and advertisements to tell the company’s story. In today’s world, brands are more accessible than ever. This has led to the rise of “brand personalities” as an extension of the company’s brand identity. Modern brands have a more direct and personal connection with consumers, and consumers therefore expect a more personalized media presence from their favorite companies.
Today, we will define brand personality, review some notable examples, discuss how to develop your brand’s own personality, and some of the many ways to incorporate brand personality into your overall marketing strategy.
What is a Brand Personality?
One of the keys to building a brand personality is consistency. Simply being energetic, witty, or rugged (dependent on your brand’s identity) is not enough. Brands need to find their individual voice and stick to it over a long period of time to allow customers to make a genuine connection.
A brand’s personality is the most direct way to let consumers know who they are and how they feel about certain topics. Even some controversial brand stances such as Chick-fil-a’s affiliation with organizations which oppose same-sex marriage could be considered part of their brand personality. More on this below.
Famous Brand Personalities
Chick-fil-a: there is no doubt that a certain contingency of Americans despise Chick-fil-a for their public stance on social issues. There is also no denying how popular the brand has remained. How can that be? Because Chick-fil-a has one of the strongest brand personalities today, and it is built around unparalleled customer service. This branding is reinforced in advertisements and the company walks the walk when it comes to offering top level customer service in their restaurants.
Wendy’s Twitter Account: Yes, you read that correctly. The Wendy’s twitter account took the internet by storm in recent years by famously roasting McDonald’s over and over again. The message was simple: we are one of you, and our food is superior to other fast food restaurants. Wendy’ stock has enjoyed steady growth over the past five (5) years since adopting this personality. Message received.
Jeep: The history of Jeep products is a fascinating mix of military history and vehicular innovation. To this day, Jeep’s brand personality evokes a rugged, adventurous spirit. This focused personality has endured since World War II.
Identifying the Personality Traits of your Brand
While there are infinite personality traits which can be incorporated into a brand, five (5) traits dominate the market today:
- Energy/excitement – many brands are marketed on the exciting lifestyle they allow. This can range from a zippy new car to a gym chain. Brand example: Under Armour.
- Luxury – one of the oldest desires in the human psyche is to live like a king or queen. Luxurious, sophisticated brands offer a world of top notch quality and comfort. Brand example: Mercedes.
- Toughness – Americans love to be tough, and we are certainly not alone. Many brand personalities built around being rugged, gritty, and outdoorsy have stood the test of time. Brand example: Jack Daniels.
- Sincerity – the market is flooded with brands in nearly every imaginable sector. This leaves the public drowning in options but desperate to find a brand they can trust. Many brands have positioned themselves with excellent customer service, reliability, and honesty. Brand example: Zappos.
- Excellence – Finally, there is no substitute for providing an excellent product. Brand personalities which may be considered “no frills” take the approach that their product or service speaks for itself. Brand example: Honda.
Implementing a Brand Personality Strategy for Marketing Purposes
Brand personality is only one part of a competent marketing strategy. After all, Wendy’s twitter account may have three (3) million followers and counting, but they still buy millions of dollars of traditional advertisements as well.
The key to successfully implement your brand personality is to allow it to organically permeate all areas of your marketing. Mercedes’ print ads are sleek and sophisticated. Their television ads are sleek and sophisticated. Their cars are sleek and sophisticated. When we think of Mercedes, we know exactly what to expect.
Some companies take this a step further and build their company culture around their identity. A classic example of company culture and brand personality is Google. Employees are encouraged to take breaks and work from home, but they are also expected to deliver extremely high quality work. This reflects the brand identity of Google as being friendly, personable, but also competent and trustworthy.
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