“What is brand personality?”
These are the exact words that almost every first-time founder types in Google. You’ve been there too?
Throughout the startup journey, founders look to Google for many things. From “How to write a pitch deck” to “Where can I find funding?” and “What is the least I need to sleep to stay awake at work?”, most people are in agreement that Google knows everything. But does it?
We’d argue when it comes to brand personality – and more specifically your brand personality – Google doesn’t actually have all the answers. Sure, you can get the dictionary definition of ‘Brand personality’ and even some examples of different types of brand personalities, but how can you discover and define yours?
Let’s start with the basics.
What actually is brand personality?
With a trusty search, you’ll find that brand personality is what we call an organisation’s human qualities that shape who it connects with and how it speaks. In other words, it’s the way you would expect the organisation to act if it was an actual person.
Nike for example would be energetic and bold – the type of people you wouldn’t want to spend a lazy Sunday morning with. Apple on the other hand would be sophisticated and sleek – the kind to host an elaborate dinner party in their swanky residence.
A brand’s personality comes to life through brand messaging, images and overarching marketing campaigns. The more consistent it is across every touch point, the more clearly that persona comes to life.
Does brand personality matter?
Every brand, big or small, has the chance to establish its own brand personality. It’s important create this persona before diving into marketing as it:
Helps form emotional attachment – 64% of all consumers form relationships with specific brands due shared values. If your brand comes across human-like and with a personality that connects with your target audience? Bingo.
Helps stand-out from the crowd – With new brands popping up every day, it’s important to create a presence that’s unique and memorable. Creating a personality that subverts the norm is far more likely to garner attention, hence increasing the likelihood of sales.
Helps improve the ease of marketing – When everyone is on the same page from the get-go, it’s far easier to create a strategy, curate content and roll out messaging across every touchpoint.
What is your brand personality?
Well, that’s where Google can’t provide all the answers. Just as every person in your life is inherently unique, so too is every brand. Your startup brand personality will be completely different from your competitors and other players in the landscape.
While you were born with your own set of characteristics, the same can’t be said for your startup. Instead, it’s your role to assign the right values and traits. Not sure where to start? We’ve put together some activities to help kick-start your brand personality journey and create the persona that will speak to the right people, in the right way.
Four brand personality activities
One-minute word association
Set a timer for one minute and make a list of every word that comes to mind when you think of your brand. It’s important to remember that there are no wrong answers in this exercise, so let your subconscious take over and spill everything out onto the page. You can start by thinking of the words you associate with your brand in the shape that it is today, before shifting your focus to the goals you’re working towards and what your brand will look like when it’s achieved those milestones. If you’re having trouble coming up with words, it can be helpful to do this exercise with your team, family, or even trusted clients if possible.
Once you’ve let your mind run wild and your page is filled with words, take a step back to review the words. Can you see any trends? Any overarching themes that tie things together? You can try categorising the words accordingly and you may find that the majority sit quite neatly under different umbrellas. Now, you have a starting place for the personality traits that best suit your brand.
Marketing 101 is to define your target audience. If you haven’t done this yet, you can loop into our handy marketing strategy overview here. Once you know who you’re speaking to, you can start thinking about how this audience goes about everyday life, what other brands they’re connecting with and the types of people they surround themselves with.
For example, let’s say we’re connecting with 25 – 35 year old health-conscious women in Australia. If we consider their age, gender and lifestyle, it’s likely they connect mostly with:
- Empowered female leaders
- Fun and dynamic voices
- Supportive women
- Community-focused peers
- Encouraging motivators
If we compare these personas against the words defined in the first exercise, there may be one clear option that sticks out above the others to you. This can provide you with a detailed and focused approach to start building out your persona in more detail.
Find your brand’s voice
It’s time for everyone’s favourite game – ‘This or that’.
Take a moment to consider if your brand is the left or the right side for each line.
When shared in contrast, you may find you naturally gravitate to one personality trait over another when thinking of your brand. This can be a great way to find the words you need to explain how you want your brand to come across and can also help add a level of detail to you personality development.
Create a mood board
A branding mood board is a collection of visual assets, which may include colours, images, text, photos or any other kind of visual inspiration. These concepts essentially encompass who you are as a brand and the kind of message you want to share with the world – as well as the way you share it.
When it comes to building a brand mood board, you can stick to the old school approach by making a physical collage that you can stick on the wall. For this approach, you’ll need to grab some magazines and scissors, scour Google images to print off photos or even draw some of the ideas that come to mind.
If you’re a little more savvy in-front of the screen, you may prefer to create the digital equivalent of a mood board. Digital online tools like Pinterest are a great place to scour for inspiring visuals and organise them into neat categories.
The purpose of the exercise is to establish the general vibe of your brand. You want this to be a collection of content that makes you – or your audience – feel something. Whether it’s inspiration from other brands in the same categories, content that connects with your demographic or pieces that ensure everyone’s on the same page, you can use this process to better define who you are and guide your decision making.
Brand personality for tech startups
It’s no secret that founder life is busy. From crowd-source funding and business set up to investor updates and product development, there’s always something to do. But we always know that skipping the fundamentals in the early days can lead to cracks further down the track.
If you want to keep the ball rolling and reduce the number of hats you wear – without compromising on your scalability – you’ve come to the right place. The INFIX team is here to help you establish your brand personality and roll out the roadmap you need to bring it all to life.
Ready to dive in?