You have a brand personality, whether you know it or not.
Everything your business touches, from operating processes to marketing to customer experience to company culture –establishes and distinguishes you in the marketplace.
Think about the human personality. One can come off as snobbish, aloof, energetic, compassionate, quiet, loud, pushy, patient, and so forth. A person’s personality can attract or repel relationships.
Your brand also conveys a personality type that can attract or repel customers.
Your customers will react similarly to your brand personality as they would to a human character trait. For example, they’ll trust you, want to get to know you, or they might distance themselves from you or not trust your ads or products/services.
So, is your company’s personality authentic?
Does it align with how you want your consumers to think of you and your business?
Why Is Your Brand Personality Important?
Unless you’re operating in a very narrow niche, you have plenty of competitors targeting your consumers. And all of them are utilizing digital marketing to sell their services or products to your target audience.
Information overload is one of the primary challenges to effectively reaching your consumers. If your company personality is indistinguishable, your consumers won’t remember you when they’re ready to purchase.
Your brand personality sets you apart from your competitors.
Marketing is about developing a relationship with your consumers. Therefore, your brand’s character traits should create an emotional connection and be memorable and instantly recognizable. Additionally, it should be consistent, conveying authenticity and building trust in your brand.
Relationships are built on trust.
Think about some of the larger companies, such as Apple. Apple’s brand personality is innovative, imaginative, cool, and trendy. This personality comes through on all their marketing materials, from their website and social channels to TV and digital ads. If you experienced a different personality trait, you would be confused and wonder if Apple has re-branded.
Another example is Nike—no bounds. Nike’s personality expresses freedom from constraints—“just do it.”
Google’s personality expresses intelligence, reliability, high quality, and dominance.
REI’s personality is strong, outdoorsy, and rugged. Their company personality is expressed in all their marketing materials. When you visit the REI website, you are immediately greeted with the message, “gear up and get ready for adventure.”
Check In With Your Brand Personality
You may not have thought much about your brand’s personality as a small business owner. Most businesses are focused on their product or services. As a result, you most likely invested the time to develop a brand image across all your products and digital channels.
But, what does your brand image say about you?
Does your digital and traditional messaging and content convey a business personality that is authentic to who you are?
Does your brand voice distinguish you from the competition? Are you expressing yourself in a way that builds trust and loyalty to your brand?
Easy Steps To Help You Build An Authentic Brand Personality
An article authored by Jennifer Aaker in the Journal of Marketing Research lists five dimensions of brand personality.
Within these five dimensions are numerous personality traits. For example, brand traits related to excitement would include imagination, daring, passion, and boldness.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to this paradigm, but it gives you something to think about.
Sit down with your team (or yourself) and list five adjectives that describe your brand.
Is your personality
If you were to select a spokesperson for your brand, what qualities would that person need?
Who are your customers? How would your customers describe your brand? (you can survey them to find out) Why have they chosen your products or services?
How To Be Sure Your Brand Personality Is Authentic
Revisit your business plan, vision and mission statements, and core values.
Don’t have business goals and objectives? So, you’ll want to stop here and write down your brand’s vision, mission and objectives. These are critical elements for any successful marketing plan.
Does your company’s personality align with them?
If you discover conflicts, you should adjust the personality you project to align with your vision and mission.
I offer a note of caution here—be careful of adopting a brand personality based on selling. First of all, everyone is not your customer. Secondly, if your brand personality is shaped by what you think will bring in the most potential customers, your audience will see through it. Thirdly, pursuing such an approach results in losing yourself. You won’t remember who you are, why you started your business, or what you want to contribute to the world.
Be careful of shifting your brand personality to comply with algorithm changes. It’s very tempting nowadays as we struggle to have our brand voice heard through the digital noise. Social platforms revise algorithms, and many brands feel they need to switch gears to keep their audience or to grow followers.
Authenticity, consistency, and excellent customer experience are key to business growth, not pivoting according to algorithms.
Conduct an audit of all digital assets from your website copy to packaging, brand messaging, and social media content. Now match the brand traits you previously identified to the imaging and messaging you publish. Does it match up? Is consistent? For example, is the brand personality reflected on your social channels the same as the personality reflected on your website? What about your video content? Is it consistent with your brand personality?
For instance, let’s say you’re a business coach and want your brand voice to convey leadership, innovation, strength, and confidence. Audit all your marketing assets. Do they express strength and confidence? Is there any messaging that says doubt, worry, or fear?
Perhaps you’re a startup selling a new app designed to simplify workflow. Your brand personality might be efficient, simple, easy, or productive. Is this personality expressed in all of your marketing assets? Or is your messaging complex and complicated?
Once you’ve developed your personality, you’ll want to prepare a brand style guide. This will ensure that the essence of your business is reflected consistently across all marketing messaging, your website or social selling channels, the content you create and publish, and customer service.
Don’t forget about,
Review And Optimize
Establishing your brand personality is not a one-time job. You’ll want to be ready to optimize or revise depending on your business growth and your customers’ needs. By conducting market research and engaging social listening tools, you’ll learn what your target audience needs and how they respond to your brand personality. If you discover that your customers are not picking up the brand personality you’re trying to project, it’s time to correct your marketing materials so that your voice aligns with who you want to be.
Developing a personality for your business is essential to business growth. A consistent expression of your brand voice enables your customers to establish a relationship with your business. You’ll differentiate yourself from your competitors and build trust in your brand. The ROI is worth the time it takes to focus on developing and optimizing your brand personality.
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