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This fact of marketing life can not be stated enough:

Your customers aren’t necessarily purchasing
your product and/or service because of its features;
they’re purchasing because of you.

These are the customers who will form the backbone of your business, and the sooner you attract and maintain a relationship with them, the better.

This is why your branding is so important to your success. It doesn’t only involve you, but your business, as well, as it’s an extension of you in whatever respect you choose.

If discerning customers have a choice, they’d rather form a personal tie with a human instead of a cold, monolithic company. In general, they’d prefer a purchasing experience where relationship and trust are first and foremost, and in some cases, they’re prepared to pay a little more for that closeness.

Of course, companies realize this, too, which is why they strive to humanize themselves. And it works.

This is where brand personality becomes an important factor.

It’s the way a brand speaks and behaves. It involves giving human personality characteristics to a brand to create a difference in its perception by the consumer.

The first definitive study of this element was conducted by Dr Jennifer L Aaker, a distinguished professor at Stanford University. She identified five personality traits to bring out a positive emotional reaction to brands:

Jennifer L Aaker brand personality framework

The purpose of the exercise is to utilize traits customers consider favorable in establishing a focused image and course of action for your brand. It’s not necessary for a brand to feature each characteristic.

One of the best ways to begin developing your brand personality is to describe your business and/or service in keywords. Clearly, this will become useful when you build your marketing campaigns.

Next, it’s essential to identify your ideal customers by creating personas. In so doing, you’ve established what you’re offering and identified who would benefit by it.

Once you’ve done this, there’s a strong possibility your brand personality will begin to appear on its own.

Let’s take a look at the decisions a couple of major corporations made in this exercise:

As one would expect, Nike covered all the Aaker bases:

  • SincerityJust Do It portrays a no-excuses, take-action attitude;
  • Excitement … The competitiveness of sports addresses this by definition;
  • Competence … It utilizes elite athletes such as LeBron James and Serena Williams;
  • Sophistication … Nike was the Greek god of victory; and
  • Ruggedness … That’s also sports in a nutshell.

Then there’s Gatorade.

Their case study would be of interest to entrepreneurs who decide somewhere along the line that an image correction might be in order.

Gatorade was gaining a reputation as a hangover cure, much to the displeasure of the University of Florida, where it was created, and Stokely van Camp, who now owns it.

They wanted to refocus public perception to the original reason why the replenishing drink was created. To do so, they launched a campaign that featured old footage of the University of Florida Gators football team with a heavy emphasis that it was built specifically for athletes then, and it still is now.

As usual, we practice what we preach.

Each one of our online outposts features a distinct brand personality. For example, our snarky sports site, The Daily Player, is designed to convey just that. It only takes a second after landing there to understand its tone, what with elements such as this:

Daily Player Fanorama Store adWe’ve defined our target market as:

  • males, 25-54 with
  • an above average education who either have or are fast-tracking toward
  • an above average income and who
  • spend at least a part of each day reading sports sites.

The site’s content narratives are a mash-up between bar talk and the Chicago Manual of style. We use Times New Roman font because that’s standard in most newspapers, orange is our dominant color, and we’re consistent with our tone at every turn.

Daily Player Update - World Series Game 1Daily Player Update - Arsenal 10 wins in a rowWe continue to be pleased with the results.

Like The Daily Player, this site serves as a hub for our various products and services.

  • It’s designed for motivated marketers with emphasis on Millennials and Gen Zs,
  • The page layouts are clearly designed in a way that would be familiar to them, and
  • They’ve got a clue about online culture.

The primary colors are designed to convey four of the five elements:

  • Metallic silver for livery … Sincerity, competence, and sophistication, and
  • Orange for bold text … Excitement

It does, indeed.

We’re also relentless in presenting our primary message — both in article text and video form — so those who commit to achieve and maintain the Dot Com lifestyle keep its fundamental premises at the heart of their actions:

Most importantly, these brand personalities are designed to ensure our hubs are destination sites for our target markets. Thus, if we promote links to other products …

  • we’re declaring that we use and endorse those products,
  • the squeeze pages secure visitor details for us, and
  • we’ll handle the marketing follow-up, which will
  • stock our mailing lists.

Trust me, it does.

And brand personality has a lot to do with our continued success. Creating one is a simple and worthwhile exercise to the point of being vital.

Besides, we’ve got a leg up on the companies. We’re already human. Let’s thrive by making the most of it.