A brand personality is a powerful part of your brand and something that needs careful thought. Here we take a look at what brand personality is and why it matters so much.

Imagine being in a pub. You’re with your best mate and he/she announces that Keith has been invited to join you. Keith has nothing to say much. In fact he can be very blunt when he bothers to say anything. At night he’s usually with his computer, but no one knows what he does with it. He loves brown. And egg sandwiches.

Now apart from the potential ‘excitement’ of unlocking the secret behind Keith’s nocturnal computer activities, are you looking forward to Keith turning up? No, not really. Poor Keith lacks personality*.

*Brand Glue would like to make it clear that they in no way feel that people called Keith lack personality, personal hygiene or taste in clothes.

What is Brand Personality?

People connect with personalities, and different personality traits can be more or less appealing depending on the people you like and connect with.

It’s the same with brands. People can’t help associate human personality traits with brands, whether they like a brand or have no connection at all. Like humans every brand has a different personality, and brand personality will be viewed differently by different people.

Take Dyson as an example. Brand personalities you might associate with it could be:

  • Clever
  • Forward thinking
  • Creative
  • Meticulous
  • Innovative British inventor

When pushed you could regard it as sexy! After all as vacuum’s, fans and hand dryers go they look pretty special.

Competitors will have their own brand personality and you’ll need to ensure yours is different. It’s true too that sectors will have types of brand personality that many brands in the sector will gravitate towards. Some though will break the mould to stand-out – think Virgin Money and First Direct in the banking sector.

Why Brand Personality matters

People buy products from brands they connect with, and the process of connection is done on a few levels:

  • Does the product functionality fulfil the need?
  • Is it the right price?
  • Does it have the right image and personality?

People are still influenced even when they claim brand is not important to them, and don’t care if it’s not trendy or the one to have. Take Skoda cars, once joked about, but now making cars that win awards.

Skoda brand personality: solid, dependable, thrifty

While the brand may not be as cool or desirable as others in the market, Skoda are creating a brand personality that is thriving: solid, dependable machines that are just as good as their rivals but with smaller price tags. Personality is no less important in this case as people like the thrifty, dependable and mechanically savvy personality that Skoda promote.

Working with a brand personality

People associate brands with personalities and so their connection to a brand will be driven in some part by what they feel about your brand. Whether creating a new brand, or working to strengthen your existing brand, personality can’t be ignored.

New brands need to think carefully about the personality they want to portray. You need the right balance and the right traits to make your brand uniquely feel like your brand. This creates a personality framework so promotional materials, product and the experience you create fits with your desired personality.

For existing businesses you’ll need to check if the brand personality you think you have matches what your customers think about you. The two can be very different! Research can be revealing (as we find regularly when undertaking branding projects for our clients).

Personalities shouldn’t change too much over time as you don’t want to appear schizophrenic. But it’s very useful to set a personality framework which feels right for the business now and into the future. If a few traits challenge the status quo then that often benefits brand development hugely.

The benefits

Setting a brand personality helps shape your brand: the behaviour of your people, the look and feel of your promotional work, product development and the whole brand experience. It’s easy to say, but thinking about what your personality is needs careful thought. It also needs to be truthful, so how you behave matches up to the brand experience. In having a personality though you’ll at least have something to judge decisions, your promotional work and even your people by. After all, it’s all about the right fit, and you might not want too many Keith’s knocking about in your company.