Brand personality: the basics
21.04.23 | By Kimberley Killender | branding
Brand personality: the basics.
Solve the persona puzzle.
First thing’s first: What is brand personality?
Brand personality is a set of human traits and personal characteristics that are attributed to your brand. It is a guiding part of your brand framework used internally. It helps shape the way your audience will feel about your product, service, or mission, and is an important part of brand customisation. In fact, it’s a key part of how to create a strong brand identity.
What is the difference between a brand personality and brand values?
Personality traits guide how the brand appears, whereas values are key guiding principles of how a brand operates. Values determine how you act and what you’re saying. Personality determines how you show it and say it.
A simple test to figure out if a trait is a personality or a value, is to ask “Can you write something that sounds XYZ”. If you could easily write a sentence that sounds that way, there’s a good chance it can be used as a branded personality trait.
For example: Can you write something that sounds joyful? Yes, joyful has a distinct and direct tone to it that could be easily identified across a variety of communications.
Can you write something that sounds ethical? No, because ‘ethical’ doesn’t have a voice. Ethics are something embedded. Comparatively, joyful is something expressed. The difference between personality and values are that personality traits are obvious, and values are structural.
What is the difference between brand personality and brand character?
Brand personality is how you’d describe your brand if it were a person. Brand character is a fake persona created to help guide your business in making decisions that relate to your audience, by putting a name, age, and characteristics to your target market. Both give an insight into how we engage with our audience, but in very different ways.
For example, a personality example for an iced coffee brand may be Witty, Active, Approachable, and Down To Earth. But their brand character might be a 26 year old tradie called John who loves his boys, footy, and a classic servo breakfast. The brand character—John—is the ideal of someone who would be attracted to a brand (or to people) with your brand’s personality traits. In this case, that means someone or something that is witty, active, approachable, and down to earth.
Brand characters can also help you understand a customer journey through your service offerings. Take an aged care provider. They have a brand character named Rose. She’s an elderly widow and retired nurse, who has two daughters and ongoing back pain. In order to map out a customer journey, the team would ask themselves what Rose needs at every touchpoint. From an entry level offering of companionship services, or physiotherapy for her back pain. Moving through to home help assistance such as cleaning or wound care. Then finally continuing into family respite, retirement villages and potentially permanent aged care in the long run.
A brand character is solely an internal tool, as opposed to a brand mascot, which is a form of characterised visual branding that brings your personality to life through an external facing vessel.
What makes a good brand personality?
A brand with a strongly built personality should elicit an emotional response in your chosen consumer segment. The intention is to successfully get your audience to take action with your brand the way you desire, whether through sales, subscriptions, or social media engagement.
Traditionally, customers are more likely to purchase a brand if the personality is similar to their own, or attractive to them. Familiarity or aspiration are the main drivers when it comes to connecting with consumers through your personality.
Your personality should be distinct and consistent across all touch-points. If your packaging copy is quirky and joyful, but your social media presence is dry and serious, customers will disconnect from the poorly crafted persona.
Why does brand personality matter?
Consumers buy emotionally, and conveniently. Ultimately, they choose based on what they feel, what they like, and what is available. Brand personality is key to standing out in the market, particularly where products or services are similar, saturated, or overwhelming. Though loyalty can be formed in many ways, the strongest form is through personal connection. Because of this, your chosen personality traits needs to directly appeal to the kind of person your target market consists of, and is key to successful differentiation.