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What is 'Brand Personality'

Brand personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name. A brand personality is something to which the consumer can relate; 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.

BREAKING DOWN 'Brand Personality'

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 benefits the firm.

Examples of Brand Personalities 

There are five main types of brand personalities: excitement, sincerity, ruggedness, competence and sophistication. Customers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own. Examples of traits for the different types of brand personalities are as follows. Excitement is synonymous with a carefree, spirited and youthful attitude. Sincerity is highlighted by a feeling of kindness, thoughtfulness, and an orientation toward family values. Ruggedness is thought of as rough, tough, outdoorsy and athletic. Competence, in the mind of a consumer, is considered to be successful, accomplished and influential, highlighted by leadership. Finally, sophistication makes a brand seem elegant, prestigious and sometimes even pretentious.

Dove, for example, chooses sincerity as its brand personality, allowing the company to attract feminine consumers. Luxury brands, such as Michael Kors and Chanel, lean towards sophistication. Their brand personality focuses 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; they focus on inspiring their audience (who are typically outdoorsy, adventurous people) to be strong and resilient. 

Choosing Brand Personality

A company's brand personality should not be confused with its imagery. A company's imagery is a series of creative assets that communicates 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 extremely important for a company to accurately define its brand personality so it resonates with the correct 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. However, it is possible that the company's competitor may have already positioned itself as the rugged outdoor apparel brand. Instead, the new apparel 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.

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