You may have heard the term brand personality being used lately. But what is it, and is it useful as a marketing tool for you? Or just another useless buzzword?
What Is It
Brand personality is really a set of human characteristics that is associated with a brand.
Harley-Davidson might be described as rugged. Apple as irreverent. Starbucks as thinking. Dunkin Donuts as practical.
The outgoing brands may stand out more, but in some markets that is not needed or even wanted. Like the quiet kid with good grades back in school, people may assume the “quiet” kid is also the “smart” kid. It may also go that way with your brand.
You may be a quiet company without much marketing. But you may have earned a reputation as a competent company that delivers quality products. That reputation may be expressed in human characteristics such as “That company is sharp. That organization is reliable.”
Guides Marketing Efforts
When you go to a party, whom do you seek out? People who are like you. Likewise, you can connect with your market better if your brand personality matches your market’s needs and desires. It shows you understand your market. It helps you connect to the market.
It can also help you differentiate from products or services in the same market. Your brand personality, as expressed through your marketing, can separate you from the pack.
Characters Create Personality
A brand personality can guide media choices and message choices. Sometimes the personality is the message itself — created to convince consumers that your brand is something, or “someone,” they can relate to or enjoy. You can actually create a brand personality and a brand identity at the same time.
Using characters in your advertising, you can create the brand personality and a brand identity in one shot. Consider Captain Morgan…the T-Mobile Girl…The Geico Gecko, or the Energizer Bunny.
One of the best examples was the Apple campaign using two males to represent Mac and PC respectively. The funny and hip male introduces himself, “Hi, I’m a Mac.” And the square guy says, “Hi, I’m a PC.” If you’ve seen the spots, you can tell how the personality of each character positioned each product, and how Apple went a step further and positioned the competition as well.
Use It Or Lose It
You have a brand personality, whether you choose to use it or not. You can also change it to some degree. And it can be a powerful marketing tool. But if you don’t use it in your marketing, don’t be surprised if your competitor does.