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Brad VanAuken Branding Basics

The Language of Branding: Brand Personality

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Each and every brand should choose an intended personality based upon the brand’s aspirations and its customers’ current perceptions of the brand.  The personality is usually communicated in seven to nine adjectives describing the brand as if it were a person.

A brand’s personality and values are often a function of the following:

•    The personality and values of the organization’s founder (assuming he or she had a strong personality and values)
•    The personality and values of the organization’s current leader (again, assuming he or she has a strong personality and values)
•    The personality and values of the organization’s most zealous customers/members/clients
•    The brand’s carefully crafted design/positioning (explained in this section)
•    Some combination of the above

While personality attributes will vary considerably by product category and brand, in general, strong brands possess the following personality attributes:

•    Trustworthy
•    Authentic
•    Reliable (“I can always count on [brand]!”)
•    Admirable
•    Appealing
•    Honest
•    Stands for something (specifically, something important to the customer)
•    Likable
•    Popular
•    Unique
•    Believable
•    Relevant
•    Delivers high quality, well performing products and services
•    Service-oriented
•    Innovative

Employees are also an important factor in communicating the brand’s personality in organizations in which the organizational brand is used.  This is why companies are increasingly recruiting, training, and managing their employees to manifest their brands’ promises.

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1 Comment

Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with) on February 17th, 2008 said

Interesting. It’s a bit like the process we go through for naming new products, where we ask questions like “If it were a car, what would it be?” and “What time of day do you associate with this product?” If possible, product names should imply the qualities of your overall corporate brand, but the days when it was possible to name something “reliable widget” are long past.

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