Making Your Brand Come Alive

What exactly defines a brand’s “personality”? Is it, perhaps, the company logo? The colors and images used in advertisements?

It may be surprising to hear that none of these things actually define a brand’s personality. A brand’s logo, color scheme, and design are all part of its visual identity – only one element of an overall personality.

Confusing visual identity and personality is one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to define their brand.

While flyers, advertisements, and related marketing materials allow consumers to visualize your products and ideas, a brand’s personality is what sculpts the emotional, human characteristics that people associate with your company or business.

If you want to make your brand come alive, you must define its personality. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

1. Research Your Target Market

The first step in any marketing, advertising or branding initiative should be to identify and understand your target market. The best way to do this is through extensive research.

Find out where your target consumer shops, what social media they use, and what they blog about.  What do they hate?  And better yet, what do they love?

The more you know about your target market, the easier it will be to create a brand personality that will appeal to their emotions and preferences.

2. Understand Your Vision

Understanding your vision gives you a starting point or foundation from which to build your brand’s personality.

Defining goals and a mission statement is an essential part of this development, and can mold your brand for success.

It also helps to spend time thinking about where your brand is ultimately going, or at least, what direction it’s headed in.  Consumers value consistency.  The less you have to redefine your brand in the future, the better.

Determining brand values chart

Determining brand values.

3. Define and Incorporate Your Values

Values give consumers an indication of how a brand or company will conduct itself socially.

How will a brand react to bad press? Are they polite and professional, or are they defensive? Do they react at all?

The point is, defining your brand’s values is incredibly important.  Conveying these values to your consumers helps them form an emotional, human connection with your brand.

Choose values that you think your target consumer can relate to. If your target market is families, for example, honesty or reliability might be good values to market and uphold.

4. Tell a Story

One of the best ways to give your brand a human element and draw consumers in is to tell a story.

Over the years, Hallmark has marketed a number of stories in which Hallmark cards cheer people up and turn their bad days around. As a result, many people associate Hallmark cards with warm greetings and good feelings. These traits have essentially become a part of Hallmark’s personality.

To really define a personality for your brand, you must invoke emotions in your consumers so they remember the brand as something more than a name or a logo.

Hallmark's commitment to storytelling and making its brand come alive

Hallmark tells a story to make its brand come alive.

5. Match Visual Identity to Personality

Make sure your brand’s visual identity is a recognized part of its personality.

The emotions and human characteristics that define your brand’s personality should be supported by advertisements, logos and designs that enforce these characteristics.

It may be difficult, for example, to convey characteristics such as cheer, happiness and love with print ads that are black, edgy, and over-the-top professional.

Lastly, make sure that you remain consistent.  Conveying the same personality characteristics over time will help your consumers believe in your brand’s personality.

beams&bricksMaking Your Brand Come Alive

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