The 5 Elements That Make Up Brand Personality

by Kimberly Bordonaro September 2nd, 2013 

Personality Pods

You've heard all the hullabaloo about the importance of building your company's online brand.

Be social, create remarkable content, up your SEO game, market consistently, and if you're still not getting attention, just twerk it like Miley. Relax, I'm kidding.

But if your boss is wondering why the company isn't getting noticed or building a loyal following, you find that your brand strategy is missing a crucial element:

Personality.

The truth is many companies fail to recognize the importance of creating brand experiences through brand personality. They bog down their online persona with boring corporate speak and industry jargon. Or, they blow it by not keeping the experience consistent, ultimately confusing customers or making them feel as if something is amiss with the company.

Think about it – when it comes to our own go-to brands, we choose the ones that often stand out with because of the feeling we get from them.

Which brands are most memorable to you? Apple. Nike. Virgin. Mailchimp.

Bookmark the list of brands that inspire you and be sure to check out your competitors to get a sense of their personality traits and brand strategy. Then, put it aside. This article isn't about them.

It's about your company.

It's about your brand experience.

It's about creating something that your customers enthusiastically fall in love and share with their communities.

Because the bottom line is this:

If your company is active online, it needs its own style.

Today, I'm going to talk about the 5 elements that make up your brand's genuine personality.

Let's get to it

1. Vision

Laying the foundation of your brand's overall goals gives you a starting point for shaping its character. Is there a current perception of your company that needs to be changed? Is there a role in the world that the company wants to act upon? After reviewing your company's vision and mission statements, make a list of traits your company will pull from to achieve its goals.

2. Values

Values give the company a directional reference for the way it socially behaves when answering such burning questions as: Do we react gravely about news or perky? Do we react at all? Are we polite or irreverent? Create a list 5 company values and corresponding spirit in which your company will exhibit when upholding them.

3. Archetype

If your company was playing a role in a story, which character would it be? Which one is most likely to resonate with your customer? Selecting an overall theme for your company doesn't just help shape its personality traits; it creates a connection your audience can rally behind. Check out The Pearson Archetype System and choose 3-5 traits based on the persona that best represents your company's personality.

4. Essence

Simply put, what is your brand all about? Capture the spirit of your brand in a singular word or succinct phrase. Is your brand essence consistent throughout your online marketing efforts?

5. Tone

The tone of voice is how your brand speaks to its audience. While the company's personality always remains consistent, the tone alters depending on the medium. For instance, you would probably take on a more serious tone when communicating to stake holders as opposed to using a light-hearted, upbeat tone when conversing with an online fan.

Personality isn't just the copy that you put on your website, the words you use in your social status updates, or the pictures you use to support your marketing materials. It's the feeling you get from the entire encounter you have with a brand and when done correctly it increases a customer's loyalty and repeat business.

Your Turn. Who are your favorite brands and how would you describe their personalities? How does your company use its personality to strategically position itself from your competitors? Share your insights and stories in the comments below.

Kimberly Bordonaro

Kimberly Bordonaro is a brand strategist and the founder of Brandspiration, a blog that uses ridiculously fun lyrical references to explain how everyday entrepreneurs can create their distinctive brands.

Brandspiration Blog

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