Brace for impact: brand personality explained

Written by Rob Nolten on 18, Auth 2020

So.
You just met this fashionable colleague at a congress who you had a brief talk with, wearing amazing shoes. You go back to your hotel, forgot her name but managed to find those shoes online. Click, in the pocket!
 
So.
You love your job. But if it wasn’t for that one nerdy teacher 20 years ago, whose classes were an inspiration every single time, you wouldn’t have made it this far. Miss Halbrook supported you diligently and was always there. She took you seriously no matter what you said and had your back on multiple occasions. And yes, she was funny as well. 
 
Now guess: which person is more likely to make a lasting impression in your brain and have an impact on your life?

A brand needs personality

In a world of digital sameness and brand similarity, standing out is key. To conquer a position in the brain of your consumer, you have no choice but to be different. Having said that, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go for the (visual) extreme.
 
By understanding who you are as a brand, your brand story becomes authentic and consistent. You allow yourself to make relevant choices. Maybe even stand for things, have a purpose. That is already more than most brands can show for. Being yourself is often very unique.

 

Be your unique self, but sell it well

Conquering a brain position is exactly what a brand with a great personality can do (think about the teacher), as opposed to brands that merely act as labels (fashionista, anyone)?
 
Think like a human. People want to be able to figure out what kind of company you are. Why should they listen to you, follow you, hang out with you. Whether they can like and trust you. And if they should spend their hard earned money on you.

But when they do, they will remember you forever. You now have new best friends, because you made them relate.
 

 

Best practices for your brand personality

  1. Don’t forget: you develop your brand personality with actual people in mind. You want your brand to be something your audience can relate to. It’s about human characteristics that are connected to a brand, and how they attribute to the organization and fit its culture.
  2. Before developing a brand personality, have your brand fundamentals in order. Understand your mission, vision, values and other ones.  If these are still unclear, ask yourself some questions:
    • What is unique about your products or services? What sets you apart from the competition?
    • What are your core values? Your mission? How are you changing the world? What gets you up in the morning?
    • What is it you are really good at?
    • Who do you talk to? Where is your audience? What do they need?
  3. Assess what your target audience feels about your brand so far, and figure out what it is about your organization that people like, and dislike.
  4. Find the right archetype (there are more or less 12 archetypes a brand personality can be based on) as a start for your own brand personality. Most brands stop at the archetype. Don’t. Often you will find two or more archetypes that are close to you. Combine, iterate, slash, add and create to make a bespoke, unique personality for your organization.
  5. How will you speak to your audience? Create a unique tone of voice that fits you and stick to it. Make clear outlines and guidelines, to be sure everybody communicates consistently with one voice and the right tone across all channels and touchpoints.
  6. Find a celebrity example that matches your final personality. This makes it instantly easy for people to understand the direction you are going with your brand.

When you define the personality of your brand, you’ll begin to connect more and deeper with your target customers. A personality is not only crucial for creating the foundation of your brand’s style, but it is important for shaping your marketing strategies and messages too. Our human characteristics shape how we speak and act in certain contexts and conditions. In the same way your brand’s personality will help you make better brand decisions for each aspect of your business. 

How DPDK develops a brand personality

We start assessing all current documentation regarding brand, products, services and more. Often you can find a tone, a mission or a vision hidden between the lines. After the assessment, we have an understanding about what is, what is not and what needs to be better. That will often then be discussed and taken care of during a workshop (or two) with stakeholders of the brand. Having a free running conversation with all involved, with or without exercises is a great way to get everybody on the same page and gather insights and information.


Then we mold all the information and insights we gathered into a brand compass, and start crafting a unique and fitting personality for the brand, using archetypes, insights, experience, and some magic.

 

STORY WRITTEN BY
Rob Nolten
Creative Director
Rob Nolten
Creative Director

Want to create a powerful brand personality?

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