July 19, 2021
Brand personality refers to the human traits associated with your brand. It’s conveyed through visuals, tone of voice, interactions with customers, and any other aspects of your business viewable by your audience. It is essentially how your brand would be seen if it was a human.
The concept is similar to that of brand values, with one key difference: where brand values are the principles your brand stands for, brand personality is the human characteristics associated with it.
For a comparison, say you are friends with a down-to-earth woman who places a lot of value on remaining authentic. Her personality is down-to-earth; the value she stands for most strongly is authenticity.
Brand personality is important because it influences how your audience perceives you, and in turn, who is drawn to purchase your products or services. Multiple studies have confirmed that customers are far more likely to buy from a company with a personality similar to their own. Personality also plays a key role in differentiating your brand from your competitors, giving customers a reason to choose you over them.
In 1997, Jennifer Aaker published her study ‘Dimensions of brand personality’ in the Journal of Marketing Research. Her study - still applicable nearly twenty-five years later - defined five distinct dimensions of personality: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Every brand loosely aligns to one personality dimension. For example, Gucci is aligned with sophistication, while Red Bull is with excitement.
You probably have some idea of the personality you want your brand to portray, but how do you demonstrate it to your audience?
Here are four powerful ways!
Visuals are the quickest and most obvious way to convey personality. Your audience’s first impression will be largely determined by the message your visuals give across.
That’s why it’s so crucial your brand’s design aligns with the personality you want to convey.
There are dozens of aspects to consider, including colour scheme, featured images, logo, font, website layout, etc. For example, if you want your audience to see your brand as fun-loving and energetic, bright colours like red or yellow would be more suitable than a subdued grey or black.
Simply by looking at its visual branding, luxury fashion brand Valentino can be identified as sophisticated, glamorous, and passionate.
Its colour scheme is uniformly monochrome, with splashes of deep red. The black and white convey a sophisticated nature, while the red hints at fiery passion underneath. The website design itself is highly minimalist, with thin, clean lines and few graphics. This reflects the company’s personality as cultured and mature.
If your brand were a person, your copy would be how they speak. Speech has a huge influence on how we perceive people, so it’s important to get it right!
When writing copy for your website, social media, or marketing campaign, it’s important your tone aligns with the personality you want your brand to convey. This means it should use appropriate language, grammar, style, humour, mood, structure, formality, etc.
“Ever since we first started selling smoothies from a stall at a music festival, we've been on a mission to make it easy for people to do themselves some good. We get our hands on the tastiest fruit and veg we can find, stick it in a bottle and never add any nonsense like sugar or concentrates. Better to keep it real.”
- Excerpt from Innocent’s website
Drink company Innocent uses tone to convey an informal and fun-loving personality. It uses frequent colloquialisms, jokes, and abbreviations.
As Innocent places a lot of emphasis on the natural ingredients of its drinks, this casual tone creates a more authentic, “earthy” personality, in turn making it more trustworthy.
Social media is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when it comes to branding. Each post you make is a natural, non-intrusive opportunity to demonstrate your brand’s personality.
As there is no explicit difference between a post made by a business and a post made by an individual, it’s easy for your audience to assign your brand a personality based on your posts.
It’s not just posts that have an impact. Every specific action on social media influences opinion. This includes your interactions with customers, the images you use on your profile, who you follow, and what pages you click ‘like’ on.
American fast food restaurant Wendy’s became famous in 2017 for its snarky responses to customer queries on Twitter.
This gave the company a youthful, mischievous personality, contributing to its popularity among young people. It distinguished the brand from its more formal competitors and helped humanise it.
Although this wouldn’t suit all brands, having a named, visual ‘face’ for your brand is a direct and overt method of portraying personality.
This ‘face’ is a person or mascot that represents the company. Your audience will associate the mascot’s personality with your brand’s, turning them your brand’s fictional spokesperson.
American beer company Dos Equis ran a highly successful ad campaign between 2006 and 2018. It featured “The Most Interesting Man In The World”, a sophisticated older gentleman who tells stories to the audience about his daring past adventures.
The campaign was successful because the audience found the character cool, humorous, and worthy of respect. Don Equis explained that “Rather than an embodiment of the brand, The Most Interesting Man is a voluntary brand spokesperson: he and Dos Equis share a point of view on life that it should be lived interestingly."
People associated The Most Interesting Man’s personality with Don Equis’s, and bought the beer because it was a personality they either related to, or wanted to have in the future.
Creating a distinctive personality for your brand is an excellent way of getting people to both remember and grow loyal to your brand. It distinguishes you from competitors and creates a human connection, ultimately reinforcing your brand's identity and driving sales.
We're a digital marketing agency based in Bournemouth, UK.
UKB Marketing specialises in building results-driven marketing campaigns that convert and engage with your target audience, leading to increased revenue.