When you think about your favorite brand (clothing, ice cream, cell phone, etc.) what are some of the qualities you think of? What words would you use to describe that brand? This idea of the human-like characteristics of a brand is what is referred to as ‘brand personality’ and it is one of the most important frameworks for brand success.
There are five broad categories for brand personality according to Jennifer Aaker: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Each of these categories has adjectives associated with it that represent the overall identity of the brand. So, what is so important about choosing or crafting a brand personality? Consumers often make decisions based on emotion. Consumers want a brand they can relate to. Consumers want a brand that is what it claims to be. Consumers want a brand they can be loyal to for years to come. The brand personality helps a brand meet these consumer wants and differentiate itself from competitors.
Let’s take Harts Turbo for example (pictured above). Harts Turbo is a turbocharger manufacturer primarily competing in the drag racing niche of the motorsports industry. The brand has chosen to embody a competence personality, meaning it strives to be reliable, intelligent, and successful. This strategy aligns the brand with exactly what its target market expects from a motorsports manufacturer. The industry as whole expects reliability and success. Racers want to win and will go to great lengths to do so. A brand that builds its marketing strategy around a competence personality framework will be able to connect with consumers and build lasting relationships. Harts has positioned itself as a competent brand that provides successful, reliable products to its customers and offers the technical support needed to help those customers succeed. Customers can connect with Harts and feel confident in their purchase because of this. This leads to a strong emotional connection and brand loyalty for the future.
Other brands, such as racers or race teams may choose to build their brand around a different personality framework, but the concept is the same. Individuals or companies need to decide how they want their brand to be perceived by consumers and build their marketing strategy around the desired identity. A strong and well-executed brand personality is the starting point for consumer perception, brand loyalty, and decision making.