If your customers were asked to describe your brand personality, what would they say? Would they humanise your business? I mean, would they ascribe a personality to it? Would you be the grumpy greengrocers? The fun fast food franchise? Would they be able to tell you?
If not, then you are missing a trick.
You know what it is like. We like to humanise everything. People name their cars. I name my guitars. I mean, I know someone who has a toaster they have named Bernie. More to the point, we describe our appliances moods. We often tell people about the tantrum our washing machine threw, or that our cooker is acting temperamental.
If we can do it for such banal objects in our lives, it doesn’t say much if we can’t do the same for the brand you have painstakingly created. It means people just aren’t connecting with you.
And isn’t that half the battle?
So how do we inject your inanimate concept with something recognisably human? How do you give your brand personality?
1. Who do you think you are trying to impress?
As with everything marketing related, it is not necessarily all about what you want. In fact, before you sit there and start creating style guides and social media content, you might want to think about who you are trying to attract. Who is your buyer persona?
Design Shack argue that “a brand’s personality [often] mirrors that of the target customer base”. The operative word might just be “often”. It certainly isn’t a hard and fast rule. Consider the irritating appearance of the Go Compare singer, or the no-more-Mr-nice-guy antics of Gary Lineker for Walker’s crisps. It isn’t an absolute must that your brand becomes a carbon copy of your prospects.
Your brand personality couldn’t possibly be complex enough to match an entire demographic’s nuances. However, it is important that your prospects can identify, or identify with, your brand’s personality.
Like these guys!
An example of a brand who got it DEAD right, was the lager brand Fosters.
Their creation of Australian characters Brad and Dan simultaneously satirised and reached young males. Fosters lightly mocked UK lad culture, as well as stereotypical preconceptions of Australian culture. And it worked.
Serious thought and research went into the creation of Brad and Dan. Fosters adopted a relaxed personality that played cool with a tongue-in-cheek soupçon of sexism. And perhaps at this time in the 21st century that could be construed as dangerous for many brands.
However, it worked.
Because, although Fosters adopted a personality that objectified women and was ever-so-slightly ignorant of other cultures, it was easily recognised as satire. Therefore, Brad and Dan were the lovable rogues of lager.
2. Create a voice and story for your brand personality
Almost every thought-leader or marketing blogger has written about the power of storytelling. But, storytelling tells us a lot about a person, or a brand. Through the narrative of a story, an audience can key into important elements of a brand personality. Through the text, and its construction, people can tell a lot about the writer.
Such as, the way they see the world. Or, their socio-political ethos. Perhaps, their overall mood.
But, like any story, it cannot just unfold in a passionless monotone. If your business is going to ooze brand personality through the lines of well-chiselled anecdote, then your brand is going to need a voice.
And, it doesn’t have to be difficult to create one either
A proper discussion on creating a voice is a topic worthy of its own article as there is a lot to consider. At the end of the day, your brand needs a recognisable voice. If you want your brand to connect with your customers and leads, then it is down to you to make sure that your brand speaks with “an appropriate, unique, and compelling voice.”
To determine your voice, create a style guide. To begin this, take note of any idiosyncratic phrases or stylistic choices you make. Are you using proper queen-eating-plums English? Also, are you comfortable with cracking the odd funny?
Your personality will be much easier to define if you are creating regular content. Your narrative style, and storytelling format will quickly help you develop that brand personality.
3. It’s also a little bit about how you look
A lot of emphasis and pressure is always applied to linguistics and text when it comes to creating that brand personality. But it isn’t all about the words you use, or the tone you create. Just like the clothes you wear or the way you mould your hair, personality can be represented visually.
What are you sharing on social media?
Are you sharing a humorous gif to make your audience laugh? Perhaps you are sharing corporate images with a lot of suits shaking hands.
Do you use a lot of stock photography?
Your own professional photos?
Beryl from marketing running around with an iPhone snapping pics?
You know none of these suggestions is the wrong answer if that is how you want to build your brand. If you want to be a serious and ultra-professional business, then perhaps running around with a mobile phone taking selfies isn’t the way forward. But if you want to be a fun and quirky company, that picture of Jeremy on a bean bag will be just fine.
The visual content you share can help you develop your brand personality.
4. Be You. Well a different you. A you-nique.
You are here because you are interested in how to build a brand personality. So, you are already familiar with the concept of research. I understand that you might be a student just interested in the unequivocally rampant wisdom that my articles are obviously known for. But you might be a competitor.
By researching your industry and visiting your competitors’ websites and social media you can see what sort of content does well in the industry, and to see what personalities are out there.
Because not everyone should sound the same. There is no USP in being a carbon copy of someone else in the industry that is a little bit more successful than you.
I can guarantee, if you copy the market leader, you are always going to be behind them. They are literally pioneering your personality for you.
And, alongside this, be careful of spending too much time on the whole colour psychology discussion. Following articles that give you reductive meanings of each particular hue in the rainbow do nothing but align you with your competitors instead of separating you from them.
So, don’t be afraid of being a little bit different.
5. Be consistent with your brand personality
Let’s say you have worked hard on your brand personality. You created a style guide. Every important word is listed. You have created this great unique brand character that is hilariously cynical, and you are ready to grump the world into submission.
Can you keep it up?
Because you have to.
If you break character, you run the risk of being deemed inauthentic. If your audience see you break your brand personality, they will start to distrust you. Whatever you decide to go with, be careful to make sure that it is a façade that you can keep to.
I can understand the struggle with brand personality. People write reductive articles and try to pin you down to specific archetypes. However, can any personality truly be described in terms of a single word? That would be extremely limiting.
Instead, try to define yourself in long terms. Allow for some more nuance, and then work to write and create as the voice you have described. Your brand personality doesn’t have to be a singular entity, and in fact the more nuanced your personality, the more human you seem.
If you have any advice for readers on way to launch a winning brand personality, then please comment below. Similarly, comment for any feedback, question or suggestion.