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The effectiveness of a successful brand persona

We often forget that a brand is not physical. We personify it in our minds by giving it a voice, values and an all-round personality.

So how is this relevant to marketing? Well, we can’t control how your audience thinks, but fortunately we can influence the way your brand is perceived.

What is a brand persona

A brand persona is regarded as the values and personality traits that a brand exudes and showcases, which allow it to connect with an audience. According to Usability, the purpose of a brand persona is to represent your audience and mirror their values. By doing so, your audience relates to your brand on various levels and finds your products and services more reliable and trustworthy.

What are the different brand personas?

According to Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business a brand persona can be categorised as one of five main types: excited, sincere, competent, rugged and sophisticated. However, just like with people, personality is on a spectrum, rather than clearly defined as one particular thing.  

Many brands display a down-to-earth persona that appeals to a light-hearted audience who seek a cheerful message which is both sincere and warm. This brand persona is often found in family-focused businesses such as Disney or Cadbury and is regarded as a sincere persona. 

If your audience is trendy, contemporary and is always seeking products or services that are new, innovative and unique, your brand persona needs to be exciting, energetic and youthful. It should be able to match the climate of current socio trends and values and mirror the audience’s zest for life.

A popular brand persona is one of competence. This is often found in the services industry where an audience seeks reliability and security, whether this is with their finance, car purchases or any high value assets. Often, these are businesses that offer technical or niche services and products where customers rely on the expertise of the business. This brand persona typically relays a message of confidence and expertise.

Sophisticated brands such as those who provide a product or service to the higher LSM groups are likely to have personas that are elegant, stylish and prestigious. They are often high-end brand names such as Gucci and Rolex with messages that are aimed at a higher income household and would hardly be found advertising on traditional marketing platforms. These brands allow their quality of product and brand name to be shared simply by word of mouth and reputation.

The rugged persona is the polar opposite. This doesn’t mean that the offerings are subpar, but rather that these brands target an audience that does not resonate with a sophisticated persona. The rugged persona aligns with the audience that doesn’t mind getting active, energetic and messy. These are often the sporting brands that appeal to younger generations that spend a copious amount of time outdoors engaging in adventurous activities.

These five brand personas are simply the foundation of building your brand persona, and it may easily have the personality traits of more than one persona, to create the best possible brand personality to resonate with your audience. For example, the ever-popular Nike brand that endorses top athletes across various sports has successfully married two main traits. Nike has an exciting and innovative as well as rugged personality as they appeal to an energetic and active audience who appreciate high-quality goods.

Now consider Rolex, a leader in the finest watchmaking. Their audience knows that every watch is made with precision and quality material. This quality can only be assured by the knowledge and expertise of the watchmakers, which is how they have articulated their message and persona over the years. This allows their customers to perceive the brand as top of the range. Rolex has created a symphony of sophistication and a competent personality.

But how do I create a brand persona, you ask?

There are four basic steps to creating your brand’s personality:

  1. Be clear on who your target audience or the segments of it is that you want to resonate with.
  2. Identify how your product or service will close a gap in the audience’s needs – what pain point will you solve?
  3. Jot down the top characteristics of the target audience and ensure that your brand’s character and values align with these.
  4. Ensure your business values are relayed through your marketing strategy and messaging.
  5. A quick fire way to create the perfect persona for your brand is to envision the person that would be most interested in your product or service and then tailor your messaging to them. Align the brand’s values to theirs and ensure that your audience sees a reflection of themselves within your brand’s core values, attributes and attitude. 

Finding the right persona for your brand can be challenging. It takes an in-depth look at both the brand and the audience, and this isn’t always easy when you’re so close to it. But it’s absolutely worth the time and effort! If you’d like a strategic partner for this process, our Yellow Door team can help build your brand persona and create key messaging once it’s been defined.

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