Brand Charter: Brand Personality – Part 2

4 years ago  •  By  •  0 Comments

Build a better brand charter, develop a brand personality that is true to your values.

In addition to thoughtful brand values, well-defined “brand personality” attributes are an important strategic element of a robust brand charter.

Brand Personality is the assignment of human characteristics to a brand as a way to achieve differentiation and connectability. While values are usually things, ideas, etc. (nouns), personality attributes are descriptive (think adjectives). These traits are important to inform the development of your brand’s experiential equities, such as: brand & product usage experience, how your brand behaves and speaks (tone of voice), and especially a brand’s identity.

When defining your brand’s personality attributes, we consider the following three principles:

  1. GO BEYOND THE EXPECTED. You’d be surprised how frequently we come across strategic brand documents that define their brand’s character / personality with the attribute “trusted”. Attributes like trust are implicit, expected, and also a Point of Parity. Who would honestly want to engage or build a relationship with a brand that wasn’t trustworthy?

    You can go beyond the ordinary or expected, and still be credible.

  2. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. Avoid superficiality or simply copying what your competitor is doing. While it’s understandable to desire attributes that are aspirational, they need to be attributes that are credible and attainable for your brand. For example, if a key value of your brand is strength or contemplation, then “lighthearted” or “fun” are most likely not attributes that make sense for your brand personality.

    Mexican sushi would be a stretch for many, but in this rare case, our friends at El Sushi Loco in the Los Angeles area pull it off in a truly authentic manner.

  3. BUILD ON YOUR VALUES. Go beyond credibility, and consider personality attributes that build on your brand values. Since your brand personality is meant to help ascribe human characteristics to your brand — as a way to make your brand more connectable — consider attributes that reinforce your brand values and help bring them to life. For example, if a brand values charity, then a natural personality attribute to help activate that value could be “selfless”, “devoted”, or “caring”.

    The Scout Law has 12 points: a goal for every Scout to live up to every day. What values does your brand aspire to, and try to live by each day?

    A well defined, and thoughtful brand personality is especially important to a brand’s long term success. Personality attributes that don’t settle for the expected, are authentic & true, and reflect real beliefs — will help your brand express its best self.

    Stay tuned for Part 3, when we’ll talk about Reasons To Believe, and the role they play in connecting together the more conceptual and tangible elements of a Brand Charter.

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Greg Zimmer

Partner, Chief Client & Strategy Officer at COHO Creative
Greg brings nearly 30 years of consulting and Fortune 100 Company experience to COHO. He’s held design, marketing, and R&D positions at companies like Drackett, P&G, 3M, and Target; leading design, product development, and strategy for some of the world’s most recognizable & loved brands. He and his wife are fans of authentic brand experiences. Pre-COVID, this might take them to NYC for HFPA Market Week, Corktown Detroit to check out revitalization efforts, enjoying a nice Smørrebrød in Copenhagen, or to one of Cincinnati’s hottest new restaurants in OTR. Now they're enjoying time with their 1-year old "future designer".

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