You may view your brand personality simply as a set of emotional characteristics that represent your brand, but brand personality is so much more than a laundry list of traits related to your product. It guides your brand’s expression and representation in the real world, and actively shapes the way people feel about and interact with your company. It influences not just messaging but design, digital experiences, and even retail environments – and how people relate to these.
Consider the in-store feel of two very different brands: ZARA and Tory Burch. ZARA’s floors are concrete, the music pulses, and the woman ringing you up wears a nose ring. In Tory Burch, the doors are a vivid orange, the floors are richly carpeted, and the attendants offer you a bottle of water while you shop. The design and service decisions of both stores are expressive of two very different personalities: one – young, urban and irreverent, the other – traditional, well-heeled, and vibrant.
These brands, among others have put ample thought, time, and money into how their brand is felt, heard and interpreted, and we think for good reason.
So what do we think a brand personality can do for you and your company?
1.) Create a Unified Front
Claudia DiMartino, Designer
“Brand personality helps to shape most touchpoints in the design process. It helps to unify designers and their output no matter what the medium. Identity can be aligned to web, to packaging, to written copy if we all consider the same personality, and how they are likely to look, speak and act. This is important for consistency, and ultimately authenticity. If all mediums are communicating the same thing, we’re more likely to believe this personality is a legitimate one.”
2.) Distinguish Your Brand in the Market
Meghan Berckes, Associate Creative Director
“A brand’s personality is what sticks with consumers beyond a logo, color, typeface, website, or store. It’s an immensely important part of a brand’s identity—yet it can be subjective and hard to quantify. Consumers typically look for brands with personalities that align with their own. In that regard the personality of a brand can be more enduring—and provide more differentiation—than something like a logo.”
3.) Reach the “Right” Customer
Will Geddes, Design Director
“People use brands to help shape their own projected identity. From one’s choice of a particular brand of apparel, to one’s preference for a particular coffee shop, many decisions about where we shop and what we buy are influenced by how we think of ourselves, and ultimately how we want other people to perceive us. This is most obvious in fashion, where sophisticated labels can broadcast a message about our own refinement. But even choices which seem more personal or hidden—like what kind of deodorant we use—or utilitarian—what brand of skis we ride—tend to be made on some level of brand and personality awareness. Am I quirky and young like Old Spice, or am I a professional like Degree? Whether it’s a product that will be seen by others or not, people tend to make decisions that are influenced by how products fit in with their identity. Building a brand with personality means appealing to your customers identities—it means deciding on a tone that’s true to the brand, and one that a specific group of customers can relate to, and adopt as part of their own image.”
4.) Encourage User Confidence
Gina Gutierrez, Sr. Brand Strategist
“We may deny it, but most of us love a little predictability. Knowing what to expect doesn’t make our favorite food or vacation spot any less satisfying — in fact, it makes us like it even more. A brand’s personality, just like a friend’s personality, creates just enough predictability. It helps us to understand the ways a brand will behave and all the ways it will make us feel. Knowing what to expect makes it easy to decide whether we like a company, and whether we want to strike up a relationship with it.”