Brand Personality

What Is Brand Personality?

The term brand personality refers to a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name. An effective brand increases its brand equity by having a consistent set of traits that a specific consumer segment enjoys. This personality is a qualitative value-add that a brand gains in addition to its functional benefits. As such, a brand personality is something to which the consumer can relate.

Key Takeaways

  • Brand personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name.
  • Companies should accurately define their brand personalities so they resonate with the right consumers.
  • A company's brand should aim to elicit a positive emotional response from a targeted consumer segment.
  • The personal side of brand personality is so important especially in the digital age of artificial intelligence and automation.
  • Don't confuse brand personality with imagery, which consists of a company's creative assets.
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Brand Personality

How Brand Personality Works

Brand personality is a framework that helps a company or organization shape the way people feel about its product, service, or mission. A company's brand personality elicits an emotional response in a specific consumer segment, with the intention of inciting positive actions that benefit the firm.

Customers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own. There are five main types of brand personalities with common traits:

  1. Excitement: Carefree, spirited, and youthful
  2. Sincerity: Kindness, thoughtfulness, and an orientation toward family values
  3. Ruggedness: Rough, tough, outdoorsy, and athletic
  4. Competence: Successful, accomplished, and influential, which is highlighted by leadership
  5. Sophistication: Elegant, prestigious, and sometimes even pretentious

Brand personalities are even more important, especially in the digital age where automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technology is growing. As much as consumers enjoy being able to shop online or have companies predict their preferences, studies show that people still want personal interaction and direct customer service when it comes to the way they do business with companies.

Customers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own.

Brand Personality vs. Imagery

A company's brand personality should not be confused with its imagery. A company's imagery is a series of creative assets that communicate the tangible benefits of its brand. Conversely, a firm's brand personality directly creates an emotional association in the mind of an ideal consumer group.

It is important for a company to accurately define its brand personality so it resonates with the appropriate consumer. This is because brand personality results in increased brand equity and defines the brand's attitude in the marketplace. It is also the key factor of any successful marketing campaign. In order to choose a brand's personality, companies consider the five personality types and select the one the company wishes to convey.

If, for example, a new outdoor apparel company wants to resonate with consumers, the natural inclination is to create a brand personality that is rugged. But it is possible that a competitor may have already positioned itself as the rugged outdoor apparel brand. To set itself apart, the new company can position itself uniquely in the mind of the customer by adopting a brand personality of sophistication. This differentiates the brand as an upscale, high-end option to outdoor apparel, which attracts a specific type of consumer.

Real-World Examples of Brand Personality

There are many examples in the corporate world of how brand personality works. Here are some of the most common ones below.

  • Dove chooses sincerity as its brand personality. In doing so, the company hopes to attract feminine consumers. 
  • Luxury brands, such as Michael Kors and Chanel, aim for sophistication by focusing on an upper-class, glamorous, and trendy lifestyle, which attracts a high-spending consumer base. 
  • REI, the outdoor recreation retail store, has a rugged brand personality and aims to inspire its audience (typically outdoorsy, adventurous people) to be strong and resilient

Why Is It Crucial for Companies to Define Their Brand Personality?

It is important for companies to accurately define their brand personalities so they resonate with the appropriate consumers. This is because a brand personality results in increased brand equity and defines the brand's attitude in the marketplace. It is also the key factor of any successful marketing campaign. 

What Are the Different Types of Brand Personalities?

A company's brand personality elicits an emotional response in a specific consumer segment, with the intention of inciting positive actions that benefit the firm. There are five main types of brand personalities with common traits. They are excitement, sincerity, ruggedness, competence, and sophistication. Customers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own. 

What Is the Difference Between Brand Personality and Imagery?

A company's brand personality should not be confused with its imagery. A company's imagery is a series of creative assets that communicate the tangible benefits of its brand. Conversely, a firm's brand personality directly creates an emotional association in the mind of an ideal consumer group.

Article Sources

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  1. Hubspot. "12 Data-Backed Reasons Customer Service Is Key to Business Growth." Accessed Sept. 1, 2021.