What makes us like brands? Why do we love certain brands, and dislike the others? When it comes to buying something, how do we make a decision to pick one over the other? Brands speak to us in a language that appeals. And it appeals to us because brands are just like us – they display a set of human traits that resonate the traits we have.
Brand personality is a set of unique traits that shape the personality of a brand. If someone were to ask you what kind of person Fast Track is, you would most likely use the words cool and exciting. Similarly, talking about BMW, you will say stylish and suave. Now that you consciously think about it, you will realize that you have probably known about this all along, but never given it enough conscious thought.
Brand Personality is usually built by employing various channels. The personality of the brand is decided based on the target audience. If your product is meant for a youngster who wants to look cool and funky, then your brand will reflect that. If it is meant for a high-end businessman who loves exclusive things, then your brand should be just that – exclusive, high end, and classy.
In 1997, Jennifer Aaker, the daughter of one of the world’s most well-known branding experts David Aaker, came out with the Brand Personality model. This model was deeply rooted in psychology and marketing and said that just like humans, the brand has one of the five personalities types defined in her model. While brands may show characteristics and traits of other personalities, their core personality remains the same. Let’s have a look at the 5 core personalities, along with the sub-personalities within each –
Brand personality is much more than personality traits. It is made up of psychological, behavioral, and many other aspects. Let’s see what factors contribute to brand equity, which in turn helps in building brand awareness towards a specific personality –
- Visual Identity – Visual Identity includes aspects like the logo, brand colors, typography, design etc. A classy brand like BMW will never use Comic Sans in its ads, and a likewise you will not see Amul showing jet black backgrounds.
- Sound – Jingles, and music used in ads can go a long way in establishing a certain kind of brand personality. Jewelry brands, high-end real estate companies, and expensive cars will often use classy piano or saxophone music in the background, whereas brands that are rugged and outdoor will use fast-paced and energetic music. Music evokes a certain kind of emotion and and advertisers and brand managers know how to use the same well.
- Act – Act includes everything connected with the brand’s behavior. The brand might support certain types of causes, or be associated with certain acts. For example, Red Bull frequently conducts the Red Bull Bedroom Jam. The brand has a very youthful and energetic vibe, and musical jam events appeal to youngsters the most.
Brands that belong to the tech industry and sports industry often use this positioning. Competence is all about making your customer feel that they can compete with excellence if they are using your product.
As you would have noticed, both the ads talk about the pursuit of excellence, and traits like intelligence, smartness etc. Nike wants to make you the best athlete in the world by providing you with the necessary gear. Even IBM equips you with the best in order to become the smartest, and most intelligent.
One of the greatest modern-day corporations that fit well in this brand personality is SpaceX. They are making possible things that were once science fiction for us.
Such brands are very up-tempo, spirited, and daring. They reawaken your imagination and dare you to think beyond the usual. Think of a person in your friend circle who’s always up for new adventures, is likable, dares to try out new things without thinking too much. Do you get the picture? If the brand were to be a person, it would be this friend of yours.
Even in their advertisements, these brands are constantly trying to build up excitement and fun.
Brands that are involved in serious fields of work usually build a sincere personality. Such brands belong to industries like finance, engineering and technology, and even food and beverages that cater to special types of audiences as diabetics. You might have seen the mention of tech brands in the competent person. As mentioned above, certain brands may be split into different types of personalities that are interlinked.
Indian banking and insurance brands always talk about the assurance of money at the right time. They are very sincere in their approach. Same is the case with medicines for diabetics or cooking oil meant for people who suffer from cholesterol.
Brands that are expensive and meant for a premium audience have to look their part. They can’t be seen as loud, lousy, and brazen. High-end car brands, luxury watch and jewelry brands, and premium designer and fashion companies design their brands and labels so as to appear classy and rich.
As we can see in both the ads, the brands are keeping it extremely subtle and classy. There is absolutely no use of bold or bright colors, nor are there many elements. BMW talks about luxury and Louis Vuitton simply shows a person wearing an expensive 3 piece.
Brands that are adventurous, outdoorsy, masculine, and tough fall under the brand personality of ruggedness. These brands are often used for purposes that are tough or may cater to a more mature male audience who lookout for macho traits.
Multi Utility Vehicles and Trekking or Adventure Gear are some of the products that are traditionally projected as rugged.
Look at the brand positioning and personality of Jeep. This is a 1979 ad, and they’ve maintained the same brand value of Jeep since then.
Whenever you think about your favorite brands from now on, try to think along these dimensions. What do you like the most about that particular brand, and why don’t you buy its competing brand? The answer will be in the brand’s personality. Somewhere, it will either reflect your personality or some personality that you aspire to be.