Putting PERSON-ality into your Brand
Brand personality. The two words you have heard about, but possibly not really figured out what it means in practice. Let me help.
There is no doubt that, the more human your brand is, the more you will be future-proofing your business. Right?
With up to 5 different generations in the workplace today, and therefore who have disposable income – there hasn’t been a more important time to emotively engage with your dream clients/customers.
You and I both know, that people buy people, so it naturally follows that human-focussed communication and marketing is the only way forward. This is why it is worth doing some work on the character of your brand – the “personification” of your brand…if you will.
Choosing a personality for your brand
This can be a tricky area and feel a little weird to do for what is “inanimate” object (i.e. your business). But, let’s go back to primary school English Language lessons – where you learnt how to identify when author was attributing human-like attributes to objects or phenomena.
Brand personality – is a little similar. What we want to do first though is to identify the character(istics) that you want people to attribute with your brand. This helps you (as the author in this metaphor) to use the right words, phrases and emotive language to support bringing this character to life.
There are few different ways that you can go about this. To make things easier for you, I am going to just describe how I work through this with clients.
CAVEAT: make sure you work out what type of brand you are working on first, ok? That will help to give you some context to the exercise. The priority of your personality exercise should be: the “head/leading” brand, and then you tackle any subsequential brands (e.g. product / service sub-brands).
How to decide on a brand personality
I am going to work on the assumption that you are a self-employed subject matter expert (consultant, niche coach, etc) reading this, so what I am about to describe for you will be heavily steered towards personal brands. (I.e. your brand is YOU…like I am using SHELLEY ROSTLUND for me)
I use three dimensions to help clients nail down their personality and then work out how they ‘play that out’ in their marketing, communications and customer experience.
Dimension 1: Brand Archetypes
Brand archetypes are a great framework to help you to pull out what characteristics are prevalent in you (as the entrepreneur) and then guides you to pull out which build your personality traits and characteristics are relevant for your brand (the business YOU).
I have built my use of archetypes from the original thinkers in this space – Carol Pearson and Margaret Marks. Together they took psychiatrist C. G. Jung’s exploration of the manifestation of universal psychological symbols he called archetypes, and adapted it for use in the business space.
The brand archetypes give you great insight into your top active archetypes that are at play, plus an array of ‘treasure chest’ archetypes which you may pull on in different instances.
The archetypes are: Outlaw; Magician; Hero; Innocent; Sage; Explorer; Creator; Ruler; Caregiver; Lover; Jester and Regular Guy/Girl.
Your personality traits help to give you an internal way of choosing how you think, act and behave to the outside world.
Dimension 2: Tone of Voice
You will have heard this term used a lot and particularly by communications consultants. Tone of Voice is that subtle art that even when you don’t know it – the words, phrases and imagery you are using is sending a message. It’s that “between the lines” feeling you get when you read, listen or watch something.
By narrowing down exactly what your tone of voice is – helps to direct what you do and don’t do to help ensure that your audience is clear about who you are and what you are about. If the 2020/2021 pandemic taught many small businesses anything – it’s that its not only important what you say…but how you say it and when you say it.
Tone of voice is incredibly important especially when the brown stuff hits the fan. Which is why I make sure that my clients outwardly express in writing what their tone of voice IS, so you have a moral guide and compass on how you express yourself.
Dimension 3: Experience Traits
While your personality traits are important to guide your outward activity – looking at how you want your customers to actually EXPERIENCE you may mean a slightly different exercise.
When looking at identifying your main experience traits, you turn the light on your customer and think: “ok, if Customer A works with me, how I want them to feel is:….” And that’s where you fill in what experience or emotion do you want them to have.
Example: I want my clients to feel: Understood, Confident, Playful, Encouraged, Inspired, Clever, Enthusiastic, At ease
These traits then underpin the work you will do on building your Brand Experience (which is the customer journey – on steroids). However by being clear on your personality traits in conjunction with your experience traits -> you really have a much better chance at activating your relationship with your audiences on a subliminal level.
You are being true to who you say you are – by fully BEING that personality.
Do you find it hard to separate yourself from your business and work out what personality traits are the business, and what are just you? You are not alone. However when you look at this exercise in a few different layers – it all makes sense.
You can use the archetypes, for example, to actually map the characteristics of your target audiences for a specific product as well. It can help to hone your marketing campaigns and get you highly tuned and focussed on how to convert better…by clearly articulating the value or to build in more value for a specific audience.
Have a look at my Brand Compass Programme – if you fancy getting really serious about your brand strategy.
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