How to develop a strong brand personality in 4 steps
- Brand personality is key to driving customer loyalty and increasing the value of your brand name
- Get to know your target audience before defining your personality traits to ensure your ideal customers connect with your brand
- Assess other aspects of your brand and business processes, like your visual identity and customer review process, to ensure they align with your brand personality
Human beings are driven by emotion. When customers make a purchase, they often rely on emotions like comfort and trust as much as logic. It’s why many shoppers buy bars of soap from Dove or bottles of Coca-Cola when presented alongside a generic product—even when quality can be virtually the same.
A powerful brand personality is key to establishing the emotional connection that drives people to choose your product or service over the competition. To keep clients loyal over time, use this guide to develop and implement a winning brand personality.
What is brand personality?
Brand personality is the set of human characteristics unique to your brand. It’s defined by the same types of descriptors you’d use for human personality traits—for example, friendly, nurturing, or professional—and expressed in the way your brand acts, writes, and presents itself to the world.
Your brand personality is also a core part of your broader brand experience, which encompasses the emotions customers feel when interacting with your business.
Why brand personality matters
Anyone can sell a product or service, but an effective brand personality helps you stand out among the competition. In the same way that we’re drawn to people with personalities that complement our own, shoppers connect with brands that resonate with them.
Without a great brand personality, your company can feel bland, boring, and even cold. But with a great one, your company becomes more dynamic, memorable, and human.
This differentiation is essential for gaining loyal customers. As shoppers get to know and love your brand personality, their connection to your brand grows stronger. It’s like getting closer to a new friend. With time and consistency, you can build a customer base loyal to your brand.
A brand personality can also increase your brand equity, which is the monetary value that your business name adds to your products or services, especially compared to generic or cheaper options. Just as customers flock to Apple products—despite iPhones costing significantly more than comparable options, such as Samsung Galaxies or Google Pixels—the personification of your brand gives you more room to increase price tags without losing customers.
How small businesses use brand personality
Many small businesses use their brand personality to carve out a niche in their industries. Compare a hair salon that has a trendy, edgy personality to one that markets itself as elegant and refined. These two salons would cater to two different demographics. People looking for mullets or shag hairstyles might gravitate toward the bolder brand, while those in need of a simple cut or color may prefer the other.
Brand personality is also used to improve consistent communications across your organization. Whether your team is writing blog posts, talking with customers over the phone, or creating graphics for social media, they should project the same key traits. In doing this, brand personality keeps your messaging and tone of voice consistent on all channels.
How to develop a strong brand personality
You don’t have to be an expert marketing strategist to create and express a great brand personality. In four steps, you can build out a personality that makes your brand feel relatable to your target audience.
1. Get to know your target audience
Understanding your target market can help you select the most effective brand personality traits. Instead of choosing traits at random, target market research encourages you to consider what your ideal customers—the people you most want to reach—will connect with.
Define your target audience by outlining their characteristics, such as demographics (age, income level, gender, and marital status), values, interests, and hobbies. Keep these details in mind as you build your brand personality.
2. Narrow down your brand personality dimensions
One trusted way to choose brand traits is by using the five dimensions of brand personality from social psychologist Jennifer Aaker. This brand personality framework states that a brand’s personality traits can fall under five categories:
- Ruggedness: Rugged brands like Harley-Davidson and Jeep tend to be outdoorsy and tough
- Sincerity: This personality type tends to be ethical, honest, positive, and down-to-earth, such as Hallmark or Bombas socks
- Excitement: Brands with traits that fall under this dimension, like Red Bull and Tesla, can be creative, spirited, and even edgy
- Competence: Competent brands are intelligent and reliable like Microsoft and Volvo
- Sophistication: These brands are often upper-class, glamorous, and charming—think Apple or Tiffany & Co.
Choose the dimensions that you believe would appeal to your target audience the most, building on the demographics, values, and hobbies you outlined above. You can hone in on one dimension or even blend together two or three.
3. Choose the top adjectives that describe your brand
Once you’ve defined your brand’s broad dimensions, identify which specific brand personality traits you want to express within them. Aim to select a combination of 3-5 traits that can differentiate you from your competitors.
For example, Nike and Charmin are two brands that fall under the “excitement” dimension, but their brand personalities are still distinct. Nike leans on the inspirational and passionate side, while Charmin tends to be more playful and spirited.
4. Incorporate your personality into your brand strategy
Brand personality shapes your brand identity as a whole. To start expressing your personality consistently, take time to align other aspects of your brand with your core personality traits.
For example, if you describe your brand as “sophisticated,” assess if your brand colors and typography communicate sophistication. If your logo is in a script font, this may help you convey that sentiment. Consider using calm, neutral tones to further your brand initiative.
You should also lead with your brand personality in customer interactions, such as responding to Yelp reviews or appeasing customers who have a poor experience with your business. Think of creative ways to incorporate your personality in each channel that you use to interact with clients.
Disney, which has a wholesome and fun brand personality, coaches cast members to never respond with “I don’t know.”
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Create a stand-out brand personality
An effective brand personality humanizes your brand and gives clients a reason to remain loyal. To hone your own, start by getting to know your target audience and identifying the unique traits that resonate with them.
Incorporating your brand personality in every aspect of your brand—from your visual identity to your brand message—will help set you apart from the competition. Take it even further by pushing your brand personality out via an effective email marketing strategy.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.