Whether crafted or accidental, every brand has a personality. Melissa Taylor, brand communications manager at Luminous PR, speaks with Talk Business on why businesses need to perfect their brand personality — and how to do it.
Take a minute to think about your business and its brand.
You probably have a clear image of your logo and colour scheme, but how precise is your brand personality?
Brand personality is the values and characteristics associated with your business’s brand. Like human personality, it defines the way a brand speaks and behaves, as well as how consumers view it.
Every business has a unique personality. Marketers often assume ‘brand personality’ requires their brand to be ‘fun’ or ‘quirky’. This is by no means true. Your brand’s personality should feel natural, but honed to perfection.
According to Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. A clearly defined brand personality helps customers not only understand your brand, but identify with it too.
What are you waiting for? Here’s your five step plan to crafting a clear-cut brand personality:
- Set the tone
You can’t force brand personality, but that doesn’t mean it’s always obvious. A winning brand personality requires planning and research.
Consider your customer base and the type of service you provide. Is a lighthearted and unique brand appropriate, or is it best to play it safe and keep things corporate? Investigate how other brands communicate with your target customers. Consider where prospects go for their news, the type of language they use, and whether they connect with brands on social media.
Involve the whole team in this planning and brainstorming. The most successful businesses are those where the entire team can be brand advocates. This leads us on to our next point…
- Define it
Be specific: the only thing worse than a brand with no personality is a brand with a weak, sloppy, and confused one.
Craft a brand personality your whole team can put in place by creating a style guide. Style guides usually contain rules relating to branding — approved fonts, colours, and how to use the logo. This makes them the perfect place to include guidance on brand personality, too.
What goes into your brand style guide is up to you — it depends what’s most beneficial for your business. However, here are a few suggestions:
- Commonly misspelled words relating your business
- Relevant acronyms — what’s acceptable, what’s not
- Advice on grammar and style
- Jargon and terms to avoid
Not sure where to start? Check out the excellent Guardian and Observer style guide for inspiration.
- Make time for training
Proper training is essential to ensure the whole team is on board with brand personality. Spending real time on training demonstrates that it is an important responsibility for everyone.
The best way to make training effective is to make it enjoyable, and by rewarding staff that get stuck in. After the training, make an effort to reward staff that use and reflect your brand personality in their work. Create a culture that exudes personality, and be proud of it!
- Leave no stone unturned
Complete a thorough audit of all your comms materials to ensure they’re in line with the personality you want to project.
While arduous, this is worth doing. It’s also a good opportunity to ensure all general branding is consistent and correct. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is for an outdated logo to slip through the net.
Remember to examine both external and internal communications channels. While it is a priority to ensure any customer-facing materials reflect brand personality, internal comms are important too. You don’t want to undermine all that hard work you put in to training your team!
As business objectives may shift over time, your brand personality may change too. You might find that your customers are not who you thought they were. If so, it makes sense to adjust your personality and tone to reflect their values and interests.
Don’t panic; you shouldn’t be adjusting your brand personality too often (this would be pretty inconsistent). Reviewing your brand personality once a year should be enough to keep it fresh, relevant, and effective.
Remember, your brand personality should be whatever comes natural to your business. We can’t all be cutesy like Innocent Smoothies, or sexy like British Airways! Be yourself and you won’t go far wrong.