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VOL. 41 | NO. 27 | Friday, July 7, 2017

Brand personality: Inspire hearts, minds of customers

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Why do some brands speak to us and ignite our souls while others leave us feeling … uninspired? What is it about a brand that makes us feel happy, excited or safe?

The answer? Personality.

Like Pinocchio turning into a real boy, a “real” brand has serious personality. These brands inspire the hearts and minds of customers and experience the effects of customer advocacy, but no brand gets there overnight or by accident. For any brand to thrive, it must discover its human side. This requires thoughtful alignment with the audience you want to reach, as well as some soul searching.

People like businesses for the same reasons your friends like you. If your company mirrors certain traits of your customers, your customers will inevitably feel a certain kinship with your brand.

As an example, think of lifestyle brands like Bass Pro or LuluLemon. Hobbies and interests create a spark.

So how can you be like LuluLemon?

Much of the foundation of brand personality comes from company leadership. A company’s goals, purpose and differentiators set it apart from other companies. Determining these components is key to defining personality.

Disney doesn’t have the only theme park in the world, but the Disney experience is different from any other. That is the essence of what brand personality is about.

What is unique about you? Successful brands appeal to their customer base because they are perceived as having certain symbiotic traits their customers see in themselves. And that perception is by design.

There is a framework marketers use to define brands. It’s based on “The Five Dimensions of Brand Personality” researched by Jennifer Aaker, professor of marketing at Stanford.

In a nutshell, these traits are used as analogies for brand traits. They include sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. Within each trait, there are descriptive words to further hone the personality.

The Dos Equis brand trait is sophisticated, with descriptive words for customer expectations such as romantic, glamorous, charming and clever. In Dos Equis’ case, savvy advertisers brought the brand to life with a hero spokesperson. When you’re faced with “the most interesting man in the world,” how can you not drink the beer?

Owning your brand and living it each day through your communication and culture is the genesis of your brand’s evolution. Once you’ve established your brand’s personality, it is important to embed it into all forms of external and internal communication, including your website, social media, email marketing, the customer service experience, your logo, business cards and product packaging.

Just like a person becomes dimensional with time and experience, so does a brand personality. Consider seeking objective advice from a branding or marketing company that can not only help you define your brand personality, but also share it with the world.

Tricia Warren, marketing strategist at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.

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