Beauty might get the attention, but personality captures the heart.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a… sound familiar? Since time began, stories about powerful kings, wise old men and innocent maidens have captured our imagination and taken us on a journey of intrigue, nostalgia, fear, love, victory or self discovery. These larger than life personalities are easy to remember and identify with. People from all ages and cultures relate to the different characters, and their belief in the story or its message became all the more poignant.

Imagine if we did this in business and built brands with personality?

Nelson Mandela epitomises The Hero both in personality and his actions.

It’s no secret that at WRD we like to build brands. Our focus however, is to build brands with personality.

Our secret weapon is our brand personality quiz that has been developed with the philosophies of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s archetypes in mind. Every archetype or personality as we like to call them, contains its own traits and values that assist us to subconsciously identify with our own set of beliefs and aspirations. Brand personalities are therefore a very powerful contributor to human behaviour.

When a brand is built around a personality, the customer buy-in is so much stronger. Brands that have a character, tone or stand for something in particular have a much stronger following than those that simply look good (or in some cases don’t even look good). Brands that live and breath this personality, from the use and tone of their language, through to the colours, experience and behaviour, get far more loyalty and following than those that ignore this critical element to brand building. So much is involved in creating a brand with personality… and the details really do matter. If a brand turns to the wrong personality type, it can destroy a brand.

Take Nelson Mandela for example. Madiba had so much power inside and outside of prison. He could have taken revenge on a country that put him behind bars, which would have given a very different result to the incredible outpouring of love and thanks that the world has shown when he passed. Mandela chose a much harder road to travel. He was able to forgive from the heart which allowed him to openly run and rule his country with a fair and just hand. This turned him into the hero (not an activist) and for that he will always be remembered. Madiba’s personality was so strong that it inspired not just those in his country but those around the world.

Harley Davidson most tattooed logo in the world

On a more business level, let’s use Harley Davidson as an example. This is the most tattooed brand in the world! What makes a person love a brand so much that they are prepared to have its logo permanently etched into their skin? The Harley Davidson story is an inspiring one. Once on the decline and almost bankrupt, revolutionary managers were able to turn it around – disrupt the status quo and transform it from being a racing bike to a cruising bike. The Harley Davidson brand is so strongly based within the Brand Personality of The Rebel that it’s the only time that a middle aged accountant could be ‘feared’ as he drives into town on his Harley! This feeling of rebellion, power and liberation is what makes so many people want a piece of the brand and follow it so dogmatically.

Building a brand with personality focuses on the ‘who’ of your business. ‘Who’ are you and ‘why’ do you do what you do and ‘the way’ that you do it. Understanding your ‘why’ is critical. I’d like to share this great talk by Simon Sinek who explains this concept extremely well. So ‘who’ are you? Are you funny? Charismatic? Intellectual? Thoughtful? When people leave your business what word would they use to describe the experience? How have you made them feel?

A brand that has been built on the Brand Personality of The Entertainer is iSelect. Even though ‘what’ they do is compare insurance options (which is a very dry and tedious topic but never-the-less necessary), the iSelect personality is light hearted and fun. It takes the seriousness out of the equation and has turned comparing insurance into something that is simple, more entertaining and engaging. With so much competition in the insurance market, it is hard to make your mark and become front of mind, yet I have to admit that if I think of insurance and where I should go to compare the different plans, iSelect immediately comes to mind. This could be why is it Australia’s number 1 visited site when comparing insurance. The personality of the brand has shone through and made it memorable.

I’d like to leave you with one more example of a brand that has been built, this time on the Brand Archetype of The Ruler. It is of course Mercedes Benz. The Ruler personality is all about power, control and organisation. Some people might find this intimidating, yet The Ruler thrives in this position. Mercedes Benz has positioned itself extremely well within this brand archetype tapping into the personality traits of a person in a leadership position, someone who is striving for a position of power. As an authority figure, a Mercedes symbolises status, upper class and good breeding.

Hopefully this has demonstrated the power of building a brand with personality.

But how do you as an individual on a limited budget go about finding out what your brand personality is?

Well, at WRD we have the answer. We have developed a Brand Personalities online quiz that takes you through a word association game to help you determine ‘who’ your brand is. Some people are very clear on their business and the answer is easy. However, people without clarity around their brand can often try to be all things to all people, which in a branding environment can appear to be a bit schizophrenic. If this happens to you, don’t be shy to ask for help.

The investment in your business to get this brand personality well defined will reap huge results in years to come. Once you know what your brand personality is, you then need to find a strategic creative company to work with, who can bring the personality to life. Of course we do this at WRD, but it is critical for you to find a company that understands this concept and can collaborate with you, rather than you having to manage and educate them.

For more information on Brand Personalities head to www.brandpersonalities.com.au

Written by our Creative Director & Branding Specialist Debbie O'Connor - Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker

Published: May 25th, 2020