Brand Personality – Is Your Brand Popular or a Wallflower?

Brand personality is a key component of every brand because it’s the perceived personality of a brand that attracts consumers to it. People innately want to associate themselves with brands that they believe will not only deliver the tangible results and benefits they need, but also the emotional benefits they want.

feelingsIn copywriting, marketers appeal to emotional triggers to elicit an emotional response from consumers and evoke feelings. Those feelings grow into an emotional connection once consumers purchase and try the brand. It’s that emotional connection that leads to brand trust, loyalty, and advocacy. Part of that emotional connection comes from your brand’s perceived personality and how they relate to it.

What is Brand Personality?

party hatsBrand personality is the perceived personality your brand would embody if it were a person. Brands can have a cool personality like Apple or a fun personality like Red Bull. They can have an approachable personality like Honda or a stand-offish personality like Lexus.

Think about it this way — if Hyundai and Bentley were at a party, would they hang out together? Where would Ford and Dodge hang out? Which car brand would be on the dance floor? Which car brand would think they’re too cool to be at the party? Which car brand would wish everyone would just get a long? Which car brand would have skipped the party entirely to go do something better?

Do All Brands Have a Personality?

It could be argued that all brands have personalities, because consumers who purchase brands have feelings about the brands they choose. Those feelings come from consumer perceptions, which can usually be described with personality traits.

However, some brands are easier to define with personalities than others. For example, commodity brands, which are easily replaced, are harder to define with personalities. On the other hand, brands that consumers have deep emotional connections and loyalty to are usually easy to associate with a personality.

Bottom-line, brands with emotionally connected, loyal consumers have grown to a point in their lifecycles where describing their personalities is easy, and that’s what you should aspire to. These brands are powerful, so reaching the point where a brand can easily be defined with a personality by a large audience is an important success milestone.

How to Develop Your Brand Personality

personalitiesDeveloping your brand personality comes in time as your brand grows. As with all branding initiatives, you need to follow the 3 steps of brand building (consistency, persistence, and restraint) and be ready to invest in your efforts for the long haul. No one knew what the Harley Davidson brand personality was when it first launched, but they certainly learned!

It’s also possible to change your brand personality over time. Just as people’s personalities evolve, so do brands’ personalities. For example, no one would have thought 30 years ago that the Old Spice personality would be anything but that of an old man. For years, it was known as the brand your dad or grandfather used. With a new ad campaign and rebranding strategy, the Old Spice brand is successfully changing its personality.

Building a brand personality requires consumer education. You can’t just tell consumers what your brand personality is, but you can offer communications, marketing promotions, and brand experiences that demonstrate your brand personality. From there, it’s up to consumers to develop brand perceptions that lead to brand personality definition.

Stay tuned to the AYTM blog for my next article where you can play Match the Brand to the Personality and get details about some of the best brand personalities.

Images: Metro Centric, Pinti 1, srbichara

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.