Brand personality is an integral component of branding and involves the attribution of human traits, characteristics and personality to a brand.
This is a form of humanization that can be highly influential, in promoting a stronger emotional connection between a brand and its consumer. An extremely valuable asset, brand personality is fundamental to the uniqueness, or USP of a business, product or service. This is because it not only equips a brand with a distinctive character, but it also enables it to connect with its target consumer.
Brand managers, marketers and advertisers have all come to the understanding that a target audiences’ perception of a brand, is directly related to its communication/personality. Hence, by focusing and developing character traits, a brands’ marketing becomes more effective, with its potential to attain a competitive edge over its competitors. However personality does not function alone to influence, rather it functions alongside other influencing and classifying factors, which also require representation and consideration. These are areas such as demographics, psycho graphics, emotional and social factors, all combine to create the ‘brand experience’, which helps to form the consumers’ concept of the brand.
To better understand brand personality, you might consider these two examples. Dove skin care was established as a women’s skin care range for ‘Real Women’, but has recently, successfully ventured into the male skin care domain. They have achieved this through a range of products packaged in charcoal grey, that projects a visual message of masculinity, strength and efficiency. However their is a duplicitous side to these products. Because you don’t need to scratch very far beneath the surface, to see the softer, more subtle, feminine qualities that are being promoted. This is because the language being used, is focused on ‘caring, smoothing and softening’. In essence a product created for the ‘Modern Man’. Example two is a comparison of personalities, two computer giants, HP and Apple. HP appears to be older, safer, less vital, less inventive and maybe a little dull. Whereas in contrast Apple is creative, young, exciting, dynamic and fun. The question is, if these were people, which one would you gravitate towards and like to associate with?
A consumer’s investment in a brand, is much more than a financial one, as they often expect brands to accurately reflect their own personal and social standing. Or conversely they opt for brand personalities that they aspire towards, in effect, purchasing a personality ‘off the shelf’. With consumers more likely to buy from brands with personalities that conform to their ‘ideal’, this makes a brand personality as an extremely valuable asset. For example A PR company, can harness a chatty, conversational persona, character traits which would benefit the delivery of their service. Whereas this maybe an inappropriate character for a pharmaceutical company, which may find a more studious, knowledgeable, academic and caring personality more advantageous.
Defining personality should therefore be a carefully considered process. If you plan to project a brand as ‘forthright’, it needs to be absolutely appropriate, to both the product and the consumer. Also it is important that different cultural settings need to be acknowledged, as these can have a baring on the perception of personality. Adjustment of the personality, in accordance with these differences is essential to ensure a higher chance of success.
Modifying a brand to make it more relatable to, is a sure way to provide it with a competitive edge. With consumers more likely to buy products from brands they can relate to, businesses and marketers ensure higher success rates, through the development of effective brand personality.