brand personality dimensions

What Is A Brand Personality And How To Create One: Guide And Tips [+ Examples]

People want to see a person in your brand: make it live, speak, advise. Give it a brand personality people will trust and look up to.

Imagine a teenager named Kyle. He wears jeans, sneakers, and a printed T-shirt. Kyle lives in the moment – just like everybody from this generation. His closet is not too tidy, yet he is a vibrant and adventurous person. Who needs order anyway? On weekends, he parties: he loves meeting new people and has an endless list of friends. Kyle never lies – he likes being honest with the people around him. In his calendar, Kyle has all the festivals and concerts listed, he would never miss any of them. His go-to socialization dish is pizza.

Did you understand what brand we have described here? It was Pepsi. This brand screams youthfulness, fun, friends, and huge festivals. When you’re meeting new people at a party, most of the time you get a bottle of Pepsi to share it and socialize over it.

Think of any big brands out there – we can easily describe each of them like that. Because all of them have their own personality. We do not consider them as companies, or service providers: they are alive to us, they signify a certain lifestyle, image, and views on life.

Even if you are still a young start-up, the first step for you on your way to success is describing your brand just like that, bringing a breath of life into it. 

Why? Keep on reading!

Brand Personality Definition

Brand personality can be defined as a set of human characteristics that can be used to describe a certain brand. How do people perceive a brand, to what traits can a specific customer relate when using a brand? These traits are expressed as adjectives that answer the mentioned questions. For example, youthful, kind, elegant, manly, etc.

Why is Creating a Brand Personality important?

Recognition. It’s no longer time when people take what they are offered, they pick and choose from hundreds, thousands of options. The information, ads, companies, offers, and services are thrown at them every minute of the day – how can they find you in this turmoil?

Being consistent with your brand is one way. This starts with defining the brand personality traits, then you can start building associations with your imagery, messages, and appearances. 

All orbiting around the personality you have placed your brand in.

Connection. People connect with brands they see their reflection in. If they agree with the message you’re spreading, with whom your brand is as a ‘person’ then it’s a sealed deal. Your customers will be loyal to you as long as you’re relatable. 

How often do you see nowadays people switching ‘sides’ if a brand goes opposite to what they believe in? This is why defining the traits from the get-go is important, and it’s even more important to keep consistent with them.

But How Do I Personalize My Brand?

If you find it difficult to define where exactly your brand belongs Gingersauce comes to the rescue ?

Step 1: Define your key customer

Try creating a document and answering the following questions:

  • Who is the person using your services: profession, age, race, gender, sex, etc?
  • What lifestyle do they have: active, or not really?
  • What are the values of that person?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • What kind of people are they drawn towards?
  • Why should they be loyal to your brand?
  • If using your brand, what impression do they have on others? 

If you know the person you’re talking to, it’s 100 times easier to talk to them. 

Step 2: Describe your brand

What do you want people to think about your brand? Is it sincere and trustworthy? Or maybe active, fun, and youthful?

Single out 5-6 adjectives you’d use to describe the business’s image as if it’s already a big, known brand.

Step 3: Study Brand Personality types

There are quite a few personality frameworks you can use. At Gingersauce, we advise starting from Aaker’s paper Dimensions of Brand Personality. In her work, she has grouped all brands into 5 categories, depending on what feelings they conjure.

Now, take the adjectives you have thought about and see what group they belong to. 

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Brand personality: what emotions emit your brand? Brand #personality is emotional #brand image, in other words: emotional connection between consumer and brand. Competitors can copy features, services and distribution channels, but by creating an emotional image of the brand, the company could obtain a really strong differentiator. J. Aaker, a specialist in marketing with a focus on brand strategy, conducted research into brand personalities and identified the following five dimensions: 1. Sincerity: down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, and cheerful. 2. Excitement: daring, spirited, imaginative, and up-to-date. 3. Competence: reliable, intelligent, and successful. 4. Sophistication: upper-class and charming. 5. Ruggedness: outdoorsy and tough. Example 1: Whenever you think of @cocacola, consciously or subconsciously you think of “Happiness”. The reason? Coke has made it their business to associate the brand with that word by aligning the brand with every happy moment you can think of from Christmas to Summer holidays. Through their advertising and communication they consistently display happy and somewhat magical characteristics, which we associate with enjoyment. Their personality is carefree and fun loving which encourages the audience to forget their fears and stresses and enjoy the moment. Coke has a Sincerity brand personality. Example 2: @mercedesbenz is an aspirational and exclusive brand that sits on a pedestal and encourages its customers to earn the right to join their club. That right of passage? Success. Their reward? Status. Mercedes communicates superiority and exclusivity and reminds their audience that they are at the top. Throughout their entire brand experience they display characteristics of status, wealth and success and provide their customers with a sense of achievement. Mercedes has a Sophistication brand personality. There are around 30.7 million small businesses in the United States only. If you want to stand out in the eyes of the public, you need to develop a strong voice and to record it in the brand #guidelines — using Gingersauce, of course ? #smallbusiness #branding #saas #founders #designers #infographic #designing

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Brand Personality Traits

  • Sincerity: Wholesome, genuine, honest, warm. This brand’s a friend that is trustworthy and will never let down. It’s family, fun, and wholesomeness. Brands of this personality are McDonald’s or Pampers.
  • Excitement: Daring, intriguing, imaginative, up-to-date. Hip and young, cool and playful, they are great hype-builders. Brands of this personality are Pixar or Redbull.
  • Competence: Reliable, successful, intelligent. Reliable, professional, Competent brands speak less and do more. Brands of this personality are Microsoft or Toyota.
  • Sophistication: Charming, refined, high-class. Elegant, and polished these brands are loved by organized perfectionists. Brands of this personality are Tiffany and Four Seasons.
  • Ruggedness: Thick-skinned, outdoorsy, tough. Active, powerful, and edgy these brands are typically perceived as masculine. Brands of this personality are Guiness and Levi’s.

Step 4: Analyze competitors

This step is important in every step of building your brand: always keep in mind your competitors. Better even, create a desk where you describe the brand identity of each of them. Why? You need to be different in every way personal.

Just as your brand’s color palette should stand out among all of them, your brand personality should too.

Analyze the personalities of your competitor brands: do they possess an elegant, sophisticated feel? Go for being competent then. The most important thing on the market is to be noticeable and different. Choosing different brand personality traits will also let you cater to another, different audience.

I’ve chosen your brand personality traits…now what?

Be consistent. Remember, the way you behave as a brand – as a person rather – what emotions you radiate, what movements you support, what you’re associated with will define how people perceive you from the get-go.

Everything you do as a business should reflect the brand personality: tone of voice, marketing campaigns, visuals, customer service policies, social media.

Keeping true to the character you’ve chosen is a must – you don’t want to confuse people with how to see you. You don’t want to go with being daring and warm and pack your Twitter followers will dull, and dry official statements. You don’t see McDonald’s ever announce a new item on a menu with  ‘We are delighted to announce that…’. 

And, vice versa – you won’t be using weird frog emojis and throwing knock-knock jokes if you’re trying to appear competent. No way you’ll be buying that ring from Tiffany’s if they were doing that.

How do I keep everything consistent?

Your answer is – create a brand book using Gingersauce! It is a pro tool for creating brand guidelines that combines smart automation and your creativity. It’s a professional tool – meaning, it won’t do a half-baked job, leaving you with a mediocre result. 

A key goal of brand guidelines is keeping a record of all your branding elements, including the visuals built around your brand’s personality: Gingersauce will gather everything in one place and will help you make sure your brand design stays consistent and cohesive.

You can download a created brand book right away – it will look promising even with no customization!

Create My Brand Guidelines

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The author

Josh Bloch
Josh Bloch

Josh is a multidisciplinary designer with over 20 years of experience in industrial design, exhibitions, branding, 2d and 3d animation, graphics for print and digital, illustration, and UX/UI for mobile and desktop apps.

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