One of the main ways as a brand that you can differentiate yourself from your competitors is by developing your unique brand personality. Often described as a set of characteristics that shape the way new and existing customers feel about a brand, your brand personality should be consistently executed through every single communication touchpoint. Think about how your brand behaves, what it looks like and what it says.
With increasing channels of online communication, many companies have found it difficult to align all their messaging with their defined brand personality consistently. In 2022, it will be more important than ever to make sure that your unique brand personas shine through so that you can genuinely connect with your audience.
Would you have dinner with your brand?
Think about your brand as a real person. Is your brand the kind of person that you would invite over for dinner? If your answer is no, it might be time to go back to the drawing board to redefine your brand personality. And if your answer is yes, think about if your customers would also be friends with your brand. Find out what your customers value in their friendships and how you would communicate with them.
At Elevate My Brand, we have noticed that some companies really miss the mark when it comes to maintaining their brand personality on their social channels, for example. Here are some tips that will help you maintain a strong brand personality online.
#1 Find Your Friends
No, we’re not talking about the iPhone app. In order to build an effective brand personality, you must put your audience first. This means you will need to get to know your target segments on a personal level. Find out their opinions, their attitudes and their interests. Your main goal while developing your brand personality should be to align with your customer’s preferences. We encourage our clients to personify their primary, secondary and tertiary audiences. These hypotheses, especially in the early days of building a brand persona, should be tested and iterated on throughout the lifespan of the brand. It is the most efficient way to ensure that whatever messaging is created for a campaign will resonate. If your business is new (or you want to change or redefine your segments), your goal should be to really get to know your audience. The best way to do that? Ask! Whether this is a digital survey or social poll, try to ask nuance questions that will help you datafy even the most creative conversation.
For example, if you are trying to determine if one of your brand’s top qualities should be sophistication, pose questions to see if your customers actually value that quality in your brand. One way to phrase this question would be: What qualities are most important to you for our brand, and then offer a multiple choice response. That will allow you to move forward with confidence knowing you are communicating appropriately based on real-time consumer feedback. That’s extremely powerful and is what builds brand loyalty.
#2 Craft a Moral Code
Once you learn about your audience, you should align their values with your marketing campaigns. In 2022, consumers will be more inclined to purchase from brands that speak to their beliefs. In fact, 61% of consumers want retailers to take a stance on social justice issues. After you find out what social justice issues your customers care the most about, match those with the social impact that is authentic to your brand. But be careful, consumers are smarter than ever and can sniff out BS performative campaigns like a bloodhound. Don’t be that brand. We believe corporate social responsibility should be table stakes for a brand these days but it must be 100% real.
Whether your brand reposts content online that aligns with your brand personality or creates original content and campaigns, it’s important that you act on these beliefs. In other words, you can’t just talk the talk. Whether you show your brand values by educating your employees or donating to a cause, it’s important to back your words with actions. Be transformative not performative.
#3 Be Social
After you figure out what and how your brand communicates your values, determine where your brand is sharing. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. That’s a recipe for a marketing disaster. You should only use the social platforms where your target audience is and double down there. For example, if you have a supply chain company, there is real reason to sign up for TikTok unless that’s really where your audience is and you think your brand can create good consistent content there. But, as long as you’re using the platforms that your audience uses and that also aligns with your brand’s personality, your social channels should thrive.
Another consideration are the native tools that your chosen social media platforms offer. For instance, if you have a younger target market and you want to increase engagement on Instagram Stories, think about the different ways that you can use the stickers available to help portray your brand’s unique personality. If you’re using the poll sticker, would your brand ask silly questions or would your brand ask more serious questions? Are you using emojis? R u using abbreviations? Take time to think about the ways each of your brand’s online interactions characterize your brand’s personality and create a guide that would appeal to your audience in the new year.
There is truly no wrong brand personality as long as it does no harm and attracts the customers that you are looking for. After all, 95% of consumer purchasing decisions are based on feelings instead of logic, which is all the more reason for you to do your best to make sure that your brand personality feels “right” to the right people.
Taking the time to do the research and planning that will help build your brand personality might seem daunting with the impending new year. If you need support, Elevate My Brand is currently offering Digital Mindmap sessions that can help frame your brand personality for 2022. Contact us here to set up a meeting today!
“Your main goal while developing your brand personality should be to align with your customer’s preferences.”
About the author: With a J.D./M.B.A. from Rutgers University, Laurel Mintz has created an agency serving both startups and blue chip global brands like Facebook, Verizon Digital Media Group, PAW Patrol and Zendesk. Laurel sits on the Board of Directors for NFTE (Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship), the Women Founders Network, and the UCLA Restaurant Conference. She is a mentor for The Women’s Global Leaders Initiative and advises LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association). Her published work can be found in Entrepreneur, USA Today, The American Marketing Association and C-Suite Quarterly Magazine. Laurel and the agency have recently won the W3 Silver Award for the PAW Patrol Road Patrol Campaign, the 2017 Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award, the LABJ Women in Business Award, Comerica and LA Lakers’ Women’s Business Award, amongst others.
Featured image: Color Joy Stock