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Using Insights to Craft Brand Personality

We all know about brand positioning and its vital importance in your brand’s marketing efforts.  But, what about Brand Personality?

Brand Personality is a set of human characteristics that can be attributed to your brand.  And, the benefit of a relevant brand personality is that it makes your brand more relatable to your target audience and creates and emotional connection so your communications are more likely to resonate.

A good example would be two different sparkling water brands.  They are both in the same category and are considered competitors.  One brand is considered to be a woman who is outgoing, talkative and very approachable.  She is younger and, because of that, she is energetic, creative, artsy, is fun to be around and puts everyone at ease.  However, her enthusiasm is a double-edged sword … she can be too much for every day.  She is someone who you need to be in the mood to hang out with.

The competitive brand is a man who is usually in control, more reserved, established, and well groomed.  While in control and reserved, he is not uptight.  In fact, he can be fun, impulsive and more social when he wants to be; he just doesn’t want to be fun that often. He is routine and consistent - if not a bit too bland.  He is a good friend, just not the most exciting person to be around.

Two similar products, two very different personalities!

A variety of research tools can help you get to insights to uncover consumers’ current perceptions of your brand’s personality, and help your team to map the way forward for proactively managing your brand personality.

In Qualitative research, we work to elicit top-of-mind thoughts that come to mind for your brand – among both brand loyalists & non-loyalist users - to understand what comes across to them (which sometimes is different from the personality the team thinks they are communicating!)

Insights gained through qualitative insights can be very enlightening! Exercises like personification, where we may ask consumers to describe the personality, not physical characteristics, of the brand.  Prompts may center around what they do for a living, what their mom thinks of them, what kind of friend they are, what they would say about the people in the focus group, etc… 

After you have some great consumer-elicited personality characteristics for your brand from qualitative research, it is best to quantify what you have heard to ensure it’s not just the perspective of the four groups of people from Cleveland that you talked to!

An online quantitative survey, with sample sizes large enough to break out your brand loyalists and general users, is a great way to know where your brand personality is today among a reliable, projectable sample of your target.  The insights and consumer language from the qualitative are utilized to craft the quantitative survey and measure where your brand is today.

And – throughout this whole process, don’t forget your competitors!  Understanding your competitors’ brand personalities is critical context for your team to ensure that your brand’s personality is unique from others so that you are staking out ownable territory.

Once you understand where both your brand and your competitors’ personalities stand today in the brand landscape, you can bring the team together to craft the brand’s go-forward personality.  Your brand personality should be grounded in where you are today, with a healthy dose of your vision for the brand in the future. 

Then – going forward - this is what needs to be represented in all of your brand’s communications from here on out. 

After you give it a bit of time to take hold in consumers’ minds, consider conducting tracking research to monitor your brand personality.  This is often incorporated into Awareness and Equity tracking studies, and will help the team to monitor how the personality is taking hold in the marketplace and provide insights to aid in understanding if adjustments are needed to communications to better reflect your desired brand personality. 

Caroline Roe is the Director of Quantitative Research at Insights in Marketing, where she leverages years of client side experience to help deliver mind blowing results. Learn more about Caroline here.

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