How brand personality solves your decision-making problems for long-term goals
The concept of Branding is simple. Though one of many explanations, branding is simply…
“Gathering people with similar beliefs and interests about [subject].”
This [subject] is what you are trying to market. So what are you trying to market?
Regardless, they are all branding.
Branding is intangible, making it confusing for marketers and business owners to make sense of it. Yet alone, make business decisions. The best solution to make sense of this chaos is brand personality.
The goal of branding is to connect with your audiences – to make your brand human. Brand personality is how you will make that connection. Loving; Caring; Trustworthy; Strong; Creative; Adaptable. Brand personality comprises of human characteristics that we can all relate to. People do not relate to your brand name (not initially of course) but rather, the feelings and emotions your brand evokes.
Just based on Nike’s mission today, we can define their personality as Inspiring, Innovative, and Athletic.
The brand with just its name, would not mean anything to anybody because it is immaterial. The “material” form takes shape with its personalities.
Decision Making with Brand Personality
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy E. Disney
As said by the late and former Vice Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, clarity in your values are key to decision making. Long-term planning requires commitment because once you start, you should be seeing it through. As such, the complexity with long-term decision making is that often times, we lose sight of what is important. Once we lose sight, it becomes a game of dollars and cents – where decisions are based on monetary ROI.
However, using your brand personality as a guide for decision making makes life easier. Not only that, it makes sense. Let us look at Nike’s brand personality again. This time, imagine that you are Nike’s top management team. Ask yourself these questions:
Does this decision make my brand Inspiring?
Does this decision make us innovative?
Does this decision make us an athletic brand?
Check all three and that is a decision that is worth considering. Your decisions need to align with what your brand represents. Then, connect these decisions with your audience. Restate why these choices are right for the company while referencing your brand’s personality traits.
However, brands simply cannot place entire decisions on just traits and follow blindly. There are other factors to consider such as sustainability, cash flow. After all, your decision is in for the long haul and you will want to ensure you have enough resources and capital to see it through. We understand that.
Choose what makes the most viable and economic sense while ensuring you do not overcommit resources while using brand personality as your guide. Most decision makers overlook this factor.
How to find your brand personality?
The Start-Up Solution
For start-ups, you may not have a pool of customers yet but all is not lost. This is a great opportunity to craft the personalities that will fit with your audience. Start by looking at how your competitors are doing it themselves. Only choose competitors that are closely matched to yours.
Compare that with how your ideal customers might perceive your brand or attributes they might relate to.
Once you build a good customer base, it is time to reassess your personality again. Only this time, you will be looking at your own customers.
The Existing Brand Solution
You already have an existing audience. However, you do not know exactly what it is that makes them buy from you. In other words, you do not know what brand personalities you have that is connecting with your audience.
The best method is to do qualitative feedback – one which is as unbiased as it can possibly be. You want to know the truth about what makes them choose you over your competitors.
AVOID yes and no questions, that is the first mistake of doing qualitative feedback. Yes and no questions already tell people that your answers are predetermined for you. You want raw answers; you want to understand, from their point of view, in their own words.
This will cause you to have mixed answers which mean more work to organise your feedback. But it will be more useful than you can imagine. Once you have the feedbacks, find among them.
Here is an example:
Why do you buy from [your brand]?
What are the commonalities between these two customers?
Common phrases we can find:
It appears that your brand’s loyal customer is primarily due to your outstanding customer service. Now, looking back at the common phrases, we can find a few key words that can relate to them.
Identified Brand Personality Traits
From here, we can identify related brand personalities that will also link to your brand.
Related Brand Personality Traits
You know have 9 brand personality traits that identify your brand. Pick those which resonate with the majority of your audiences and stick with them.
Although the example given is based on two feedbacks that have descriptive sentences. Chances are, you will not have near perfect answers all the time. However, this shows you the process of how you can identify your brand personalities just by inferring the answers you receive.
You know understand how brand personality is a game changer in long-term decision making and how to identify your own set of brand personality traits. Over time, your personalities might change because of changing trends, consumer behaviours or new products. If they do, they usually are a variation of your core values. Note that you should never take a 360 flip, there are values that you want to retain. Start using brand personality to map your route to long-term success.