Does Your Brand Have a Personality Disorder?
by Bethany Good | Nov 4, 2021
Is your brand personality consistent with your company’s messaging?
Before you can begin your messaging, you first have to understand your Brand Personality which is the human characteristics, emotions, and attributes embodied by a brand. If you are just beginning your brand development process, make sure you first have a complete understanding of your customer and their customer value journey. It will do you no good to create your brand personality if it doesn’t coincide with your customer. By having a thorough understanding of your customer, you will be able to craft your brand personality in a way that builds that “know, like, and trust” factor.
While there are many ways to determine a brand’s personality, Jennifer Aaker’s Five Dimensions of Brand Personality and Carl Jung’s 12 archetypes are two of the most highly regarded models.
5 DIMENSIONS OF PERSONALITY
Jennifer Acker designed a framework that posits that there are 5 dimensions to brand personality and each dimension contains facets. Each facet then contains a series of traits. While every brand can place somewhere on the spectrum for each dimension, the most enduring and strongest brand personalities primarily emphasize just one primary trait and optionally one secondary trait. No one brand can be everything to everybody, so your brand should focus in one direction with clear and intentional messaging.
Description: This dimension includes brands that are seen as down-to-earth, honest, trustful, and cheerful, for example. Often, sincere brands are viewed this way due to the fact that they follow and communicate ethical practices, their commitment to the community, or concerns with consumers.
Sincere brand case: Patagonia
Description: This dimension involves brands that are perceived as being imaginative, up-to-date, inspiring, edgy, and spirited. Thus, often these brands often use colorful logos, uncommon fonts, portray themselves in unexpected and exciting places and situations.
Exciting brand case: Red Bull
Description: Competent brands are the ones that are primarily seen as being reliable, responsible, intelligent, and efficient. These consumer perceptions are often based on how well a product or service performs, and how the organization behaves in society and in the market.
Competent brand case: Apple
Description: Sophisticated brands are the ones perceived by consumers as upper class, romantic, charming, pretentious, and glamorous. Sophisticated brands are commonly found across luxury industries and on high-priced brands (for their product categories) across other industries.
Sophisticated brand case: Louis Vuitton
Description: Finally, this dimension includes brands that are seen as outdoorsy, tough, masculine, and western, for example. For this reason, rugged brands have a tendency of being male-oriented, of developing brand concepts that contain dark colors (often black, gray, navy blue, green), strong and thick fonts, less fine details and they portray their products in outdoor (mountains, rivers, farms, oceans, cliffs) and extreme scenarios (heavy rain, foggy weather, snow).
Ruggedness brand case: Harley Davidson
But we need to go further to build a complete brand personality. This is where modern psychology comes in. We need to understand how to relate to our audience, and which emotions to evoke in order to build trust.
CARL JUNG’S 12 ARCHETYPES
The famous psychiatrist and psychologist, Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, developed 12 archetypes that he found to be representative of human behavioral patterns and motivations. He believed a person’s identity is derived from our most primitive instincts and the collective unconscious. These instincts form the most basic foundation of who we are, the stories we tell, and how our culture is derived. Each person tends to have one dominant personality type, but often with a less strong back-up.
He felt that there were 4 basic needs that formed the essential goals at the center of his framework. These needs and goals then formed the 12 main archetypes. Carl Jung’s 12 Archetypes
When properly identified, brand archetypes will reflect the personality of brands and will serve to better align brand personality with specific Customer Personas.
The twelve brand archetypes are:
- The Innocent – this archetype is comprised of optimists, romantics, and dreamers. These brands exemplify tradition and nostalgia. Brand Examples: Little Debbie with both name and 1950’s packaging, Coca-Cola
- The Sage – this archetype is committed to seeking knowledge and wisdom. These brands serve as mentors and advisors. Brand Examples: Google, PBS, Harvard
- The Explorer – this archetype eschews boundaries and limits and is constantly seeking new experiences. These brands are non-conformists and seek adventure. Brand Examples: Harley-Davidson, Jeep, REI, Red Bull
- The Outlaw – this archetype questions authority and fights the system. These brands are rule-breakers and misfits who aim to disrupt and destroy the status quo by shifting power. Brand Examples: Virgin, Apple, Howard Stern, Miley Cyrus, Robin Hood
- The Magician – this archetype is all about making magic happen. These brands are charismatic visionaries who make dreams a reality. They are transformers and inventors, creators and healers. Brand Examples: Disney, Absolut, Polaroid, Dyson
- The Hero – this archetype is on a mission to make the world a better place. These brands are fearless, strong, and agile. They are the front-line warriors, superheroes, and soldiers. Brand Examples: Marvel, US Army, Nike, Duracell
- The Lover – this archetype inspires to create romance and commitment. It seeks intimate moments. These brands are all about relationships, passion, and compassion. They are the partners, team-builders, and sensualists. Brand Examples: Victoria’s Secret, Hershey’s Kisses, Agent Provocateur, Channel, Haagen Dazs
- The Jester – this archetype brings joy to the world through mischief, humor, fun, and irreverence. These brands are comedians and pranksters. Brand Examples: Old Spice, M&Ms, Ben & Jerry’s
- The Member (or The Every Man) – this archetype seeks connections and belonging and is supportive, faithful, and down-to-earth. These brands have solid values. They represent the person you want to go have a beer with. They seek to fit in. Brand Examples: Boston Lager (with their Cousin from Boston promotion), Dunkin Donuts (America runs on Dunkin), IKEA, Home Depot
- The Caregiver – this archetype is altruistic, generous, and empathetic. These brands exemplify selflessness in the belief of a life of serving others, nurturing others, and protecting and caring for others. Brand Examples: Johnson & Johnson, Cambell’s Soup, UNICEF, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Greenpeace
- The Ruler – this archetype seeks to crush the competition and looks to create order from chaos. They are powerful leaders who believe that winning is the ultimate goal. These brands are role models, leaders, aristocrats, and politicians. Brand Examples: Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, British Airways
- The Creator – this archetype is imaginative, inventive, and driven. It is the artist with boundless imagination. These brands are the visionaries who create the world in new, unique ways. They desire innovation, creativity, and perfection. Creators differ from Magicians by digging in tactically to create covet-worthy products. Brand Examples: Adobe, Crayola, Legos, Tinker Toys
Just like the Queen of England is very different from Britney Spears, so is Disney a drastically different brand from Dyson Vacuums. The messaging that would sell one product would obviously not sell the other. But understanding the personality of a brand is not enough. The brand must also determine its voice.
Whether you are familiar with the term or not, you experience Brand Voice every day. So what exactly is it? Brand voice refers to the energy, voice, vibe, and emotion infused into a company’s communications. It encompasses everything from the words and language you use, to the emotion and memories your marketing assets aim to invoke.
Coca-Cola is a great example when it comes to consistent brand voice. There’s a reason they are one of the most recognizable and popular brands in the world. The Coca-Cola voice is positive, friendly, and down-to-earth. They are always showing us concepts of what a happy life looks like accompanied by a positive voice.
The digital landscape is crowded. It’s filled with chatter from brands and individuals alike. You can only stand out so much based on your visual content, logo, or product features alone. Your written content needs that same attention and consistency you give to the other elements of your brand presence.
More than ever, readers want to make an emotional connection with the brands they follow or give business to. They want to read content that speaks to them, not at them, and not past them. This is where the tone of your messaging comes in.
You may think you’re writing in an easy, friendly tone, but often your audience may see it differently.
If you haven’t created a personal or company brand yet, and need some direction here are some questions to get you started. Or you can book a strategy session with us below:
How will your brand make people feel?
What makes your business different?
What are your core beliefs and values?
What type of company culture do you want?
What’s your message?
Who are your ideal people or customers?
How are you influential?
Does your product, service, or brand give people a transformation?
What problem do you solve?
What guarantees success and failure to you?
What’s your niche?
Are you authoritative in your niche?
Book a Brand voice with Good Writing Co. today!
I’m passionate about writing. I believe all businesses have a passion for what they do. My job is to share your passion with the world through my writing.