- A brand develops a personality when its messaging takes on human-like traits, making it more memorable and relatable to customers.
- The Brand Archetypes Framework breaks down brand personalities into broad categories of human traits.
- When your brand personality resonates well with potential buyers, it piques their interest and makes them more likely to connect with and favor your business.
What is a brand personality?
No matter what it is that you have to offer, selling a product or service means selling a brand along with it. How deliberately you do the latter and what kind of strategy you use is up to you. Your brand personality is meant to humanize your brand: It’s obviously not a living and breathing individual, but potential clients get a good grasp of what kind of person it would be.
What kind of “voice” does your brand have? Is it funny and carefree? Is it serious and determined? What kind of impact will it make with your target audience? These are just a few of the many questions to ask as you create and cultivate your brand personality. The more clearly established that personality is, the more consumers will relate to it - and the more likely they’ll support your business.
Using the Brand Archetypes Framework
According to psychologist Carl Jung, people can better understand concepts by associating them with familiar symbols. This translates nicely into branding and allows us to use the Brand Archetypes Framework to give a more personal, “alive” feel to a brand.
An excellent place to start is deciding what you want from your brand. Movie characters need motivations to give context to their actions. Your brand should be guided by similar motivations that dictate the actions and choices that fulfill your brand personality objectives. Your brand should have an end goal for itself, and maybe even for the world at large.
How do you want customers to view your brand? In that same vein, what does your brand empower your customers to do? Once you’ve nailed these details down, it becomes easier to put together your brand personality. Read on to see brands that embodied some of the personality traits from the Brand Archetypes framework:
Connect with others
Some brand personalities are all about establishing and strengthening connections with others. Whether it’s families, friends, teammates, or pets and their humans, these brands sell positive relationships. The relationships in our lives are a huge part of who we are as individuals, so it makes sense for brands to align themselves with the formation and maintenance of the connections that give meaning to our day-to-day lives.
VICTORIA SECRET + THE LOVER
Take for example international lingerie sellers Victoria’s Secret. They don’t just show you models with fit figures wearing their lacy underwear. They use those images to tell you a story about romance and sensuality.
The particular brand personality that Victoria’s Secret employs is The Lover, a social type that promotes intimacy and all the good feelings that come from being with someone special. Victoria’s Secret doesn’t need to show you anything explicit to get this message across. Instead they rely on the assumption that you already know that nice, warm feeling, and how enjoyable it is, especially when shared.
Create structure amid chaos
From the classroom to your office and to your home, you’ll always get plus points for productivity. Just the sheer number of productivity-related apps available show how much people crave efficiency and effectiveness in getting things done.
Some companies’ answer to this need for stability is The Lover. This brand personality wants to create structure in a chaotic world and make its clients feel like the boss, no matter what their job title may be.
MICROSOFT + THE RULER
Microsoft is a perfect example of a business with a strong Ruler personality. Their whole mission is “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” They want to take control, lead by example, and encourage their customers to do the same.
For the average person who has to stay on top of their schedule, meet deadlines, and come through on their personal and professional commitments, this is exactly what they should be doing. Great thing is, Microsoft isn’t shy about how determined they are to set these people up for success.
Change the world
There is no shortage of youthful, edgy brands that urge customers to “break the mold” and leave the naysayers in the dust. This brand personality is The Rebel, and the Rebel is always seeking liberation. Brands that channel this personality aim to appeal to those who might not fit in with the crowd, and tell them to be free and embrace their uniqueness rather than feeling alienated or ashamed of it.
HARLEY DAVIDSON + THE REBEL
What could be more freeing than rolling down the open road on a huge motorcycle, without a care in the world? Harley Davidson tapped into that image, and with some help from devoted fans of the brand, their name and logo became synonymous with freedom and power.
Another smart move from Harley Davidson? They worked to expand the appeal of their brand personality by advertising motorcycles - machines that most people might associate with youth and masculinity - with models of different ages and genders, from yuppies to soccer moms.
Do you have fond memories of cute, cheesy, or funny commercials that made you go “Aww”? Relating that fuzzy feeling to a specific product or service is a strategic branding move because we love to see these wholesome and adorable moments, which in turn we automatically associate with the brand.
COCA-COLA + THE INNOCENT
Coca-Cola’s original slogan, first published in a newspaper way back in 1886, was simply “Delicious and refreshing.” It gave consumers a solid idea of why a Coke can satisfy their taste buds, but not much beyond that. Let’s fast forward to 2009: The message has changed to claim that when you open a Coke, you “Open happiness.” It’s not just about the soda tasting good and quenching your thirst. It’s about the joyful experience that comes with taking (and sharing) a drink.
The “Open happiness” campaign spawned some of their most successful ads in more than 130 years of business. “Open happiness” is quintessential of The Innocent, a brand personality that is searching for paradise. This archetype touches the part of us that craves for something good and pure - those moments that restore our faith in humanity when we feel sad or hopeless.
Your brand personality is non-negotiable
Potential buyers will have a tough time deciding whether or not to champion your company if they don’t know exactly what you’re bringing to the table. Give them more than just a product description or a generic picture of your services. A carefully curated brand personality sets their expectations for who you are as a company and creates an impression of “oneness”.
This “oneness” is a vital aspect of people’s impression of your brand, and not just for aesthetic purposes. While a good look can give your brand a boost, a consistent, well-thought-out brand personality makes you stand out amongst your competitors. When they see a brand personality that resonates emotionally with who they are or who they want to be, they’re more likely to make a purchase from the brand. Brand personality makes a difference in how the public perceives your organization, and more importantly, in your bottom line.