What’s brand personality?

I was trying to explain brand personality to my 13-year-old son yesterday.

It was hard.

Either I couldn’t explain it or he has the attention span of a gnat.

That’s probably a little unfair, as he successfully live-streamed 3 hours of gaming to YouTube the day the school holidays started. He can focus when he wants to.

But back to brand personality – what’s the point in working on something that’s so abstract that people often don’t get it unless they’re immersed in marketing speak?

Your brand has personality

Well, your brand has a personality whether you like it or not. Whether you actively manage it or not. By some quirk of human nature, we relate to companies and their brands a bit like we do to other people.

We can like or dislike them, trust or mistrust, feel they’re warm and caring or cold and aloof. And those feelings can lead us to keep buying or to look to competitors for more love. Or at least slightly more attention.

Why was I trying to explain this?

Workshops bring personality to life

Well, I was about to run a workshop to help one of my telecoms clients bring their brand personality to life for the thousands of people representing the brand.

And the workshop was to help all those folk express themselves more consistently and in tune with the company’s values.

Giving clear direction

I’d been working with internal teams and their agencies to understand what they’d need from new tone of voice guidelines. And many people were missing a clear picture of the personality they were asking everyone to adopt. We needed some kind of description for people to navigate towards.

If this sounds a bit like trying to develop corporate drones, I don’t think it is. For example, if a company values being reliable, brand personality helps you understand how you can ‘be’ and ‘sound’ reliable. And tone of voice gives you specific writing techniques to get that sound into your writing.

In the workshop we used lots of exercises to explore this brand’s personality, including borrowing character archetypes from Hollywood, which we wrote about a few weeks ago.

Marketers and agencies agreeing

And what we achieved was not just a description of personality, but a team of marketers and agencies agreeing on what they believed in and where they wanted to head.
And that’s why you need to think about your brand’s personality.

Not only will it give everyone in your business and your agencies clear direction; the process of getting to it will help them all agree on that direction.

And that’s got to be good for business, and for customers.