Your brand personality is the living, breathing manifestation of your company in the mind of your customer. Not to be confused with a mascot or spokesperson, your brand personality is an archetype that’s been carefully mapped out as part of your brand strategy. It provides direction for, and informs, your brand’s style, look and feel, messaging, tone of voice and more–all the critical elements that set your brand apart from your competitors’ brand personalities–making it stand out so you’re enabled to make your business a lot more profitable.
To be sure, a mascot or spokesperson can also be used as a tool help bring your brand’s characteristics to life, but they are simply part of the brand strategy process. Your brand personality lives in all elements of your branding, from the packaging design of your product to the look and feel of your premises. It helps define not only the right spokesperson and the personas of the leaders behind your brand but the style of your marketing, the brand stories you tell, the language you use to speak to your ideal audience and more.
Your brand personality differentiates you from your competition and helps you stand out in the marketplace, compelling people to buy. At no time is it more important to have a clear and well-defined brand personality than at Christmas, when hearts are yearning for sentimental stories and wallets are primed for spending.
It’s not just about warm fuzzy feelings though; brand personality has a direct impact on brand equity, which drives product sales. It’s also one of the foremost factors in building brand loyalty, which increases sales volume by retaining customers and enabling you to charge a premium price for your goods and services3. Finally, your brand personality helps win brand ambassadors, who work even more effectively than paid sales reps to attract new fans to your company or organisation.
To help you infuse a bit of the Christmas spirit into your brand personality and maximize your quarter four earnings, take a cue from these five companies who’ve created remarkably heartfelt brand personalities that their ideal audiences can’t resist.
Five Heartfelt Brand Personalities Winning Buyers at Christmas
1. Whistle: Benevolent Brand Personality
Whistle is a GPS device for dogs that has developed a brand personality of benevolence.
In 2016, the company used this defining characteristic as the guiding force behind its ‘Never Lost Again’ Christmas campaign. For every Whistle unit sold during the campaign, the company donated another unit to an adoptable shelter pet to help increase adoptions4.
First and foremost, the company needed to create a campaign that would link the key personality trait of benevolence back to the brand. Instead of something generic like a monetary donation, which is nice but not necessarily mapped from the brand personality, Whistle used the donation of their physical product as the key campaign focus. This is in alignment with both their business model (selling pet GPS devices) and one of their brand missions (promoting shelter pet adoptions).
Next, Whistle needed to create a marketing video that reflects a spirit of benevolence to promote the campaign. By using the perspective of a puppy up for adoption in a scary, unfamiliar shelter, they’re able to show what a difference being adopted with the gift of a Whistle device makes in the life of a shelter pet.
You’ll notice that the video feels positive and big-hearted, a sharp contrast to some of the more bleak, tug-at-your-heartstrings pet adoption commercials that are sometimes seen on the airwaves this time of year. It comes down to a difference in brand personality. The goal of the campaigns is the same–increase pet adoptions–but Whistle uses elements like a conversational narrator and endearing background music to convey its brand personality of benevolence, which sets it apart from others with a similar mission.
Your brand personality must be systematically mapped through the process of brand profiling, which is a means for defining your brand promise, what sets you apart, how you stand out in the marketplace and why that matters to your customers. To learn more about our customised brand profiling and positioning services that will convey your brand value and create standout memorable distinction, contact us now.
2. Osh Kosh B’Gosh: Celebratory Brand Personality
Children’s apparel retailer Osh Kosh B’Gosh has a brand personality centred around the joy of having a child. According to the brand promise of its parent company, Carter’s, “you can count on [us] to take care of the little details so that you are free to focus on what really matters: celebrating your little one–and the hugs, cuddles, giggles, and babbles that light up our lives.”
In 2016, Osh Kosh B’Gosh made international headlines5 for featuring a child with Down syndrome in its Christmas advertising campaign–a departure from the models typically featured in children’s apparel ads. For those familiar with the Osh Kosh B’Gosh brand personality, though, the decision should come as no surprise. The brand has a clearly defined personality of celebrating all children that’s infused into every branding decision, which includes the actors and models who are cast in advertising campaigns. It makes perfect sense, then, that they’d be inclusive of a child with special needs.
When you have a well-mapped brand personality, it brings all of your marketing choices into alignment. If a decision doesn’t align with the personality you’ve defined, it’s easy to identify and correct course fast.
3. WestJet: Impactful Brand Personality
Lots of companies have well-meaning ideas about making a difference, but Canadian airline WestJet lives out that goal by making impactful giving part of its brand personality.
At Christmas in 2015, the company set in motion its ‘Mini Miracles’ campaign, appealing to its millions of followers to pool together and accomplish 12,000 mini-miracles in a 24-hour period.
The company uses the concept of impactfulness to guide every part of the Mini Miracles campaign, from the impact-focused language in the video (“Celebrate the good in others. Spread cheer. Deliver joy.”) to the video clips of people’s faces as they learn they’ll be receiving their own personal miracle, to the joyful photos of completed miracles on social media. The audience can see the impact taking place.
WestJet’s 2017 Christmas campaign follows a similar thread, taking viewers along for the ride as it hands out free flights in airports around Canada6. The brand personality guides the choice to have Santa Claus as the leading character, delivering free flight vouchers to unsuspecting fliers and capturing their reactions.
WestJet demonstrates how your brand personality carries through from campaign to campaign, year to year. The mascot and the execution might change–one year WestJet used an army of followers to carry out its mission, another year it used Santa Claus–but the underlying personality archetype remains consistent and helps define the brand in the minds of consumers.
4. TD Bank: Visionary Brand Personality
TD Bank lays out a clearly defined brand vision: “to be the better bank.” Achieving such a lofty goal takes a visionary brand personality. TD Bank is a great example of how a brand can use its own personality to connect with like-minded customers that share similar values–a key brand strategy for building loyal fans.
During its ‘Make Today Matter’ campaign, the bank gave customers the chance to turn their wildest ideas into reality7. The bank selected 24 customers with big ideas that would benefit their communities and gave the lucky individuals $30,000 to make those ideas happen. The catch? Each person had to carry out his or her plan within just 24 hours.
It’s easy to see how the company used its visionary brand personality to provide direction for all aspects of the campaign. First, it selected a wide array of diverse and thoughtful ideas to support, from a gala to benefit foster kids to a construction project on a neighbour’s home. Second, vision informed the campaign’s tightwire timeline; in order to execute a big goal in just 24 hours, you have to do some pretty visionary thinking. Finally, the bank focused closely on the vision of the ‘Make Today Matter’ recipients. Rather than using a narrator or spokesperson to explain what’s happening, we hear from the visionaries themselves via a series of heartfelt interview clips.
As we touched on before, personality isn’t about mascots or characters, rather it’s about consistent branding choices; in this case, TD Bank chooses to use not a spokesperson but real-life visionary customers as a mirror to reflect its own brand personality.
5. John Lewis: Sentimental Brand Personality
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a John Lewis advert. The retailer is known the world over for its sentimental, emotionally driven Christmas commercials, and its latest addition is no exception. In its 2017 advert, we follow a child as he discovers and gets to know an unlikely playmate.
First, consider the choice of the ‘monster’ to feature in the ad. Cuddly and a bit goofy, Moz the Monster is a far cry from the scary, shadowy figure most of us envision lurking under the bed as children. Yet because Moz is an unconventional and not-so-scary monster, we’re able to become sentimentally attached to him. It’s a choice driven by the brand personality.
Next, consider the tone of the video. From the cosy nighttime setting to a reimagined Beatles song as the musical soundtrack, the advert uses sentimental elements to set the tone and pull at our heartstrings. By the end, we’ve fallen in love with furry Moz and seeing him go feels bittersweet.
Christmas is an ideal time to play up the heartwarming elements of your brand personality, but it’s also an important opportunity to consider how brand personality guides your brand strategy choices all year long. B2B or B2C, small business or enterprise, product or service, brand personality is a relevant and essential component of the strategy for all successful brands. Remember, the buyer’s journey is an emotional experience rather than a logical one. Customers connect with brands in the same way they do with people, using personality traits to determine their feelings of brand loyalty, trust and likelihood to become repeat purchasers.
Do you have a clearly mapped personality? How is it defined? In what ways do you convey it to your audience?
Questions To Consider:
- What are the key personality traits you want customers to identify with your brand?
- What are the key personality traits of your competitors? How are you different?
- How does brand personality play a role in the decisions you make regarding branding, messaging and storytelling?
- Could you reevaluate your brand personality to make it stronger so it more effectively attracts your ideal customers and converts them into loyal fans to drive increased sales?
If you’re ready to define, map out, build and develop your brand personality as part of your brand strategy, take a look at our signature Personality Profile Performer™ Programme. It’s a step-by-step system that empowers you to infuse your brand with meaning in a way that builds lasting connections with your customers and ultimately drives increased profits.