How to create a Brand Personality?

Do you realise sometimes we ‘connect’ with some Brands a lot more than others? We feel more associated with some Brands and not their competitors. But what creates that attraction? Is it the beautiful clothes that they have in store or the convenience that they provide for your daily schedule?

Much has been spoken that Brands are not just Logos or aesthetically pleasing composition of design elements. It is also the expression of the brand’s personality — It’s tone, character and it’s beliefs, very much like a human being. Many Brands have embodied a strong persona, humanising their Brand to connect with their specific target audience in a very personal manner, making their target audience not only customers but loyal advocates of their brands.

According to Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of our purchasing decisions are made in the subconscious mind.

The Harvard Professor just revealed to us that some brands have a massive advantage over their competitors and there must be something that they are doing that is more than excellent service or product — they connect with their customers on an emotional level.

How can we add personality and all these intangible elements to something we call a “Corporation?” How can a transactional relationship be so intimate and connect on such a deep level?

Even though customers are buying a product or service, people buy into people more than we know. For your audience to know who you are as a brand, your brand first needs to know who it is.

So treat the Brand as if it is an individual and start asking questions regarding the Brand’s (his/her) lifestyle.

Let’s do this together by treating the Brand as an individual and give our Brand a name — Orga, and let’s say Orga is a guy.

  • What does he do?
  • What are his interests?
  • How does he speak?
  • What are the beliefs of Orga?
  • Who are his friends? Who does he hang out with?
  • If we can describe him to other people, how will we describe him?
  • Describe his room layout and how it looks like.

These are just a few of the many questions we can start asking ourselves. For me, I like to think of the Brands that I work with, as my child and I will start questioning everything about him/her until I have a clear image of what(who) he/she is.

Brand Archetypes

Well, adding a personality to our Brand is already a challenge; what more, making all the different characteristics align is another! There is an incredible framework I use to help guide my thoughts on creating a Brand Personality — Brand Archetypes.

So what exactly are Brand Archetypes?

Brand Archetypes are simply a personification of universal stereotypes of specific characters and behaviours, theorised by Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung.

We as humans tend to “categorise” and stereotype, and he believes that many film and story characters are instantly familiar to us because it is primal and instinctive based on the part of a “collective unconsciousness” we all share.

As a result of his research, Jung stated: “There are forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth as constituents of myths and at the same time, as individual products of unconscious.”

These all-too-familiar (stereotypical) characters are often referred to as Jungian archetypes and have since become a popular tool for personifying brands. These studies have made it a lot easier and gave me an excellent framework for checking back on the personalities I have chosen for my Brand.

Brand Archetypes Are Not About Appealing To Everyone

Sometimes we are tempted to take traits from multiple archetypes to express your brand’s individualism but understand the consequences of a “confused brand”.

As the old saying goes “If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one”. Great brands are focussed.

Referenced in the book “The Hero and The Outlaw” an analysis uncovered that brands with “tightly defined” archetypal identities rose in value by 97% more over six years than “confused brands” or brands with characteristics from many different archetypes.

Listen to your audience more. Form up a focused and well-defined archetype for your brand, expand and add-ons, later.

All that said, the concept of Brand Archetypes should not be viewed as an instant solution to solve all your branding problems. Instead, it provides a framework and acts as a sounding board to help make daily decisions and determine how best we can convey specific messages.

We can never fake who we are, and that is the same for brands.

Back in the day when I was a kid, I often look at role models of the World or characters that were told in my books and say “I wanna be just like him!” I’m sure many of us experienced the same, but inevitably, there comes a time where we hit a crisis in life where we ‘reset’ and default back to who we are.

The same goes for Brands.

We as humans can sniff out the fakes and prefers to choose authenticity over counterfeits. Having the Brand Archetypes as a framework creates a definite meaning in what we do, rather than just a transactional relationship with our customers.

I think asking the right questions is not the hardest thing to do when creating a personality for your brand; it is answering them truthfully. We are often fearful of the setbacks of our answers, and therefore, we tend to lie to ourselves as we question. Be original and genuine, search deep down within yourself and start answering questions honestly. Don’t be who you aren’t; it will come across as you trying too hard and fake.

Let’s talk about Design and Branding or start-ups! Connect with me via Linkedin.

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Dion Joseph Pung

Dion Joseph Pung

Ex-Entrepreneur · Brand Builder · I build companies and their identities.