Earlier this month Sarah talked about how to name a business. After you’ve carved out a name for your business, you should think about defining more of your corporate identity. After all, it makes a lot of sense to have a holistic business identity that encompasses your business name, brand, logo, and design aesthetic. Your corporate identity should carry a consistent message across mediums – from digital to print and back again. A fundamental aspect of this business identity is its brand personality.
So what’s a brand personality?
Simply stated, it’s the set of human characteristics that help consumers understand and relate to brands through a set of consistent traits. Besides the functional benefits of a product or business, a brand personality provides added value. Customers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own or to one to which they aspire. The brand personality should be infused into naming, website design, logos, and all types of business identity material to reinforce the connection.
Fortunately, you don’t have to conduct a research study to uncover all the possible traits and personalities that exist to describe brands. A useful framework [PDF] was developed in the ’90s that you can use to discover and form your brand’s personality. This framework consists of five major dimensions or factors that can then be broken down into individual traits. The five major factors of brand personality are: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness.
This factor refers to a brand’s level of genuineness. People tend to be skeptical, and they want to do business with genuine, wholesome, honest brands. Accordingly, the sincerity factor can be broken down into four facets: down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, and cheerful. What brands come to mind when you think of these traits?
Does your brand get customers’ blood pumping? If so, then your brand personality is likely covered under the excitement factor. This one refers to a sense of being spirited and carefree. Its facets consist of being daring, spirited, imaginative, or up-to-date. Young, cool brands are associated with this factor.
Is your brand a reliable expert? Then it likely falls under the competence factor. This one is characterized as intelligent, successful, and reliable. Think of brands that exhibit qualities such as: hard working, secure, technical, or confident.
Does your brand portray a sense of aspirational luxury? Then it might give an air of sophistication. The sophistication factor is associated with upper class charm. Its traits include being glamorous, charming, and smooth.
Do you want to convey a sense of unbreakable toughness? Then a ruggedness brand may be right for you. This factor is associated with being outdoorsy and tough. Its key traits include strength and resilience.
Most brand personalities will fit within one of these five key dimensions. Find the one most relevant to your business then dive deeper into its particular traits.
After determining your brand’s personality, embody that identity through color, typography, and imagery. A consistent personality associated with these elements will go a long way toward cementing the way customers identify with your business and your brand!