What is a Brand Personality?

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You may have heard the phrase “brand personality” before but what does it mean? Simply put, brands are like people and a brand’s personality is the set of human characteristics you attribute to that brand.

In other words, a brand’s personality refers to the personification of a brand. If they were a person, what words would you use to describe them? When you have a clear idea of what your brand’s personality is, your company’s whole identity and mission becomes clear.

Successful brands stand out in the marketplace because of brand recognition. These brands elicit a positive emotional response from their customers and they know exactly how to connect with them.

Gone are the days of stiff, corporate-sounding brands. Customers nowadays are drawn to connection and heart! They don’t want to be sold, they want to be educated and guided. Giving your brand a personality will let your customers know exactly who your company is and what they can expect.

There Are Five Main Brand Personality Types

They are excitement, competence, sophistication, sincerity, and ruggedness.

Let’s dive in and define each brand personality type and look at existing brands that have become great examples of brand personalities.

Excitement Brand Type

Often targeted at youthful demographics, brands in the excitement dimension have traits like daring, energetic, imaginative, passion, enthusiasm, and cutting-edge. Everything about their brand makes you feel excited! Life is an adventure and they’re taking you along for the ride.

Examples of excitement brand types might include:

  • Red Bull
  • MTV
  • Lululemon
  • Nike
  • Tesla
  • Airbnb

Competence Brand Type

A competent brand is a reliable, intelligent, dependable, safe brand. Think brands in the financial, insurance, healthcare, and logistics industries. These conservative personalities might be boring but reflect important, valued characteristics nonetheless. You know you can trust these brands because of their consistent dependability.

 

Examples of competence brand types might include:

  • JP Morgan Chase
  • UPS
  • Volvo
  • Microsoft
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield

Sophistication Brand Type

These high-end brands are all about luxury, elegance, tact, quality, composure, and charm. Brands with a sophisticated personality are not bound to one industry and are often found in the fashion, luxury, tech, and automotive industries. When you shop with these brands you know you’re getting high-end quality products, every time. 

Examples of sophistication brand types might include:

  • Chanel
  • Apple
  • Mercedes
  • Hermes
  • Rolex
  • Tiffany & Co

Sincerity Brand Type

Brands that exhibit a sincere personality are wholesome, honest, cheerful, family-focused, down-to-earth, and trustworthy. Brands with these defining traits are often found in the hospitality, food service, safety, children, and family industries. They make you feel warm and happy like you’re a part of the family. There’s often a sense of nostalgia with these brands.

Examples of a sincerity brand type might include: 

  • Campbells
  • Disney
  • Magnolia Home
  • Hallmark
  • Pampers

Ruggedness Brand Type

Think adventurous, outdoorsy, and tough. These brands are built to last, be hard-working, strong, reliable, and authentic. You’ll most likely see these brands in the outdoors, SUV, construction, camping, and sports industries. 

Examples of ruggedness brand types might include:

  • Jeep
  • Patagonia
  • Columbia
  • Jack Daniels 
  • Yeti
  • Timberland 

How to Define Your Brand's Personality​

Whether you’re creating your brand’s personality for the first time or finally jumping on the brand personality bandwagon, make it a priority! Defining your brand’s personality will help every facet of your business from marketing and branding to social media to your customer service. While keeping in mind the 5 main brand personality traits we discussed before, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is your audience?

When it comes to picking a brand personality it’s so important to know who your customers are. If your core customers are under 18 years old a competence brand personality probably isn’t the best fit. Meet your customers where they are.

Axe Body Spray’s brand personality works so well because its target market is an audience of young dudes who appreciate humor. The brand’s personality would be entirely ineffective if the brand was targeting seniors looking for life insurance.

Understanding your customers is key. What are their preferences, expectations and behaviors? Are your customers driven by emotion or logic? Do your customers care more about luxury or affordability? Put in the time to research and truly understand who they are and what they want.

2. What are your values and voice?

What are your company’s priorities? What is the purpose of your company, what are you trying to achieve and why? Identify exactly who you are and what your mission is and then give your company a voice.

The voice or tone you give your company is where its personality can really shine. Is the tone of your company funny and witty? Is it serious and educational? Is it affordable or luxurious? What vibe are you trying to put out?

You know when you see a Geico commercial, you’ll probably end up laughing, whereas when you see an Apple or Coca Cola commercial, especially around the holidays, you’ll probably end up shedding a tear or two. Your voice, tone, vibe, should align with your core beliefs and values, and it should always be consistent.

3. Can you commit and be consistent?

Speaking of consistency… Consistency is key when it comes to brand personality! Consistency is what creates loyal customers, brand recognition and it’s what will set you apart from your competitors. A consistent brand is a dependable brand.

Is your brand’s personality something trendy or is it something you can truly commit to? Can you provide enough content that aligns with your company’s core personality? Customers like knowing what they can expect from the companies they shop with.

Imagine Harley Davidson suddenly marketing itself as a delicate, soft, gentle brand of motorcycles. Their customers would be SO lost and confused, resulting in distrust and probably a little more confusion.

Choose a brand personality that aligns with who your company is at its core, and consistency will come easily.

It’s Time to Discover Your Brand Personality!

When you define your brand personality, you’re giving your brand something to stand for. That, in turn, gives your company a purpose. Having a clearly defined brand personality doesn’t just make your products and content more memorable; it makes your thought leader within your industry.

A brand that establishes a personality, and maintains that personality consistently over time, develops credibility among its competitors and long-lasting trust and loyalty among its customers.

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