The idea of having a brand with a personality sounds counterintuitive to most. We’ve always perceived brands to be a lifeless presentation of a product or service. When we talk about brand personality, some names that come to mind are McDonald’s, Appleand Old Spice, and many others.
The voices these companies use do vary greatly, and each evokes a different reaction in you. What we mean is that their advertising use tones, work choices, colors, graphics and a variety of stylistic tools to set them apart from other organizations.
There are many upcoming start-ups and small business that it was easy to get swept up and labeled as noise by the very people you wish to attract. How do you as a small business find your voice in the sea of many and make potential clients take note of you? If you want to develop your brand personality legally, the first thing you need to do is:
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What is a brand personality?
Brand personality refers to a set of associative and emotional characteristics that typically connect to a brand name or company. It acts as a guide as to how people feel and interact with the company. The brand personality is usually a reflection of the demographic they target. On the other hand, brand identity is what you go about creating that personality. That could be the logos, fonts, colors,etc.
How to create a brand personality
How do you want to be perceived?
Do you want people to find you formal and authoritative or friendly and helpful? This option largely depends on what you’re offering and who your audience is. Knowing your target market helps you adopt a voice, tone,and diction that that specific demographic speaks or understands. If you’re selling life insurance, how you speak to a 35-year-old would be very different from someone at 21 and in their first job.
When you know how you want others to perceive you, it further narrows down how you’ll go about building your brand’s personality.
Formulating the personality
As you settle for creating the content you wish, think of the story you want to tell. We’re a culture that loves storytelling. It is no wonder the movie and series industry is large. The same approach ought to apply when thinking of the emotions and reactions you want to elicit from your target market.
A likely place to start is what you’d say to a person new to your company. What narrative would you use to explain who you are and what you do? There are five common brand personalities used since 1961 are: competence, sophistication, sincerity, excitement, and ruggedness.
Reading through these may have caused you to remember a brand that fell under each category. There, however, exist opposites for these general traits. Again, you can name one or two.
Brand personality and identity go hand in hand. You can’t say your brand evokes excitement yet your wording is overly formal, and your visuals don’t do anything to add to the effect. When developing the two, feedback is crucial.
You can start with an internal survey before roping in your audience. A good starting point is with your logo. How people respond to it lets you know if you’ve hit or missed the mark. In some cases, a rebrand may be in order.
Here are some words to look at as part of your brainstorming session: feminine or masculine, young or mature, inexpensive or premium, inclusive or exclusive, humorous or serious, flexible or rigid.
There are examples of brands that you could deem inconsistent- you’re not quite sure where they stand. One day they may sound professional and the next share a meme that appears inappropriate for the company. What one needs to keep in mind is that everything shared online or offline ought to consistent.
A quick way of understanding it is this way; your personality doesn’t change whether you’re dealing with your boss or best friend. You may use more appropriate words for each (identity) but if both were to talk about you, someone ought to form the conclusion that they’re talking about the same person. The same approach ought to apply when creating and sharing content for the company.
Caution: the audience is more critical than one would think. If you sound different each time, the audience may associate this unpredictability with how you run our business. That, in turn, loses you,potential customers.
Work on the material
Once you’ve fleshed out your personality, you can get started on your collateral. Use words and visuals that show off your unique style. These include color, the typography,and imagery that go on your material.
When starting off, work with a designer to help establish a brand bible and style guide. These will guide those who come after to know the specifications and requirements of making any content, whether running a marketing campaign or holiday cards.
When coming up with the content to use, notice how certain fonts, colors and make you feel. That emotions come up are most likely what your audience will feel. The question, however, becomes, “Is this how I want them to react?” this process may be tasking as most of us tend to gravitate toward what we like and not necessarily what’s best for the company.
Colors play an equally important role. Warm colors are inviting, active and inviting, cool colors give a sense of calm, relaxation and serenity while white space offer simplicity or bleakness. Complementary colors are what a brand that wishes to be seen as trustworthy would use. A company that wants to stand out or be termed bold or energetic would use colors that contrast.
As for typography, using a Comic Sans font for a company that offers funeral services is inappropriate. Serif typefaces go well with brands wanting to be seen as formal and mature while their sans-serif counterparts work best for an informal and modern brand personality. Scrip typefaces appear feminine and extravagant.
If you want something bolder and that says “action,” opt for the uppercase typeface to achieve that goal. For an opposite effect use lower case type. Looking to appear formal and predictable? Use Title cases to achieve that.
Images and shape
We often associate images with borders with solid and formal companies. Those that use heavy borders we tend to consider them as authoritative. The more playful ones use no borders for their images. It’s likely that they use rounded images, as compared to their counterparts who use square images.
Part of creating a combined look is ensuring that their presentation is harmonious. Try aligning or spacing your words and images on a page to see what matches your intentions. You should note how one feels chaotic (small spaces) and the other feels relaxed(large spaces).
As mentioned in the article, tone plays a significant role in creating a finished brand personality. Going back to the example of the boss and best friend, think of how you’d want to talk to that audience and adopt that speaking style.
Ensure that you communicate it with everyone who may speak on behalf of your brand to represent you properly. It should apply to all your platforms. We’ve all come across an attended giving us a happy meal with a serious face. To us, it’s contrary to the brand.