Brand Personality: Definition, Measures and Formulation
Brand personality is the way a brand speaks and behaves. It means assigning human personality traits/characteristics to a brand so as to achieve differentiation. These characteristics signify brand behaviour through both individuals representing the brand (i.e. it’s employees) as well as through advertising, packaging, etc. When brand image or brand identity is expressed in terms of human traits, it is called brand personality. For instance – Allen Solley brand speaks the personality and makes the individual who wears it stand apart from the crowd. Infosys represents uniqueness, value, and intellectualism.
Brand personality is nothing but personification of brand. A brand is expressed either as a personality who embodies these personality traits (For instance – Shahrukh Khan and Airtel, John Abraham and Castrol) or distinct personality traits (For instance – Dove as honest, feminist and optimist; Hewlett Packard brand represents accomplishment, competency and influence). Brand personality is the result of all the consumer’s experiences with the brand. It is unique and long lasting.
Brand personality must be differentiated from brand image, in sense that, while brand image denote the tangible (physical and functional) benefits and attributes of a brand, brand personality indicates emotional associations of the brand. If brand image is comprehensive brand according to consumers’ opinion, brand personality is that aspect of comprehensive brand which generates it’s emotional character and associations in consumers’ mind.
Brand personality develops brand equity. It sets the brand attitude. It is a key input into the look and feel of any communication or marketing activity by the brand. It helps in gaining thorough knowledge of customers feelings about the brand. Brand personality differentiates among brands specifically when they are alike in many attributes. For instance – Sony versus Panasonic. Brand personality is used to make the brand strategy lively, i.e, to implement brand strategy. Brand personality indicates the kind of relationship a customer has with the brand. It is a means by which a customer communicates his own identity.
Brand personality and celebrity should supplement each other. Trustworthy celebrity ensures immediate awareness, acceptability and optimism towards the brand. This will influence consumers’ purchase decision and also create brand loyalty. For instance – Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra is brand ambassador for J.Hampstead, international line of premium shirts.
Brand personality not only includes the personality features/characteristics, but also the demographic features like age, gender or class and psychographic features. Personality traits are what the brand exists for.
Here’s a step-by-step process for how to do that:
- Brand summary
This first step is where you identify the brand’s/business’ core values. For example, your core values may include: honesty, integrity, excellent communication and client satisfaction. Serious consideration should be given to these values, as they become the cornerstone for developing your Brand Promise (see below).
- Brand audit
This is an internal and external evaluation process to determine how prospects, customers and employees perceive your brand.
- Develop your brand architecture
This is an evaluation of your brand’s features, plus its functional and emotional benefits, resulting in a singular idea of what your brand ‘means’. Brand architecture also defines your ‘value proposition’. There are three core types of value that a company can deliver: operational efficiency (the lowest price), product leadership (the best product), or customer intimacy (the best solution & service). This step will determine which one your company is best equipped to deliver.
- Create your brand personality traits
Next you will select the personality traits you wish your brand to display to the market. Brand personality traits are conveyed in everything you do and create, including how your employees interact with prospects and customers.
- Develop a Brand Promise
This is a clear, engaging, unique, and relevant statement which is aligned with your core, brand values. A brand promise states that if clients use your services, they are assured certain things will occur.
- Write your brand story
This is a short paragraph about what/who your company is, how it got to where it is today and its vision for the future. As no company has the same story, this forms part of your USP or point of difference. It has an underlying theme which conveys your brand values, tells clients why they should care and importantly makes them feel something. This can be used in many ways (as a mission statement, in your company profile brochure or in the ‘about us’ section of your website). It also forms a starting point for creating your positioning statements and other key elements of marketing material.
- Create brand positioning statements
Part one of this step is creating a one or two sentence statement that explains what you do, for whom you do it and how you uniquely solve a need. It gives clients a compelling reason to do business with you and will be found on many elements of your marketing collateral. The second part of this step is developing a tagline. The best taglines tell a story (e.g. American Express: Don’t leave home without it) or are aspirational (Nike: Just Do It) and if possible, also emphasize the brand name (Red Bull: Red Bull Gives You Wings).
- Select brand visual requirements
This is where you match colors, typestyles and logo characteristics to visually reinforce your brand. If you already have a logo, match recommendations to the existing artwork to determine effectiveness, or create recommendations to define a new corporate logo.
- Define brand operational requirements
This step ties all previous work together, by defining how you will deliver your brand promise through its daily operations. It is during this step that procedures and processes are designed to ensure the company delivers what it promises it will. (For example, to implement brand visual requirements of the previous step, you might like to develop a style guide to ensure consistent visual branding).