Think about your business’ personality as if it were a real person with distinct character traits, a point of view and even a few quirks. What’s it like? Do you connect with its values, share its vision and generally feel good about interacting with your brand? These are questions your customers ask themselves when they consider doing business with you because the brands they identify with reflect their personalities and are extensions of their beliefs and values. Below we’ll discuss ways you can identify and create your brand persona.
What Is a Brand Persona?
A brand persona is the collection of a business’ personality traits, attitudes, values and strengths ― human-like characteristics that are easy for customers to relate to and bond with. It isn’t the same as your brand’s identity, which is the image you cultivate through the visual elements of your brand, such as your logo, fonts, colors and website design. However, your identity should reflect and support your brand’s persona throughout your company.
Why Is Your Brand Persona Important?
Your brand’s persona is the heart and soul of your company. It tells people who you are and what you stand for. A well-thought out and authentic persona will resonate with your target market and develop loyalty, trust and positive emotional associations with your customers.
A strong brand persona also helps differentiate you from a crowded marketplace. Businesses, just like people, don’t share the same personalities and don’t connect with every customer in the same way. Your mission as a business owner is to build and communicate your unique persona so that it connects with the customers you’re targeting.
Big Five Branding Personas
Back in the early 1960s, researchers developed a theory that human behavior stems from five fundamental personality traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Based on these psychological traits, most brands can be boiled down to one of these five personas:
- Exciting: adventuresome, carefree, spirited, youthful
- Sincere: friendly, genuine, kind, family-oriented
- Rugged: rough, tough, outdoors, athletic
- Competent: successful, accomplished, influential, a leader
- Sophisticated: elegant, prestigious, pretentious
Define Your Brand Persona
Where does your brand fit? How do you determine your business’ persona? Start by asking questions that reveal your brand’s personality. It’s important to delve deep and flesh out a persona that rings true with who you are and why you’re in business. A brand persona that is not based on your true values and attributes will fall flat sooner or later and will not connect as deeply with your customers.
Here are a few exercises to get you thinking:
- Describe your brand as if you were describing a person. What attributes do you think of?
- Get specific about the details of your persona ― what kind of music does it like? Where does it live, city or country? What type of entertainment does it prefer? Keep refining until you have a clear picture of your brand’s persona.
- Think about your brand promise and how it relates to some of the adjectives you’ve listed – do they fit together well? Your brand promise is the value you promise to consistently deliver to your customers. Here’s more information on how to create your brand promise.
- When you think of your business name, what emotions come to mind?
- Ask your employees to list three-to-five adjectives that describe your business.
- Ask your customers how they see your brand. How do they feel about it?
Design Shack offers a great list of comparisons to consider as you build your persona. Is your brand:
- Formal or funny?
- Big or small?
- Boring or surprising?
- Reserved or outspoken?
- Stylish or classic?
- Premium or inexpensive?
- Masculine or feminine?
- Rigid or flexible?
- Young or mature?
- Charming or chummy?
Once you’ve brainstormed the components of your authentic brand persona, distill everything down to three or four key words that describes your brand. If you need more help defining your brand’s persona, check out this template from Blue Steele that walks you through the process using a grid-based exercise.