“Who are you to tell people about personality? You don’t have one!”
Rock-solid support there. I think that may be the last time I keep her up-to-date with how the business is going.
So it’s a good thing that when it comes to branding, there are a number of predefined personality types that each and every one falls into.
If I had to wing it, this article might not be the most helpful as she most insightfully points out, but as there are, you’re in luck! And I’m gonna tell you all about them.
A personality is one of the most vital components of your brand. Just like it is in a person. You wouldn’t want to hang around with someone that’s dull and completely un-stimulating. You wouldn’t trust someone that thought microwaving spoons was a good idea. You wouldn’t introduce an angry, neanderthal-esque bloke that liked to punch cats, to your friends and family. Or maybe you would. I don’t know your friends and family.
Ultimately we all form emotional connections with those that are similar to us. That entertain and inspire us.
And that’s exactly what your brand needs to do!
Your personality is one of the pillar foundations of your brand’s entire look, feel and tone of voice. It’s the blueprint of how you present yourself to your audience.
And there are many businesses out there that don’t know WHO they are!
If you don’t know who you are, how can you expect others to? How can you expect anyone else to understand and connect with you?
If you don’t understand the personality of your brand (and how it relates to that of your target audience’s), then your brand will be a mish-mash of contradictions and inconsistencies. The way your brand looks won’t be the same as it sounds. The way it behaves will be different depending on the direction of the wind.
As soon as you lose consistency, you’ll either confuse your audience at best, or put them off entirely.
And that’s less than ideal for a profitable business.
There’s a weird misconception that because the personality belongs to a business, it’s something completely different to that of a person’s. That it’s so much harder to create.
Let me tell you something…
THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.
You want people to emotionally connect with your brand like a best friend right? To see your brand as a kindred spirit to their own – a reflection of their wants, goals and motivations.
So why complicate things? Why make your business LESS human?
Brands are people too. They should have values, an outlook on life, a sense of humour, a way of talking, a way of presenting themselves to others.
The closer your brand matches the personality of your intended audience, the more appealing and trustworthy it will be.
A lovely little Swiss man by the name of Carl Jung introduced the world to the idea of personality archetypes over a century ago.
He presented them as universal, underlying character traits of each and every person on this planet. Completely unbound by time, distance, culture, religion etc.
Traits so deeply ingrained in all of us, they evoke strong emotions and behaviours.
They have been used for pretty much everything – from literature and film in popular culture to rather more serious psychological applications.
Some smart cookie also slapped them all over brand building. And whaddya know? It works. Because like I’ve said, brands are people too!
So here are the 12 brand personality archetypes to get your mind thinking.
And remember, everyone has a dominant personality type, but we also can show minor traits traits of others. Usually no more than 2 though. Otherwise you’d be a bit of a mess.
Innocent brands know that their audience want to be spoken to as openly and honestly as possible – no gimmicks, guilt or heavy-handed tactics.
They offer simple solutions, have straightforward values and don’t overcharge.
They come across as simple, trust-worthy and pure. They associate themselves with nostalgia or childhood and high morality, using simple, natural imagery.
They differentiate themselves from other brands with poor reputations. They need to constantly strive to stick to their ideals however.
Sage brands know that their audience are looking for new sources of information and want to be challenged to think in new ways.
They offer expertise or information based on scientific findings and hard facts.
They trust their audience to grasp difficult concepts and understand intellectual in-jokes. They use complicated words and symbolic imagery across their content.
They differentiate themselves from others of lesser quality or performance. They need to find a balance between becoming too dumbed down or patronising however.
Explorer brands know that their audience crave journey and adventure, preferring to discover the world for themselves.
They help people pioneer, to feel free and to carve out their own individual paths.
They come across as sturdy and rugged, new and unknown. They embrace the spirit and excitement of exploration.
They differentiate themselves from other brands that are conformist or for the regular guy/girl. They need to prevent themselves from being seen as too rigid or corporate however.
Rebel brands know that their audience crave the unconventional, they strive to be different and break the status quo.
They disrupt, destroy or shock to get their message across and appeal to those that are disillusioned with society. They are the alternative to the mainstream.
They either help to retain values that are being threatened by new, emerging ones or help pave the way for completely different ways of thinking – breaking with normal conventions.
They differentiate themselves from brands that keep within the lines. They have to be wary of ‘selling out’ or becoming too popular however.
Magician brands know that their audience want to be transformed into a better version of themselves. They need to feel they are growing wiser or more influential.
They focus on the individual, make things happen and promise to transform their audience through their content, products and services. To expand their consciousness and spirituality.
They are generally very user friendly, making the complex appear simple and charge medium to high prices for their services.
They differentiate themselves from structured brands without a ‘soul’. They need to live up to their transformative promises however.
Hero brands know that their audience want high quality and efficiency – they want a job done to the best it can be.
They create strong products and services that help people do tough jobs exceptionally well or be all they can be.
They want to make a major impact on the world and solve major social problems. They promote goodness and morality and usually have a clear opponent they want to ‘beat’.
They differentiate themselves from brands that struggle to live up to their promises. They must always make sure they are the best rated/valued however.
Lover brands know that their audience appreciate aesthetic appearance and design. They want to be more attractive in the eyes of others.
They promote physical and emotional attraction, helping people ‘belong’, find friends, partners and generally have a good time.
They are usually mysterious and glamorous with an emphasis on sensual pleasure and how the audience will feel – lust and aspiration.
They differentiate themselves from brands that are self-important or overconfident. They cannot look cheap or too business-like however.
Jester brands know that their audience appreciate the unusual, surreal and the playful – especially making light of the seriousness of life.
They want to bring fun and joy to the world through play, interest and humour. They use outrageous imagery and often tease their audience affectionately.
They help people have a good time, give a sense of belonging and are usually targeted at younger people.
They differentiate themselves from brands that take themselves too seriously. They need to stay away from the bitterness of reality – customer complaints, legal action etc.
Regular guy brands know that their audience wants quality and dependability. They prefer the familiar and emotionally invest in brands they trust.
They have solid, ordinary values, are easily approachable and take pride in their down to earth approach.
They help people with a sense of belonging and offer everyday functionality through an honest image.
They differentiate themselves from premium, elitist brands. They need to work hard at not letting greed overtake them however.
Nurturer brands know that their audience want to be recognised for their effort and don’t like to be patronised. They are emotionally driven and don’t like aggressive, in your face tactics.
They help their audience respect and care for themselves and others through support and connected communities.
They usually aren’t in it for profit and like to pass on any competitive advantage just to help. They offer compassion, generosity and protection above anything else.
They differentiate themselves from uncharitable brands and need to stay away from being harmful or exploitative.
Ruler brands know that their audience are naturally dominant and want reaffirmation of their own power and stability.
They provide high-status products and services to enhance those feelings of power and organisation. They use high pricing to maintain a level of exclusivity.
They present themselves as the leader in their field and speak with confidence and authority. They have a strong, solid image – very polished and very masculine.
They differentiate themselves from ‘pretender’ brands – those that aren’t the real deal. They would be hit hard if they were perceived as weak or had to concede defeat to a rival.
Creator brands know that their audience have the time to be creative, enjoy pushing boundaries and moving into the experimental and novel. They are difficult to appeal to though – it takes something truly special.
They promote self expression by giving their audience choices to tailor their products/services.
They hold innovation and artistic design in high regard and position themselves as the key to unlocking creativity.
They differentiate themselves from ‘by-the-book’ brands that lack imagination. They need the capacity to maintain authenticity and innovation however.
Well there you have it. The world in 12 people.
We all show dominant traits of one of these, and therefore so should the brands we build to resonate with people.
Branding is all about psychology. It’s about creating an emotional connection with people to build respect, trust and loyalty.
And you need to be human to do that.
No-one falls in love with a brick wall. Actually that’s a lie. There’s this builder I know, but that’s going way off topic…
Once you know the personality of your brand (and your audience), everything else flows from it.
It’s only then that you can start being strategically creative in your visual design and content.
And it’s only then that your consistency will lead to success.
Which personality archetype does your brand most closely resemble? How does that fit with the audience you’re trying to attract? Slide on over to the Facebook group and let me know!