One of the subtleties of branding is that consumers sometimes fail to notice how brands identify with certain types of people. It is the rare brand, such as Coca-Cola, Toyota or Tylenol, that is type-neutral. New business owners and entrepreneurs are therefore faced with an identity crisis, so to speak.
In developing their brand, they must discover how to appeal to those certain types. So how should they approach the subject of brand personality type: which personality type should your brand have? Glad you asked.
How Do You Define Personality?
We are all drawn without volition to the public speaker who bounces across a stage, full of energy, wit and charm. Just so are we attracted to the ad full of colour, jokes and just the right wording. In people, however, the word is not so easy to define. There are business owners who are all work and no play, business owners who laugh all day and press the flesh in a happy manner, and business owners who work hard on identifying with his or her customers.
That’s not all there is to personality, though. Personality is in how we use our knowledge, how we listen and converse with others, with what colours, scents, feel and sound we imbue our words, and yes, a few jokes every now and then. So what does this have to do with a brand?
Tone in Branding
Brand personality has a lot to do with emotion as well as attraction according to personal characteristics. The new business owner or entrepreneur offers a service or product which will not have a gender, but it will appeal to one. As an example, do you remember back in the day when Gloria Vanderbilt smiled that it was a shame to call them jeans? Those pants were obviously meant to appeal to the feminine population. How many times did you fellows want to look just like the Marlboro Man or the guy who slapped on Old Spice and was immediately surrounded by girls? While no man would be caught dead smoking a Virginia Slim, no girl would care to be seen in a pair of Wranglers. Most advertising today is emotional in essence, in order to appeal to a consumer whose own personality would benefit from the use of a product.
Research shows that colour, shape, pictures and typeface elicits the emotion that attracts people to a brand. The simplicity of the brown truck with the equally simple UPS logo instils a sense of trust in consumers. The same could be said of a simple apple with a bite taken out of it. People know and recognise this shape and colour as the best of computer and phone products. Perception is a large part of branding. The use of pictures and typeface means that a consumer is attracted to the cute little kid smiling that Band-aid doesn’t come off even in water. On the other hand, MTV with its upper-case letters just shouts “popular music here”! Will your brand personality be sincere and trusty or perhaps informal or fun?
Imagination in Branding
The second portion of branding personality involves excitement over the product or service being offered. A brand identity is a little different from the voice with which it is represented. Nowadays, the celebrity endorsement has segued into the outside-the-box approach to advertising. When a business owner tosses a little creativity into the mix, s/he will generate excitement in their niche, to-wit:
- The blue-tongued, blue-eyed girl dressed in a blue tank drinking Sprite Ice Blue
- The girl squatting at the pavement’s edge thumbing a lift from a Mini Cooper
- M&Ms arranged and lettered like a QWERTY keyboard
- The picture of a small guy singing into the ear of a bigger guy from his MP3 player
- The guy sticking his head through what looks like a letter box marked Password because the Lenovo IdeaPad now recognises faces
Competence in Branding
If you needed car insurance, you’d go with the guy asking if you’re in good hands, wouldn’t you? Should you be in need of food, you’d probably rather have something that is finger lickin’ good or food that someone asks you to eat fresh than junky food, right? Cars that are built like a rock, planes that are now free to move about the country, and the fuel going into them is a tiger in their tanks sound competent to you, yes? It’s the guy who goes with Charles Schwab who understands competence. While your brand should have a personality, it should also instil confidence in your niche market.
Classical or Pop in Branding
Such brands as the sophisticated Macy’s is preferable for some people to K-Mart. A certain type of people would rather use Mercedes than Volkswagen. Some consumers wouldn’t be seen eating at Shoney’s Big Boy when they could dine at a Michelin-rated 5 star restaurant.
Why would a woman wear just any old shoe when she could capture attention wearing Manolo Blahnik? The business owner searching for his or her brand personality should decide whether the product should be eternally classically elegant like Lauren Bacall or perhaps popular and splashy such as one of the Kardashians.
Ruggedness in Branding
Last but not least, ruggedness has been determined as one of the elements of brand personality. Instantly recognisable is the advertising of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company or 3M. Need a chemical for some reason? There’s no one else to whom to go than DuPont. You could also define rugged as “stronger than dirt” when you need a cleaner like Ajax. The new business owner or entrepreneur needs to know if his or her product or service will stand the test of time like the above products as well as appeal to that portion of consumers’ personalities.
When you’re faced with the identity crisis of finding your Brand Personality Type, when you need to know what type to whom you need to appeal, and when you wonder if you can squeeze all this into a workable personality for your brand, contact us. We do this every day, and we will help you figure it out.
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