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Does the Personality of a Brand Need to Be Reflective in All Marketing Activities?

POINT: Paul Williams

A brand, doing its job well, shows personality in all it does, not just marketing.

The way they greet customers. The wording on their packaging. The way they answer the phone. All should show that personality.

Problems arise when brands do things that are not congruent with their perceived personality.

For example, when you say one thing (“We put service first!”), but act different (10-minute phone delays in customer service phone number), you’re not delivering on the promise you’ve made to your customers.

A better label for a brand’s personality is probably “brand promise.”

Not only are our customers expecting us to be consistent, they want us to promise to support that personality.

COUNTERPOINT: John Moore

YES. A brand’s unique personality should be reflective in all its marketing.

Earlier we addressed the ins/outs of creating a Brand Style Guide. My advice in that series of posts included creating a style guide with three sections: Identity, Personality, and Authenticity.

In my explanation, Identity deals with logo consistency and Authenticity is about not making compromises to the brand as the business grows. For the Personality section, I wrote this:

“Every brand has both a look and a feel. The look is its visual identity. The feel is its emotional identity. Every brand has both.

To help make sure you are consistent in showcasing your brand’s emotional identity, I recommend creating a list of personality traits you want the brand to always convey.

In your Brand Style Guide, list out and detail five personality traits you want your brand to always convey.

For example, some personality traits we attached to the Starbucks brand back in the day included: Delightful, Quick-Witted, Encouraging, and Welcoming.

By outlining these personality traits, it served as guardrails to help us design and deliver marketing activities that were true to the emotional identity of the Starbucks brand.

As a marketer, I clearly believe a brand’s personality should be showcased in all marketing activities because it helps to forge more of an emotional connection with customers.

When a unique brand fails to showcase its unique personality, we can see it and feel it.

For example, here are two examples where Starbucks failed to showcase its unique personality in an in-store poster and from a billboard.

IN-STORE POSTER

This promo poster for mini donuts has no soul … no emotion … no style … no creativity … NO PERSONALITY.

BILLBOARD

CrackerJack Marketers know there is not a faster, better, or cheaper route to commoditizing a brand than using unemotional language like: Faster … Better … Cheaper.

When a brand loses its emotional connection with customers, it also loses it ability to differentiate itself from competitors.

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