What Is Brand Personality? (Definition, Types and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Brand personality refers to how a company personifies its brand. It's the human-like characteristics and traits it uses to elicit an emotional association in a targeted audience and encourage them to perceive its products or services in a certain way. If you have an interest in marketing, it's beneficial to understand what brand personalities are and why they're important. In this article, we define brand personality, explain why it's important, discuss five key brand personalities, share some tips for developing a personality for a brand and explore brand identity vs. personality.

What is brand personality?

Brand personality is the set of characteristics a company portrays consistently through its brand imagery, messaging and overall marketing initiatives. It's how customers perceive a brand and the feelings it evokes in them. Companies that develop effective personalities for their brands can be successful in creating emotional and psychological responses in their target markets that provoke positive consumer actions. Building a brand's personality usually requires an in-depth understanding of its target market and how that market perceives and interacts with the brand's products or services.

Consider a new skincare brand for teenagers. The marketing team might develop a youthful, fun and daring personality for the brand to define its stance in the market. They may portray this personality to the brand's desired target market through a combination of bright colours, high-key imagery and casual, trendy language.

Related: What Are Brands? (Definition, Components and Examples)

Why is a brand's personality important?

There can be many reasons an effectively developed personality can be important for a brand. Below, you can find some of these reasons:

Enhances brand differentiation

A brand's personality has a significant influence on positioning it competitively amongst its competitors. Two brands may offer the same product or service, but their personality essentially influences the way they offer it and how their audience perceives it. Brands commonly refer to their personality traits in their vision and mission statements to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Related: What Is Branding Strategy? (Plus Tips and Benefits)

Engages target markets

A brand with a well-developed personality can encourage its target market to become an engaged and active community. When consumers can relate to a brand on an emotional level, they're more likely to support its mission, trust its offering and provide honest and positive feedback. An engaged target market can magnify brand awareness, increase sales and generate company growth.

Increases brand loyalty

A strong brand personality often correlates with strong brand loyalty. Consumers that can relate to a brand's attributes and feel that its products or services align with its values may feel fulfilled. Because of this, they can be motivated to support the brand in the future. The enhanced customer engagement that can result from an excellent personality can also provide a company with the insights required to continuously innovate to meet its market's needs. Customer loyalty can benefit a company by increasing repeat sales and lowering the acquisition costs associated with obtaining new customers.

Improves marketing strategies

A brand's personality can have a significant impact when implementing marketing strategies. When a company knows how its customers perceive its brand and interact with its products or services, it can develop effective methods for reaching them and inspiring them to take action. Improved marketing strategies can help a company establish a unique selling point in the market, boost its market share and increase its profits.

Related: Competitive Strategies for Marketing and How to Develop One

5 key personality archetypes for brands

When developing a brand's personality, there are commonly five key archetypes that can provide an excellent starting point for building a meaningful approach to reaching a target market on an emotional level. You can find details on each personality archetype below:

1. Sincerity

Many brands may be sincere, but as an element of personality, sincerity is common amongst brands that want to portray themselves as wholesome, humble, happy, trustworthy and family-orientated. Consumers may view a brand as sincere when it has good customer relationships, ambiguity-free policies, a commitment to the community and the environment and follows ethical practices. Brands with this defining trait can be common in the food, hospitality and public safety industries.

Related: What Are Ethics at Work? (Plus 13 Examples of Work Ethics)

2. Excitement

Brands with this personality archetype typically cater to younger demographics and represent high energy, imagination, adventure and thrill. These brands usually encourage youthful and enthusiastic populations to resonate with their products or services through innovative marketing that makes use of exciting places, situations and, often, celebrity endorsements. Examples of brands with this personality archetype might be sports clothing or equipment brands, energy food and drink brands or lifestyle brands.

Related: What Is a Target Demographic? (Plus How to Identify Yours)

3. Competence

Consumers typically perceive competent brands as successful brands that they can rely on, based on their performance and behaviour in the community. Brands with competent personalities usually communicate conscientiousness, intelligence and confidence in their industry knowledge through their marketing initiatives. Competent brand personalities may exist in industries in which consumers place their trust, for example, healthcare. Competent brands can also be common in the areas of finance, technology, insurance and logistics.

Related: What Is Technical Competence? (Plus 10 Examples of Skills)

4. Sophistication

Brands with this personality archetype usually aim to appeal to a market's sense of wealth or prestige. They portray elegance, luxury, refinement and charm through their imagery, messaging and offerings to connect with discerning consumers seeking premium products or services. Sophisticated brands exist in many industries, for example, automotive, fashion and tourism. Companies aiming to reach status-conscious markets typically take this approach when developing their brand personalities.

5. Ruggedness

Rugged brands commonly aim to invoke feelings of toughness, bravery and adventure in consumers. They usually portray themselves as strong and hard-working and associate their products and services with durability, resistance and authenticity. Because of the traits rugged brands typically define themselves by, they often exist in the sporting and outdoor industries and connect with consumers by inspiring their lifestyles and hobbies.

Tips for developing an effective personality for a brand

There are several factors to consider when developing a brand's personality. The following tips can help you through the process:

  • Outline the company's key values. While a brand's personality is customer-centric, for longevity and consistency, it's important that it's authentic and based on what the company truly represents. Outlining the company's key values can provide a solid foundation for developing an effective personality for the brand.

  • Get to know the competition. When developing a brand's personality, it's essential to research the competition. What differentiates companies with similar products or services is often their brand personalities, so it's important that a company is aware of its competitor's attributes when considering its brand's dimension.

  • Understand the audience. To develop a brand's personality that resonates with the correct audience, it's important to have a solid understanding of who the audience is. This refers to knowing what they care about, what motivates them and whether they're emotional or logical, for example.

  • Create a brand style guide to keep consistent. A brand style guide is a tool many companies use to maintain their brand's personality. It ultimately outlines how to convey the brand's personality across all platforms through the consistent use of brand colours, imagery and voice.

Related: How to Build Brands (A Helpful Step-by-Step Guide)

Brand identity vs. brand personality

The terms brand identity and brand personality are sometimes in use interchangeably, but it's important to know that they're not the same thing. It's also helpful to consider that while they're not the same thing, they are closely related and are rarely of significance without each other.

Brand identity refers to the way consumers visually recognise a brand. A brand's logo, website, shopfront, business cards, employee uniforms and product packaging, for example, can contribute to its identity. Brand personality relates to the characteristics of a brand, the way it makes consumers feel and the relationships it builds. It's a combination of emotional and behavioural standards that a brand practices consistently. A brand's personality has a considerable influence on its identity.

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