Welcome to the first installment of my series, The Brand Innovator, which will specifically focus on the different facets of what it takes to create, manage and grow a rockin’ brand!
Branding is a key differentiator in how consumers purchase and make informed buying decisions; however, a brand is much more than a slick logo—it is the promise that the product or service you are purchasing will not let you down. A brand is an emotional association. Once you begin to recognize that there is significantly more to a successful brand outside of pleasing visual elements and an interesting product, you will begin to experience increased success.
When reflecting on popular brands, there are likely a few descriptive keywords that come to mind. For instance, when you think about the Apple brand, words that come to mind might include innovation, luxury or trendy. When you consider the Disney brand, it may provoke words like imagination, creativity and family. Every successful brand generates an emotion, memory or attitude that resonates with a consumer, and these are what encourage consumers to continue to trust and purchase products from a specific brand.
A successful brand is composed of various facets, and the association of different emotions and specific characteristics discussed above are what is defined as brand persona.
What is a Brand Persona, Really?
A brand persona can be best understood as the personification, or the unique personality that is associated with a brand. Personification occurs when a brand image or brand identity is expressed in terms of humanistic traits. Just as human characteristics help us to separate one person from the next, a brand should likewise be composed of traits that help us to distinguish what that specific brand embodies.
Think of a brand persona as a personality you might assign to a specific logo or company. If you could turn your favorite brand into a living human being, what would that person look like? How would that person act, and what kind of personality would they possess? A brand persona represents the unique qualities, values and individualistic traits that make up the brands you know and love. A brand persona elicits certain feelings and associations, negative or positive, that you have with the brands you encounter each and every day.
So what makes a successful brand persona, and why is creating one so important?
When you purchase a good or service, you rely on that brand’s promise not to let you down. Depending on the brand, you anticipate a specific level of quality for the money you are spending—items that will last for at least as long as the expected lifespan, or items that will serve a specific purpose that was previously disclosed before the purchase was made. If a brand promises something specific of their product or service, but fails to deliver, the relationship between that consumer and brand can become damaged, leading to a different brand taking that customer’s business in the future.
Developing brand consistency is a dynamic component in forming a trusting customer base. If three competitors are evenly matched across price, product quality and convenience, the key differentiator could come down which brand the consumer trusts most. Take the steps to develop a brand promise and mission statement that include detailed benefits that your buyer’s can always expect throughout the brand’s lifetime. Both will create a framework for how a brand should steadily operate, what values the persona should always embody and represent.
Through employing a specific voice, style and design, your brand persona is how the brand communicates and connects with consumers—you should strive to ensure that all communication describes the correct essence of your brand. Essence is important because it is what elicits a negative or positive emotion when a customer interacts with a brand. Similar to how each person embodies an essence that you may have a positive or negative reaction to, a brand is no different. Research and evaluate your target market in order to understand how you can positively connect with them.
As you create and tweak the personality of your brand, remember that each and every detail of a brand’s persona will impact the way the brand is interpreted by a consumer. If you haven’t already, ensure that all pieces of your brand fit together cohesively and that you have developed the right persona to communicate with your consumer base. In order to do this, you must complete extensive consumer research and understand who your target market is. You cannot target everyone, but you can create a great persona for your specific brand that is strategically tailored and designed to deliver the right message to the right audience. Once you do so, you will experience the right results!