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What's The Deal with Brand Personality?

Brand Personality gets thrown around a lot, and it's easy to re-interpret the phrase to suit your needs as they come up. In fact, it's encouraged!

For the creative souls among us, I want to share the model that we're working with in this blog campaign.

At its essence, Brand Personality is some human element to corporate entities, most prevalent in advertising. It gives the target market an intangible ideal to connect with and aims to engage the market's emotional interest.

It's not difficult to think of some impressionable examples when it comes to well-defined brands. Take Wendy's Renowned Millennial Twitter Presence for example, or Markham's Urban Fashion. They appeal to certain aesthetic desires that reflect what their markets like.

We generally accept that we want to engage certain markets in certain ways, preserving tonality, atmosphere, and vocalisation. A fairly common model to use is the 12 Character Archetypes which most authors are familiar with. These 12 classifications were defined by Carl Jung to represent the simplest holistic range of human motivations.

This type of classification is actually incredibly common when it comes to brand personalities, and there are countless online sources citing variations of it. Most commonly, you'll find a 4-segment model, and at the most extreme, a 48-segment model.

(I have this sort-of philosophy I encourage all my friends to follow. It goes: How Far is Too Far? NOT FAR ENOUGH! I hereby extend a formal invitation - a challenge or a gauntlet - to you to try and segment it as far as you can. See what bits of fragments you can define when you inevitably take it too far.)

I've collated them here for you in most general or common terms:

You might find similar charts or segments with different wording, but essentially, it comes down to this.

From the center ring, we have ideal ends. These are the vague umbrella terms that indicate what the personality hopes to achieve. Another way to phrase it is, 'We are trying to portray Impact with this personality,' or 'We aim to provide something that fosters stability.'

The middle ring is more universal, and these are the 12 Character Archetypes. We view them as roles which characters play in narratives. If we define the brand as a person with a personality, we would say that they are the hero, or the creative, etc. Phrasing it like this gives the brand personality a foundation for making decisions in their narrative.

If all we knew about our brand personality was that their role is 'Caregiver', then we can reasonably assume that we should portray them as a protector, somebody who is considerate and puts the client's needs and safety first while providing a guiding hand.

In the outer ring, we find personality traits. These are more concrete guidelines to monitoring tone of voice, or graphics, or blog posts. They provide a focus for the brand media. They dictate what, for example, a Facebook post should portray, such as Community, or Consideration. These are loosely defined, and can be substituted on a case by case basis, but, essentially, they act as gateways for engaging the market.

Generally, it would be easy to define businesses into very specific personalities according to this model. We'd imagine that insurance companies and banking businesses lean heavily into the Ruler and Caregiver roles, while clothing lines might focus on Lover or Rebel roles.

It's important to note that even when talking about simply the Jungian Archetypes, we must acknowledge that personalities are dynamic. Ideally, human personalities should incorporate all these roles, but how we choose to express them are situational and decisional.

We've gone ahead and weighted our chart to reflect areas where we want to invest more time and effort without neglecting other segments. I've done this by interrogating the People (ah, it all ties back in to the previous blog post) on which values they personally uphold, and which they believe the company should reflect.

Our weighted chart looks like this:

This gives a clear indication of what our company values, and a useful guideline for how to conduct ourselves. Of course, I'm writing this blog and I get to say that Compass values individuality, so they allow me to be myself (Young and Confused, not pictured above).

We can immediately infer certain things about Compass:

Compass values: Innovation, Security, Knowledge, Simplicity, etc.

While not the main focus, Compass appreciates: Opinion, Optimism, Insight, Openness.

This model gives us an idea of how we want to represent the brand, and if it were a person, what kind of personality they would have. This is, essentially, how we want our markets to view us.

While it's a fairly vague model, it's nonetheless fun to figure out. If you're looking for some insight into your family, try weighting a graph like this.

This Blog Post has been brought to you by Opinion, Optimism and Openness.

See you next time when we tackle Insight, Understanding and Growth!

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