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The sway great brands can hold over people is undeniable: consumers are drawn to brands, see themselves in brands, and sometimes obsess over brands. A compelling, larger-than-life brand has the potential to stand the test of time. Fans of Apple swear by it, choosing only its products without considering alternatives. The mere mention of “Louis Vuitton” conjures up imagery of class and prestige. In this blog, we deconstruct big brands and see how brand personality plays a part in brand building. 

How does brand personality work? 

What exactly makes up a brand? Is it its logo, tagline or product? A brand is more than the sum of its parts, transcending physical symbols and benefits. At the heart of all brands lies its personality which is derived from its mission, vision, purpose and target audience. 

David Aaker, a professor of University of California in Berkeley, and marketing specialist, defined brand personality as a set of human characteristics associated with a brand. Aaker developed this model in 1997 and in her paper in the Journal of Marketing Research, she states: “A brand vision should attempt to go beyond functional benefits to consider organizational values; a higher purpose; brand personality; and emotional, social, and self-expressive benefits.” 

Why do I need to create a personality for my brand? 

People buy products they can relate to. Brand personalities are created such that they resonate with specific consumer segments. By consistently expressing brand personality through brand voice and other collaterals, you build an identity. If done skillfully, your brand can evoke positive feelings with your intended target audience – increasing your brand’s equity. High brand equity – strong and positive consumer perception – means the difference between a consumer buying one soap brand over another. In essence, branding has the ability to transform your business. 

What are the different brand personalities? 

The Aaker model gives marketers the framework through which they can build successful brands. With this preliminary scaffold, you create a blueprint for all your marketing campaigns. Inspired by the “Big Five” personality traits, Aaker groups brand personalities into five main categories: 

  • Sincerity (Honest, Wholesome)
  • Ruggedness (Outdoorsy, Tough)
  • Excitement (Daring, Spirited)
  • Competence (Reliable, Knowledgeable)
  • Sophistication (Luxurious, Prestigious)

Some examples of well-known brands that are sincere include Campbell’s Soup, Dove and Hallmark. Those that are rugged include North Face, Jeep and Harley Davidson. Brands that perfectly encapsulate excitement are Coca-Cola, Nike, and Burger King. Brands that are competent and those which we trust include The New York Times, Procter & Gamble and DHL. Sophisticated ones include Chrysler, Chanel and Absolut Vodka.

How do you create your brand personality? 

Some industries have strong associations with particular primary personalities. You might want your food and healthcare products to be natural, safe and wholesome (trait of sincerity), while your security, IT, logistics and insurance companies, reliable and trustworthy (trait of competence). For other industries like retail fashion, automotive and media,  they can fit into a few different buckets. 

By carrying out a competitor analysis, you understand the brand personalities of your direct competitors and how your brand fits into its commercial space. Choosing a secondary personality trait can help you further differentiate your brand from your competitors. The best personalities are not one-dimensional and are usually multi-faceted, with a mix of traits. 

Create an unforgettable brand with brand marketing agency BDSA

Creating a brand personality is not easy when you have numerous things on your plate. You might think that brand strategy is not a crucial step and not plan for it when conceiving marketing plans. However, by side stepping this process, you do not do justice to your brand. This is where a brand consultancy agency comes in. Choose a creative, renowned and experienced Singapore-based agency like BDSA. 

We follow a methodical process and develop a brand in three distinct stages: Discovery, Strategy, Translation. We study your brand, conduct research, and carry out competitor analysis. From here, we derive a brand strategy, which includes the creation of a brand personality and functions as a blueprint to guide you in your marketing. Our brand consultancy services can elevate your brand and bring it to new heights. Start your journey of marketing with Singapore brand marketing agency BDSA by defining and creating unique, compelling brands. 

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