Thursday, April 5, 2012

Does Your Brand Have Personality?

Child SwimmingAll brands and businesses have a personality -- just like people. Consumers tend to gravitate towards brands that have personalities similar to their own, or at least their aspirational view of themselves. Personality is evident in the style and tone of all communication and interaction with the consumer – from the advertising, packaging, and social media to the sales person and customer service voice on the phone.

Brand Personality is defined as the application of human personality traits to a business or brand. There are said to be 5 main dimensions of brand personality (according to Investopedia  and based on work by JL AAker):

Excitement: carefree, spirited, youthful
Sincerity: genuine, kind, family-oriented, thoughtful
Ruggedness: rough, tough, outdoors, athletic
Competence: successful, accomplished, influential, a leader
Sophistication: elegant, prestigious, pretentious

Brand personality can also include dimensions like young, old, affluent or poor, etc. which are not human personality traits, but can describe brands. (Batra, Lehman, Sing) 

Its easy to see why businesses would rather focus on deliverables rather than personality. Skills, process and logistics seem easier to control; personality seems squishy. When brand personality is explored, it is a somewhat marginalized marketing exercise that few in the organization ever see.  Large, successful companies, know the value of personality. Consumer electronics have tried to emulate Apple’s approachable tech savvy and hip personality, while fashion and entertainment brands work hard to define their personality in trendy, outrageous or classic approaches.  Ignoring personality can lead a businesses or brands to send mixed messages to their audiences – which can lead to lost business.   

Practical steps to define and improve your brand personality

  1. Find out from customers what personality traits are associated with your business.
  2. Define and record what characteristics are important to your customer and the organization itself.  Step back and put yourself in your customer’s position and ask what type of firm you want to deal with. 
  3. Understand which behaviors your company or brand exhibits (or neglect to exhibit)that are detracting from the personality you think the business should have. 
  4. For each of the most important personality traits, brainstorm ways in which your company can act differently in the eyes of the customer.
  5. Put specific actions in place to realize these changes.  Use measurement to drive performance.  Monitor the results both internally and by asking customers whether they are seeing a difference.

Interactions with brands and consumers are the same as between people.  Brand personality means a lot to the customer and is a great tool to support company goals.

1 comment:

Jim Matorin said...

Rock solid post. All the great brands have personality. So few companies understand that.