Create your brand voice and tone
Once you have identified the archetypal mix and created your brand vocabulary, you will have plenty of insights into your brand’s personality.
In this task, you start to lay down the brand voice and tone – how it sounds, looks, and feels to the audience.
However, remember that this personality framework is not 100% set in stone. Voice and tone can change and adapt to different media, campaigns, and contexts.
Identify the brand personality approach.
Jennifer Acker published a personality framework in 1997 in which she proposed five personality dimensions that can be applied to brands.
They are sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness.
Sincere brands are honest, grounded, transparent, and trustful. They typically focus on quality, legacy, and trust.
Example of a sincere brand is Patogonia which has built up a personality of trust and care for the environment. This description of their Word Wear program says it all:
““One of the most responsible things we can do as a company is make high-quality stuff that lasts for years, so you don’t have to buy more of it. Buying a used garment extends its life on average by 2.2 years, which reduces its carbon, waste and water footprint by 73%”.”
Companies that exhibit imagination, cutting edge, inspiration, and even edginess could be said to have the excitement personality dimension.
A great example of an exciting brand is Red Bull. One look at their branding, advertising, product claims, or anything to do with Red Bull, and you will see excitement oozing out.
Red Bull sponsors extreme sporting events full of excitement and exhilaration and does a great job broadcasting its personality through these events.
Brands that show reliability, responsibility, efficiency, and intelligence could be considered as showing the competence personality dimension.
An excellent example of a competent brand is Apple. People come to associate reliability and intelligence with anything Apple does or produces. Although innovation is at the essence of Apple, the messaging and personality these days tend to be more about competence than simply innovation.
Brands that exude glamour, luxury, pomp, and class can be thought of as brands showing sophisticated personalities.
An example I love of this personality is GUCCI which is at the top of the luxury brand game and prices their products so high that they are not affordable to most people. They couple that with the glamour and romance of luxury to pull off complete sophistication.
Brands that seem tough, masculine, and outdoorsy usually have ruggedness as their personality dimension and tend to attract a predominantly male audience.
A perfect example of a rugged personality is JEEP, whose products, branding, and messaging all push the rugged nature of its character.
Create the brand personality
Once you decide which personality dimension most suits your brand based on the archetypal mix, it is time to lay down specific characteristics you want your brand to exhibit and own.
Start with beliefs and opinions. This makes your brand more human.
Yes, you read that right. Your brand should have opinions on things that relate to your audience and your market segment.
Don’t be shy or afraid. Of course, ensure you are not taking extremist views or rubbing your audience the wrong way.
That is why it helps to create those wafer-thin audiences ICPs.
Next, figure out the attitude of the brand. This will show itself as the voice and tone of the brand. Within the context of the personality dimension, determine what attitude you would like to show.
Write down a detailed description of how you want your brand to behave in different situations and scenarios, such as when onboarding customers, dealing with complaints, etc.
And voila! Your brand personality is ready!
Understand how to manifest your brand personality
To help you understand how a brand persona manifests in the real world, search for and identify big brand adverts that align with your personality – search on Youtube for videos of adverts that convey the brand personality you are going for. This is not an easy task, but with patience and time, you can find good videos that relate to your brand personality.
Study these to see how big brands showcase their brand personality. Just as a guide.