It’s Not You, It’s Me: Developing a Brand Personality

DSCF1860Consumers determine who you are as a company based on the words and images you use to communicate about your company, your products, and what your products can do for people. That sounds simple, but it’s easy to overlook. Often, brands become so wound up in trying to figure out what they do as they create their messaging that they don’t think to communicate it in a way that makes sense to the people they actually want to sell things to.

Creating a brand personality is all about establishing who your customer is. We tend to be drawn to people who are like us, people who speak and act like us, and hold the same values and beliefs. Something as simple as sharing the same first or last name can make two people like one another more than they would have otherwise. It’s why we tend to mirror the gestures and speech patterns of those we’re interacting with when we like them, and why salespeople do this on purpose to cultivate positive relationships.

Brands can learn a lot from these basic human truths. We want to do business with people – and companies – we like, and your brand’s personality plays a huge part in this. Once you know who your customer is, it’s up to you to create a brand that speaks to them in a way that resonates.

Universal brands that rely on feelings of warmth, family and togetherness like Coke and McDonald’s aren’t going to put out customer-facing messages that talk about “building synergies between entities” stuffed with stock art. They will talk about sharing time with family and friends, using original images. And if you’re scratching your head over those increasingly weird yet successful Old Spice commercials, well – you may not be the target audience. They know who they’re marketing to, and they’ve transformed themselves into a brand that speaks to those people.

So if you’re struggling to figure out who you are as a company, consider who it is you want to connect with, and learn more about them: what they want, how they talk, who what aspire to. Sometimes learning more about your customer can help you figure out what you’re all about.

Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley is an award-winning author and advertising copywriter. In addition to creating knock-out content for brands by day, she pens novels and essay collections by night. Hurley's work has appeared in The Atlantic and Popular Science, and she writes regular columns for Locus Magazine.

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