Creating a Personality For Your Brand
Brands are like people. They have a personality of their own. They cannot survive for long in the minds of the consumers for long without a distinct personality of their own. They may not be able to enter the consumers’ mind without one. What is a brand’s personality? A brand’s personality is a set of human characteristics associated with the brand besides having demographic features such as age, gender, socioeconomic class. These are psychographic and emotional characteristics, which give your brand the additional dimensions to make them akin to a human personality so that consumers can identify with your brand. You, as a brand manager need to decide on the personality type, personality traits, and the values for your brand and create a brand with those in mind. Jennifer Aaker suggested that there are five personality types with their respective traits that are universally applicable to brands.
|Personality Type||Personality Traits|
|1. Excitement||Carefree, Spirited, Youthful|
|2. Sincerity||Genuine, Kind, family Oriented, Trustful|
|3. Ruggedness||Rough, Tough, Outdoorsy, Athletic|
|4. Competence||Successful, Accomplished, Influential, A leader|
|5. Sophistication||Elegant, Prestigious, Pretentious|
A brand personality is thus something a customer can relate to. You have to decide based on all the facts, qualities, capabilities, attributes that your brand has, and what could be and what should be its personality keeping in mind the needs and wants of its target audience in mind. Consider these questions as a quick check:
- If The Economic Times were not a financial and business newspaper but a person in flesh and blood like you and me what kind of person would The Economic Times be? Young or old? Male or Female? Educated or uneducated? Graduate, postgraduate, or doctorate? Rich or poor? Urban or rural resident? Tough or gentle? Every time when this exercise is done in brand management workshops, the personality that came out of the respondents was nearly unanimous – Urban male, Post graduate, Upper middle class to rich, middle aged.
- If Johnson & Johnson Baby Care product range were not a brand but a person in flesh and blood like you and me what kind of person would Johnson & Johnson Baby Care Product range would be? Young or old? Male or female? Educated or uneducated? Graduate, postgraduate, or doctorate? Rich or poor? Urban or rural resident? Tough or gentle? Like in the case of The Economic Times Exercise, every time these questions were asked in a brand management workshop, the respondents carved a near unanimous personality for the Johnson &Johnson Baby Care brand as a caring mother.
- Now ask these questions for one of the most successful antibiotic brands – Cipro, the power of parenterals, the freedom of oral dosage. Is it possible to visualize a personality for the brand? Of course yes! It would be a tough, athletic, energetic male with compassion and leadership qualities. This should help you immensely in designing the most important imagery and communication strategies to reinforce the personality characteristics and go whole hog in promoting vigorously till it results in positive consumer perceptions as you intended them to be.
Do this exercise for every brand you want to build. Once you visualize the brand personality based on all its strengths, capabilities, qualities, values, you would be able to create the most appropriate imagery, communication and the works to reinforce the intended brand personality to etch firmly in the mind of the consumer.
Remember, creating a brand personality is your only weapon of sustainable differentiation against competition. Sustainable because one cannot copy a personality!