Purely for illustrations sake lets think about vodka for a while, two well known vodka brands lets say Stolichnaya and Absolute; same fundamental product yes but two different branding personalities. Absolute vodka’s personality would be young, hip and cool in comparison to Stolichnaya’s brand personality which would be more intellectual, conservative and more mature. These brand personalities have been created by and conveyed to the target consumer by the brands themselves via their brand personality statements and through careful characterisation of the brand.
What is brand personality?
Academically speaking brand personality is “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand.” It has been proven that consumers imbue brands with human personality traits and in turn create them into symbolic brands. From a consumer point of view brand personality is a way for them to express their personalities and define their lifestyles through material possessions. Whereas in past years, status in society would be communicated or dictated via class, caste or family connections. From a company’s point of view brand personality is a method of communicating the benefits associated with your product, in terms of it’s attributes or of it’s connotations of status. Companies also use brand personality to distinguish the brand from competitors which is essential in today’s saturated domestic markets; brand personality can also be used to create loyal customers by encouraging them to buy your brand through positive associations with the consumers personality which can be either aspirational or actual.
Brand personality is made up of two elements, what your company wants your customers to think/feel about your brand and what your customers actually think/feel about your brand. Brand personality is communicated over time using all elements of the marketing mix; product, price, promotion and place (distribution). You must communicate the desired personality though your product, it’s quality, use, packaging. Through the price of your product, pricing strategy, high or low cost, aspirational pricing? Place is also very important in the creation of brand personality, where are you going to sell your brand and through what distribution means. There have been many valid arguments that promotion is the most important aspect of the marketing mix when it comes to the creation of brand personality. The use of advertising is one of the easiest ways to establish clear associations with your brand and communicate it to mass audiences.
Along with the advertising element your company’s website is also one of the best platforms for you to clearly convey your brand’s personality. The design, images and copy that you have on your website all combine to communicate the personality of the brand, if customers associate with that then they will be be on the way to being converted into loyal consumers.
In order to come up with a clear brand personality strategy it is often useful to create a lifestyle portfolio for your brand. This involves taking your brand, your product and imagining what it would be like if it were a person, try to personify the brand. Think in terms of; what books would this person have on their bookshelf, what would they dress like, what music would they listen to and where would they live? This is useful for creating a direction for your brand to go in and the creation of a strong brand personality.
Brand personality is essential for building a strong brand, creating loyal customers and diversifying form the competition. These associations and beliefs that the consumer holds about your brand will go some way in achieving brand equity which is the total value of the brand as a separable asset. This will allow clear measurement and evaluation of the effectiveness of the marketing efforts that have been expended on the brand, an invaluable method for future success and growth of the brand.