Branding and storytelling are key tools for building a brand. Strategic brand positioning is mandatory to set competitors apart and to create our unique brand proposition. Today we share useful tips in the process of creating a strong brand personality. 

One of the first tasks of building a brand -besides product development- is to create a story around that product, to define it and to put into words the “reason-why” our future clientele is going to buy our offering. 

However, before we create our signature story, we have to determine our brand’s tone and temperament, in other words, our personality, character, or mood, just as if our brand was a person. 

According to Marketing Expert Jennifer Aaker, “brand personality” is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand”. Humanizing the brand, or at least comparing it to a person, enables consumers to express themselves, an ideal self, or certain dimensions of that self, in order to feel identified with that particular brand universe. 

The personality of a brand is a central driver for consumer preference and to raise interest over time. Therefore, its dimension must be considered when we are tracing our brand strategy. 

More than ever, customers are looking for brands that speak to them in a relatable way. They want to feel identified and connected with an honest and direct attitude that shows the brand’s main principles or core values. 

We must define our brand identity, including a coherent personality, before anything else. For example, one common mistake in brand building is thinking that visual identity, such as logotype, fonts, logomark, website design, or images and backgrounds is not related to personality. 

In this context, if we want to be recognizable to the world, we must decide in advance who we are, and what we represent. 

Brand personality can be very helpful for making an emotional bond with our customers, mainly because the same product or service can be marketed in different ways according to personality and tone. 

A strong brand personality can boost brand loyalty and brand recognition. For example, Apple is well-known as an “innovator” brand, its creativity and originality are both at the core of its brand proposal. Simplicity, minimalist design, and friendly usage are its main attributes. 

A Framework to Build Diverse Brand Personalities

Aaker proposed five brand personality dimensions that we can use to build our path. 

  1. Sincerity: This type of brand possesses a down-to-earth approach, it is honest about everything, wholesome, and it is cheerful about life. We can find it in brands like Gap, Oprah, Dove, Coca-Cola, to name a few. 
  2. Excitement: This type of brand is associated with daring and imaginative scenarios or situations. A spirited attitude is a must and an up-to-date perspective. Some brands in this tone and personality are Red Bull, Diesel, or Disney. 
  3. Competence: When a brand is competent, means it is reliable, it knows how to make intelligent decisions, and it is successful in its field. Brands that want to project a solid reputation and to be trustful, like UPS, Volvo, or Microsoft. 
  4. Sophistication: Although being sophisticated is not a natural human quality, it is an aspirational attribute. Brands that foster sophisticated manners with communication actions, want to charm an status-conscious audience. Premium or luxury brands tap this type of personality, such as Hermès, Valentino, Mercedes Benz. 
  5. Ruggedness: This type of brand has an outdoorsy and tough image. Its goal is to connect with nature, to be authentic, or hard-working. It has the “strong guy/gal” attitudes, such as Patagonia, Jeep, Levi’s, or The North Face.   

Another way to start in the process of building your brand personality is to identify qualities that are consistent into your brand’s category, or qualities that you might find inside your company. Ask people about your brand and identify the first attributes that come into their mind when they see your products. You will gain insight on how you are being perceived. 

You can create a brainstorming session to discuss possible personality attributes. You can make a list of analytical, achiever, agreeable, or animated qualities you might want to foster. Make a list narrowing down to the top ten attributes, and then organize it by priorities to focus on your true essence. 

Developing a brand personality must be a joyful task in building your brand strategy and tone. Stay as imaginative and open as possible, find a truthful purpose and match it with a mesmerizing personality to attract your tribe. The effort is worth it.