Brand personality, and how to get one

By Anders Björklund

Brand personality, and how to get one

What brand would you like to go to dinner with, if you can choose any? For example, I would go to dinner with Amazon. What brand would you have chosen, and why?

For me, the brand you pick shows the power of brand personality. It helps you relate to a specific brand that mirrors the characteristics you value. And it can also inspire you to connect with certain brands that demonstrate the features you hope to develop.

So, let's explore why brand personality matters and how to create your brand personality.

What is a brand personality?

For me, your brand personality is the set of human characteristics that you attribute to your brand. Alternatively, it's how you would describe your brand if it were a person.

Your brand personality reflects in brand messaging, images, and campaigns.

Additionally, consistency is critical. For example, suppose your brand's personality differs between your company website and social media touchpoints. In that case, it will be difficult for potential and existing customers to learn who your brand is and what it stands for.

Let's look at a few examples to understand how brand personality influences your brand.

Brand personality dimensions

Let's say that there are three dimensions, or pillars, of a brand personality: 

  • Competence
  • Sincerity
  • Sophistication 

These pillars can be jumping-off points when identifying your own brand's personality. However, unique brand personality traits fall under each broader dimension. Therefore, the more specifically you can determine which characteristics belong to your brand, the more authentic and memorable your brand's personality is. 

Let's explore some specific personality traits that could fall under each pillar:

Traits that relate to competence:

  • Conscientiousness
  • Dependability
  • Intelligence

Traits that relate to sincerity:

  • Authenticity
  • Honesty
  • Trustworthiness

Traits that relate to sophistication:

  • Composure
  • Confidence
  • Elegance

How to create a brand personality     

Now that we have explored some examples and traits of brand personalities, it's time to create your brand personality. You'll want to do this as soon as possible. Your brand personality will help you make decisions and ensure your entire team and company remain consistent across channels — consistency is vital for brand recognition and long-term customer loyalty.

It's no difference whether you're creating a brand personality for the first time or if you want to revamp your present brand personality; I'll try to keep you covered. Below you will find the six steps that I believe you'll need to take to create a solid and enduring brand personality.

Outline your brand values

Like a human being, your values shape who your brand is and how your brand acts. So you want to start by outlining your core values. Then ensure they align with what matters most to your target customers.

Once you've outlined your brand's values, create them in a value statement. Your value statement must be the foundation of your brand personality.

Use your target customers as inspiration

Start by interacting with your target customers; they already know who your brand should become. It would help to consider your audience's preferences, behaviours, expectations and needs.

The deeper you understand your target customers, the easier it will be to envision your brand personality. Your brand must reflect and reinforce your buyer persona — or who they want to become.

Ask questions as if your brand were a human

When you've constructed an outline for your brand's personality, you should refine it by asking questions as if your brand were a person.

Consider asking:

  • What do you want the target customers to say when your brand enters the room?
  • What does your brand talk to its friends about?
  • What makes your brand excited?
  • What makes your brand scared?

You must explain in detail describe who your brand is. However, it would help if you didn't use this detailed description public-facing. Instead, it would help if you used this description on the back end so your and your team can create things that resonate with your target customers and begin building strong brand loyalty. If done effectively, your audience will start connecting to your brand without realising why they feel as emotionally compelled as they do. 

Create a brand guide

Over time, your team changes. New colleagues join you; some colleagues leave, and some remain. If you have strong guardrails that outline who your brand is, you avoid the risk of diluting your brand personality over time.

Therefore, you must have a brand style guide that outlines how your brand personality will display in everything from fonts, colours, visuals and images to voice and tone. The more specific you are in your brand style guide, the greater your consistency will be. Additionally, you'll want to outline who your brand isn't. You do this to ensure your brand is perceived the same way, no matter how your target customers interact.

A brand personality should inform everything from formulating, visualising, and producing things to where your brand appears. Developing a brand personality is essential to guide your company and ensure that potential and existing customers feel continuity across every interaction with your brand.

Iterate and evolve

Over time, as you get more input and facts, you'll want to remain open to iterating on your brand personality to state if it still serves your target customers or meets their preferences, behaviours, expectations and actual needs.

For instance, perhaps your target customers feel your brand is too aggressive. So you might soften your brand's personality, use a more calming tonality, and change the focus of your brand style across your touchpoints to fix this.

With these tips in mind, you're on your way to developing a solid and enduring brand personality that works better for your brand. Your brand personality directly impacts how emotionally invested your customers are in your company and how willing they are to stick around for the long haul. So if you don't have one yet, it's time to start.

Want to know more about branding? Please look at our comprehensive guide to branding your business, or download the brand loyalty guide below.  

Download the brand loyalty guide

Download the brand loyalty guide

How to build brand loyalty
Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
Keep me updated!