A brand persona is one of the most critical tools in marketing a successful brand. It represents a personification of a company or brand. It can be described as the sum of emotional, psychological, and behavioral characteristics unique to a brand that represent human properties consumers can identify with.
Funny. Charming. Exciting. Expert. Friendly. Open. These words and phrases usually describe a person's character traits but can also define a brand's personality.
Personal traits of your character can charm others, make them happy, and give them helpful advice that will help them solve a problem. The same goes for the personality of a brand or brand persona.
If you readily associate a brand with its character, it has a well-conceived brand persona. So, for example, you’ll always say that Volvo “instills safety”. Cockta drink is “inimitably its own”, and Red Bull lifts self-assurance and “gives you wings”.
What is a brand persona?
It is a set of personal traits, values, attitudes, and promotional messages used in brand marketing to establish close contact with consumers. A brand persona is a way we personify a brand. It is the total sum of emotional, psychological, and behavioral traits that are unique to a brand, and they represent human traits a consumer can identify with.
Well-defined brand persona:
- Humanizes a brand
- Makes it unique in the eyes of consumers
- Creates conditions for the successful connection between the brand and consumers
A brand persona is crucial when working your way through the strategic positioning of your brand and is an indispensable ingredient of any successful marketing strategy. So, how to create a brand persona?
5 dimensions of a brand persona
A well-defined brand persona is someone your buyer will gladly communicate with or be in the company in real life. According to the famous brand expert Jean-Noël Kapferer, brand persona enables buyers to identify with the brand or successfully project their desires onto a brand. It is the source of a communication tone and style used for brand marketing, sales messages, and promotional materials while providing consistency in communication with the buyers.
The first step of brand persona creation is determining the personal traits of your brand. Even though you might describe your brand with hundreds of different epithets, it’s good to know that all the possibilities could be reduced to “big five” traits or five dimensions of brand personality, as defined by Jennifer Aaker.
According to this frequently cited brand expert, a brand persona can be based on five main traits: excitement, sincerity, sophistication, competence, or ruggedness.
Let’s align these brand persona dimensions with concrete examples. So, the communication of the well-known male cosmetics Old Spice brand is defined by its ruggedness and masculinity. On the other hand, Volvo embodies competence and professionalism, while the Croatian brand of refreshment drinks Pipi shines with sincerity, a relaxed personality, and a southern temper. Finally, look no further than the fashion brand Prada for sophistication, while Red Bull is defined as the brand for all those searching for excitement.
To make it more clear, we have placed all these examples in the graph below:
Identify the role your brand plays for your buyers
After you have determined the primary personality trait of your brand per the above scheme, it’s time for the second step: defining the role of your brand for the buyer. Experts for branding and digital marketing AppSamurai state on their blog that before creating a brand persona, you have to understand the needs and expectations of your clients.
For instance, your brand can be seen as a medical expert if you are in a pharmacy or selling OTC drugs. In that case, your patients will trust you only if you offer professional and expert advice that will contribute to improving their health. Conversely, your brand will play a completely different role if you own an online streaming service for TV series and films. Your buyers will dedicate a function of an entertainer for your brand, someone who will give them fun and beautiful moments in their leisure time.
AppSamurai says your brand can be perceived as a leader, trendsetter, or someone who provides care, even an adventurist or free spirit or someone ready for excitement and adventures. There are so many possible roles your brand can play; it all depends on your services, products, and expertise.
And, of course, the role your brand plays in the eyes of consumers has to be in line with the chosen primary personality dimension. So, for example, if you have decided to attribute excitement as the primary personality trait of your brand, the natural role of an adventurist will fit perfectly, just like in the case of Red Bull.
Create an identification card or profile of your brand persona
When creating a brand persona, please pay attention to the particularities of your brand, how it differs from other brands, and determine its unique DNA. That way, you will stick out from all the brands and find your unique voice. In addition, study your target audience too. Determine their demographic data, gender, age, interests, hobbies, and “pain points”, the preferred communication style of your consumers.
After you have put everything on paper, you can approach making an I.D. or profile of your brand persona. It doesn’t have to be a person; your brand persona can be a drawing, animal, mascot, or something else. A brand persona is closely related to your buyer’s persona, but it differs because it represents your brand's qualities and traits and not your buyers' traits (even though it has to be in close connection to them).
An I.D. card of your brand persona should contain the following elements:
Name your brand persona: imagine for a moment that you are an owner of a Nike corporation; your brand persona’s name shouldn’t, in that case, be Nike at all. You usually don’t name your brand persona by the company name but by personal name. It’s better to call your brand persona Michael or Bolt or some other name that alludes to the sport or famous athletes. Go for a memorable name that embodies the spirit of your brand.
Give a face to your brand persona: if your target audience is predominantly female and primarily professionals in their thirties, you’ll choose the photograph or drawing that faithfully represents your target. The face of your brand persona doesn't have to be human; it can be an animal or mascot. For example, a likable rabbit, if your business area is fast delivery of different products.
Determine your brand persona’s age, personality traits, and interests: constantly consider your buyer's profile. His or her age should be aligned with your brand persona’s age and interests. For example, your brand persona could be named Sarah. She can be described as an optimistic and cheerful businesswoman in her thirties who likes sports, reading, and professional development. She can see an accomplice in your brand in her efforts to reconcile her professional tasks and role as a mother. It’s good to list her interest in her I.D.: her preferred food, where she likes to go out, and what is her favorite holiday destination.
Write a short biography of your brand persona: when you are done with the previous steps, write down a brief biography of your brand persona. Then, tell her life story in ten sentences. You’ll finally have a well-rounded idea of your brand and what it personifies.
Examples of I.D. cards of two brand personas: https://looka.com/blog/brand-personality/
Connect with buyers with your brand persona
When you have finished the creation of your brand persona, use it for all your marketing activities, whether digital marketing or advertising on social media and the internet. Brand persona will serve you as an important signpost for all your branding and marketing activities and direct communication with your customers.
Having a well-defined brand persona will help you determine the tone of voice for your marketing materials, the visual sensation of the brand as well as the experience your brand provides to customers. Thanks to your brand persona, your company will stop being some anonymous subject or a thing and will become a true partner with the customer who builds a relationship of trust.
Start making your brand persona to make your company even more successful, or if you haven’t time in your busy schedule for that, look for the services of the agency for strategic and operative marketing planning like LOGIC.
Sources for additional reading:
Brand Personality: A Simple Guide to an Unforgettable Brand - Looka
Brand Persona Examples (With Definition and How to Build One) | Indeed.com Canada