by Payton Shand
When it comes time to make a purchase, customers always have choices. And since they’re now more informed than ever before, their buying decisions increasingly come down to which brand they like more.
Just as people form relationships with others based on their personality, they are increasingly developing connections with brands the same way. The digital era has blurred the line between human and brand — to win a loyal customer base, a brand personality that aligns with the company’s strategic narrative is essential.
A personality that is consistent with a brand’s strategic narrative and positioning establishes an emotional connection with prospects and customers. A brand with a defined personality:
Becomes instantly more memorable. Slack has grown to dominate communication among teams. Despite its product not being much different from competitors, its marketing campaigns are playful, eye-catching and emphasize a different view of life at work. Slack has successfully differentiated itself from its competitors by telling a brand story personality that feels different, more than anything else.
Establishes trust and confidence. Cisco has leveraged its secure, reliable, and innovative personality to create a unique brand identity that resonates with its B2B customers in the networking and cybersecurity industries. Cisco’s marketing focuses on providing a comprehensive suite of solutions that help businesses operate securely and efficiently. Across the networking and cybersecurity industry, Cisco’s customers view them as the only option.
Increases sales funnel efficiency. Adobe’s brand personality is centered around creativity, innovation, and empowerment. Through its personality it is able to cultivate a strong emotional connection with its customers. Adobe focuses its marketing efforts on providing tools and resources that enable creative people to create and deliver engaging content across various channels. Adobe’s customers aren’t just customers, they see the brand reflected in their own creativity and outputs — a personality-based connection that has kept Adobe dominant in its industry for decades.
While these brands are recognizable household names, any brand can build a personality that is easily recognizable and resonates with their target audience.
To develop a brand personality that will help you be seen as essential:
Define your strategic narrative. To create the right personality, you must be absolutely clear on the customer your brand is meant to serve, and how you want them to perceive your own company as their trusted guide or mentor. Defining this relationship in the form of a story will create focus for your personality.
Personify your brand. Imagine your brand was a person, what would they be like? Since people increasingly interact with brands as if they were human, it can be helpful to look at how your company is described in the story and personify it. Your customer is on a quest — who would they look to for guidance?
Define a list of adjectives to describe this individual. What words describe the personification of your brand? Challenge yourself to be specific and unique; “fun” brands are not nearly as memorable as one that aligns with your customers’ own needs.
Refine this list to 3–5 characteristics. A brand personality must be usable by your team to write copy, craft pitches, and give a clear voice to your brand when it interacts with customers. To do that, narrow your list down to a smaller set of characteristics. Ask: how should a prospect or customer feel coming away from an interaction with your brand?
Stress-test the personality. Go back to your original strategic narrative: does your description line up with how your brand is positioned? Map out how your voice and tone would change in different situations, and how you think your customers would respond.
Tell your story. People love being around a winning personality. Once yours is defined, share it — and your strategic narrative — far and wide.
By promoting a consistent set of human characteristics across all touch points, a brand differentiates itself and becomes more memorable in the minds of customers. This leads to increased brand loyalty and a willingness to associate closely with the brand that is required for advocacy and evangelism.