Does your brand have personality?

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Brand personality is a set of traits and characteristics attributed to a brand name and identifiable by your customers. When you think of popular brands such as Nike, Amazon, Apple, and perhaps some local brands like Mazzone Hospitality in New York’s Capital Region, an image comes to mind. That image is not created by accident.  These companies created a brand personality to build brand recognition and customer loyalty.

What is brand personality?

Brand personality humanizes your brand to your target prospects and customers. Investopedia explains, “The term brand personality refers to a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name. An effective brand increases its brand equity by having a consistent set of traits that a specific consumer segment enjoys. This personality is a qualitative value-add that a brand gains in addition to its functional benefits. As such, a brand personality is something to which the consumer can relate.”

Brand Characteristics

The characteristics of a good brand can personify and highlight brand image and personality to resonate with your customers. The key is to be true to your authentic self and what your customers know and like about you.

Authenticity is ranked high among today’s consumers.  Educated buyers look for brands they can identify with on social matters, your corporate mission statement, and environmental issues. Brand characteristics are often what your customers and prospects remember most and what encourages them to return to your products and services.

Timeless and authentic branding wins every time! Trendy only sometimes equates to long-term sales or customer loyalty. Brand psychology speaks to the value of consistent messaging and product and service alignment between you and your customers. Your customers want to know you and what you stand for. In turn, you deliver messaging that supports your brand persona.

Why does brand personality matter?

Simple. Branding conjures an emotional connection. Emotional connections build customer interaction and loyalty. The brand personality should reflect the character of the owner and the business. People buy from those they know, like, and trust. Your brand is ‘you’ in the marketplace. When your customer’s personality and your brand personality match, that customer is more likely to engage and purchase.

Relatability aids in customer connection and brand awareness. When your customer relates to you and your brand, it creates the sense that you understand them and offer solutions, whether the perfect birthday gift or catering their next holiday event.

An emotionally driven brand personality creates brand loyalty and support. The car company Subaru was formed in 1967 and had built a loyal following. However, it didn’t enjoy the large scale love and success it has now until the creation of the tagline, “Love: it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.” Newswheel writes,  According to the automaker, the Subaru Love Promise is its “vision to show love and respect to all people at every interaction with Subaru.” Subaru is famously known for championing pet causes, but the automaker actually has its hands in several charitable buckets. These different causes are represented by the Subaru Loves branding: Subaru Loves Pets, Subaru Loves the Earth, Subaru Loves Learning, Subaru Loves to Help, and Subaru Loves to Care.

The personality of Subaru and the organization successfully relate to customers and prospects. “Our customers expect us to do good things in the community, and they look for brands they can align with who have similar values,” said Michael McHale, Director, Corporate Communications for Subaru of America. 

Brand personality examples

We can all think of brands we identify with for community awareness, environment, trend, or status.  Jennifer Aaker identified in her article published in the Journal of Marketing Research that brand personality is made up of five key factors: ruggedness, sophistication, competence, excitement, and sincerity.

Career Addict listed their version of the 20 most inspiring brand personalities.  Below are a few of our favorites.

  1. Nike. Nike is synonymous with winning teams and athletes. The Just Do It slogan is highly relatable and equates to an elite athlete mindset. “Their large personality has sparked great brand loyalty, making many consumers opt for their footwear, accessories, and clothing over their competitors.”
  2. Coca-Cola. “From the get-go, Coca-Cola has been associated with happiness and excitement, with many selecting to consume its products for the experience rather than the taste. People purchase bottles of coke with their name on it (without even consuming the product), TV viewers eagerly wait for the bright Christmas advert to get into the festivities, and celebrity endorsements build an even stronger bond with the general public.”
  3. Disney. Who doesn’t love Disney? The name and brand create happiness and deliver smiles just by the sheer mention. Disney is a product, a service, and a desirable destination. Honeymooners, growing families, and baby boomers identify with this brand’s personality, psychology, and identity.
  4. FedEx. What a slogan, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” What more is there to say? Their personality exudes trust, confidence, expense, and commitment. Companies that use FedEx choose value and critical importance when shipping their products.
  5. Good American. Good American’s name and brand personalities are front and center in their mission and marketing for an unbeatable combination. “The Good American brand, part-owned by reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, is one of the first all-inclusive brands that stock clothes from sizes 0–24. They place themselves as not just a brand but a movement, making women of all sizes feel comfortable and included. They are so dedicated to this movement that they won’t allow their brand to be sold in a store unless all sizes are included in the display range.”


What is your brand personality?

How does your brand connect with your customers? Does what they say about you match what you think they say? Most of the brands we work with are surprised with at least some of the answers. That isn’t surprising at all. You spend so much of your time working in and on your business that it’s really hard to think about it from the perspective of your customer. Our feeling is that if you don’t develop a good understanding of the way your customer thinks about your brand, the rest of the work is… well… just work. Let’s talk about your brand personality, how it fits with your overall marketing strategy, and how it engages your customers. Schedule a 30-minute free consultation If we don’t think we can help, we’ll tell you. Promise.

Resources: CareerAddict, Investopedia, Newswheel, the Subaru Love Promise

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