Whether you’re launching a new company or rebranding an existing one, you’re faced with an important challenge: defining your brand personality clearly and definitively in the mind of the consumer.
One approach that many have found helpful is to think of your brand as more than a logo or a product or even a company, but as a living, breathing personality. Here, we’ll offer a four fun exercises that can help you envision your brand as a multidimensional entity that will, we hope, help you create a unique and successful brand identity.
1. Your brand walks into a party…
First let’s consider how you want your brand to appear to others. Let’s say your brand was a person entering a party. Of course you want to connect with other guests in a memorable way.
What would you say, and what would be your approach – quiet or boisterous? Would your tone be highly technical and specialized or accessible to all? Write down the words that describe how your brand would act.
2. 20 things about me
Ready for a party game? Imagine your brand as a person and make a list of 20 things that your brand might say about itself. Take a cue from Internet memes, quizzes and lists to come up with these quirky and interesting tidbits. And be creative! Once you get into the right mindset, the items should flow more freely.
When you’re done, look back at the list and see what common characteristics you find. Is your tone serious or silly? Are your facts straightforward or more abstract? Grouped together, these details will begin to create a picture of your brand’s personality.
3. Finding your brand’s spirit animal
Maybe the cocktail party analogy isn’t perfect for your brand. Instead try the concept of the spirit animal— it’s not only an ancient concept, but one that has proven very successful in the world of modern marketing and advertising.
Most will quickly recognize classic automotive brands like Cougar, Mustang, Thunderbird, and Impala. The Mustang is among the longest surviving brands in automotive history. The horse at full gallop, mane flying in the breeze, is evocative of the brand’s desire to capture the freedom of the open road and the independence of the American spirit.
Try thinking of what animal might personify your brand. It can be an actual animal (like Japan Airlines’ heron) or even something mythical (like Saab’s crowned gryphon head). The point is to bring out the characteristics that most define your brand—such as speed, innovation, daringness, security, or strength.
4. A face to a name
Animals not working for you? Try thinking of your ideal brand spokesperson. This could be anyone from an “everyman” to a well-known celebrity. Think about the way they would speak, dress and present themselves – and how those elements would connect with your consumer. Would they offer a reassuring hand or a bold new direction? Would they emphasize networking and communication or individual creativity? Jot down the personality traits your spokesperson embodies.
Few brands have a better symbolic spokesman than Abraham Lincoln whose distinctive bearded silhouette features prominently in the Lincoln Financial Group’s logo. Certainly anyone named “Honest Abe” can be trusted to manage your money, right?
Whether you chose one of these methods or all four, you should have a pretty solid list of brand characteristics at this point. These words will help you define your brand’s own distinct personality—an emotional thumbprint that consumers can easily identify with.
Once you define your brand’s personality, you’ll be able to use it to inform your brand’s design choices – including logo, font, color palette, graphic elements and overall presentation.
How else do you define your brand personality? Share your tricks in the comments!
Cover photo: Gratisography