Brand Personality – Why Personality Matters in Business

When it comes to building a popular and successful business, personality is key – brand personality that is. Just like a popular person, the personality of a brand is extremely important when it comes to a company’s success.

Much like when making new friends, people are drawn to those that they can relate to. That’s why it’s so important to develop a brand personality that will resonate with your target audience. 

In fact, one of the worst things a business can do is neglect to think through a plan to establish their brand’s image.

Presenting a generic or inconsistent brand identity is also a definite no-no in today’s marketplace. There are so many great brands out there these days that it’s important you develop a strong strategy and brand identity in order to cut through all the noise.

Branding is an important aspect of a successful business and bringing a brand to life through personality is one of the most important aspects. A strong and positive brand persona makes your brand memorable and allows consumers to feel connected to your products, services and business as a whole. 

If you want your brand to stand out and be remembered amongst a sea of countless others, it’s important to know how to develop a brand image and to select the right personality for your brand. Here’s what we’ll cover today: 

What is a Brand Personality?

what is a brand personality

When human characteristics are attributed to a brand, this is known as brand personality. Brand personality brings a brand to life, allowing consumers to connect with it on a human level.

Brand image is developed by marketers, designers and leaders in order for a brand to be relatable to its target market. A brand personality can be used to provoke emotions and promote action amongst a target market and to help influence the way consumers feel about a brand.

Brand personality can be portrayed through copy and content, imagery, social media, and even company policies. With the help of a clear and consistent brand personality, your business can portray to consumers its views and morals –beliefs that should be in-line with your ideal customers’.

A brand philosophy is an important element to any memorable, impactful brand personality. Here’s 10 Brand Philosophy Examples to Align Your Company Culture” and help you stand out from your competitors.

How to Choose a Brand Personality

Consumers prefer approachable and genuine brands with which they can identify with that also makes sense with the overall idea, feel or aesthetic of the brand in question. Therefore, adopting a brand personality that is similar to that of your target audience is key.

In addition to reflecting your target audience’s traits, your brand personality needs to be consistent in order to avoid confusing consumers and turning them off of your business.

According to Jennifer Aaker, the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, there are five dimensions into which almost all brand personalities will fall. Each with its own strengths and weaknesses, these dimensions include:

Sincerity

Sincere brands are popular among customers – they are trustworthy, authentic and kind. Often sincere brands are family-oriented, displaying family values and morals.

Excitement

Brands that elicit excitement tend to push the envelope and thrive on hype – they are bold, carefree, innovative and youthful.

Competence

Brands portraying competence are perceived as being capable, effective and influential – they are dependable and intelligent and often showcased by their strong leadership.

Sophistication

Sophisticated brands exude confidence and make their customers feel stylish and classy – they are seen as high-class and are often charismatic, elegant and distinguished.

Ruggedness

Brands that portray ruggedness are often related to nature and the outdoors – they elicit feelings of power and are seen as strong, rough and tough.

Choosing a personality type that fits your brand is important. It’s imperative that you pick a brand image that suits your business and that you are consistent in portraying this personality. When choosing a personality, consider what type of personality somebody who spends time with your target audience would have – this is who your business should personify.

Below are some considerations that will help you create the perfect personality for your brand.

  • Take a look at your competitors and their brand personalities. How can you stand out amongst them? Should your company adopt a differing personality or can you differentiate yourself in some other way?
  • Think carefully about your brand. If it were a person how would you describe it? How would its friends describe it? How would your brand react to certain questions and situations? Would it be serious? Or witty? Use these descriptions and the answers to these questions to clearly describe your brand’s identity.

Keep in mind – when selecting a personality for your brand, choose one that:

  • Matches with your mission statement
  • Aligns with the typical personalities of your target audience
  • Makes sense for your brand

Once you have a clear brand image set out, make sure you are consistently portraying that personality. Everything from content, to emails to customers, to ads and more should portray that identity and persona – consistency is key!

Sometimes, the other messaging systems within your branding system are in misalignment with one another. When this happens, it might just be time for a rebrand. Think it’s time to refresh your brand? Learn more in  Rebrand 101 – How to Tell It’s Time For a Rebrand.”

Examples of Brand Personality

There are many companies out there that know how to do it right – they have successfully created strong personalities for their brands, allowing them to connect with their audience on a human level.

Some of the most successful brand personalities out there include:

Dove
writing an about us page
Dove proudly displays their corporate social responsibility and what they're doing to achieve it. (https://www.dove.com/ca/en/home.html)

Personality Dimension: Sincerity

Dove has positioned itself as a sincere brand. This personality reflects the fact that Dove is targeted at women and families. Their marketing and messaging is simple yet relatable, appealing to women of all ages and body types. As seen in their Real Beauty campaign, Dove consistently promotes inner beauty and acceptance.

Red Bull
red bull brand personality
Everything about Red Bull's branding from their sponsorships to their bright, red colors and logo emphasizes their high-energy persona. (https://www.redbull.com/int-en/energydrink)

Personality Dimension: Excitement

‍It’s not hard to notice Red Bull’s personality type – it stands out as an exciting brand, loud and clear. With their extreme sports events and crazy stunts, Red Bull comes across as fun-loving and fearless. 

Aimed at thrill-seekers, athletes and outgoing individuals, the brand’s slogan itself – “Gives you wings” – lets consumers know that it is a fun-loving and high-energy brand that is ready to take on the world.

Volvo
volvo branding
Meaning "I roll" in latin, Volvo has a storied, global history of automobile leadership. (https://www.volvogroup.com/en-en/)

Personality Dimension: Competence

Volvo is known for safety and its track record speaks for itself.  Vehicles made by Volvo are known for being reliable and safe. The brand’s personality reflects that of their target customer – someone who is responsible and trustworthy. Volvo prides itself on having high performance, safety and design reviews and demonstrates a respect for the environment, as seen in the development of their products and services.

Apple
how to write brand philosophies
Since the advent of the original iPhone, Apple has been pushing its brand philosophy and its product design to new heights. (https://www.apple.com/ca/)

Personality Dimension: Sophistication

Apple has positioned itself as a sophisticated and high-class brand. Apple’s brand personality portrays a way of life, appealing to technology-lovers who live for innovation. Consumers enjoy the brand’s artistic and creative personality and with such a clear and relatable identity, Apple has gathered a huge following of highly devoted and loyal customers.

Apple’s products, packaging, software and marketing are simple yet elegant – according to Steve Jobs, Apple’s late co-founder and CEO, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Harley-Davidson
High octane motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson has been delighting and exciting consumers with their vehicles for decades. (https://www.harley-davidson.com/ca/en)

Personality Dimension: Ruggedness

‍Harley-Davidson’s brand personality is another that is clear right off the bat. This brand positions itself as a strong, rugged brand that is aimed at tough, rebellious and fun-loving customers. Harley-Davidson’s messaging, bold product design and even their logo demonstrate the rugged, manly persona they aim to portray.

Built around the idea of liberty and individuality, Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles embody this persona with their huge, strong and confident-looking designs.

In 2010, Harley-Davidson spent $40 million designing a new logo. This logo portrays the strong, manly image their brand personifies with thick, bold lines and bright orange colouring. The logo comes across as confident, masculine and creative.

Did you know that there are 12 overarching types of personalities that businesses and brands can embody? Check out  12 Brand Personality Examples to Remember and Inspire”  for more information. 

Key Takeaways on Brand Personality

A clear and consistent brand personality is an important element that every business should focus on developing. Consumers are more easily able to identify with brands that they see as having some sort of human-like qualities and are drawn to brands with personalities that mirror their own.

By establishing a set of personality traits that you’d like your brand to embody, you can begin to focus on establishing these traits in your copy, advertising, product and service development and even company policies.

Most brands fall into one of five personality types, as established by Jennifer Aaker. These include:

  • Sincerity
  • Excitement
  • Competence
  • Sophistication
  • Ruggedness

Your brand may embody more than one of these dimensions. Regardless, it’s important to develop a clear personality and to be consistent in portraying it. 

Make sure that the personality you select stands out from your competitors and that it is in line with your mission statement, makes sense for your business and aligns with the personalities of your target audience. By doing so, you will ensure that you can mirror the values and morals of your target market, allowing them to identify with your brand.

Think your brand personality is outdated? Not connecting with your audience? Unsure of where to start? 


Advesa empowers business owners by providing them with the digital solutions they need to establish their online presence and witness exponential growth. We take a holistic approach to online business strategy, web development and digital marketing.

Through experience and innovation, we discover niches within industries and apply proven methods to help small to medium sized businesses craft their own brand, build a website, and sell online.


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Vincent Lee

Written By Vincent Lee

The Managing Editor at Advesa, Vincent is a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, a lover of cats, and a purveyor of fine roasted matcha teas. When not writing, he enjoys exercising and biking around his beautiful hometown of Vancouver. He is also a strong supporter of the oxford comma.

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