A Brand Personality Guide

Branding and Marketing

Many psychologists measure people’s personalities on the following “Big Five” personality traits.

  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Neuroticism
  • Openness

In 1997, Jennifer Aaker formulated a parallel set of “Big Five” brand personality traits.

  • Excitement
  • Sincerity
  • Ruggedness
  • Competence
  • Sophistication

The following is just a brief guide to identifying and reinforcing your brand’s personality.

Brand Personality Guide

1. What is your brand’s main selling point

No one personality is “better” than the other. What is important, however, it that the personality fits the main selling point. For example, a sophisticated brand personality is more suited for wine while a rugged brand personality would fit a tyre company. Try sticking to just one personality. Trying to sell too many “main benefits” may turn your brand into a forgettable Jack of all trades. You can use the following as guide to select and/or identify your brand’s personality.

Personality Main Selling Point
Excitement Uniqueness, novelty
Sincerity Friendly customer service
Ruggedness Durability, practicality
Competence Top rankings, long established history, expertise
Sophistication Refined quality, social status

2. Copy

The brand’s tagline and advertisement copy should reflect your brand personality. For example, a brand that wants position itself as competent often has a tagline that says “Since 1947” or “The World’s Leaders in Management.” Meanwhile, a brand that wants to appear sincere may adopt a tagline which says something like “Always here for you.

3. Visuals

Design Shack shows how different design elements can create different impressions. One should create a style guide to ensure consistent color schemes, typography and images used. I found the following infographics very useful in selecting a style guide.

Colour Emotion Guide

Color Emotion Guide by The Logo Company

The Psychology of Fonts

The Psychology of Fonts by Weems

4. Selecting complementary brand associations

Once you have decided on a personality, it is important to make that personality strong. You can do so by selecting other brand associations like a spokesperson or an event that complement your brand personality.

© Lois Poh, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lois Poh with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


One thought on “A Brand Personality Guide

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