Analyzing Brand Personality

As we’ve already discussed, brand personality is equally dependent on the message your brand communicates and on the way that message is received. The best way to understand how your brand message will be received is through research. Brand research uses varying sets of questions as basic tools. As you begin the process of analyzing your brand, you might consider some of the following methods:  The Car Metaphor This is a widely-accepted technique among branding experts. It goes like this: Imagine your brand is a car. What kind of car is it? Be exact – what year, make, model is it? Is it coupe, sedan, convertible? Is the car safe? Is it fun to drive? The more specific you can get, the more accurate and comprehensive your information will be.  The Human Metaphor This time, imagine your brand is a living, breathing person. Is the person male or female? Young or old? College-educated, or graduate of the school of hard knocks? What does this person do for fun? What kinds of clothing does this person wear? Does he or she have children? Again, be as specific and thorough as possible.  The Jungian Archetypes Here’s a fascinating and cerebral way to …

Understanding Brand Personality

In the marketing universe, “brand personality” is presented as a crucial element of a brand. Social media and marketing experts, myself included, advise small business owners to enhance their brand by presenting a compelling personality, or by maintaining a consistent personality. But what does this really mean? Let’s spend a little time digging into the concept of brand personality, beginning with the idea of human personality. What is Brand Personality? Essentially, human personality is the combination of a person’s inner values with their visible character. In other words, your personality isn’t just who you think you are – it’s also who other people think you are. And there’s only one way to form an opinion about human personality: we judge others by their actions. When people assign human qualities to a brand name, that’s brand personality. And, just like human personality, brand personality is determined not only by a company’s set of values, but also by a company’s actions, and the way those actions are viewed by consumers. All the memories, visual images, and feelings a person might have about a brand contribute to the formation of brand personality in each individual’s mind. Why is Brand Personality Important? We humans …

Brand Focus and Flexibility: The “Axe Effect”

By now everybody knows the Axe deodorant brand. Cool, self-assured and hip, the brand virtually guarantees that users will become instantly and irresistibly attractive to the most gorgeous women on earth. Even angels fall (literally) for the man who wears one of the many Axe scents. This might seem like a simple case of using sex to sell a product. But there’s a lot more here than meets the eye. The Axe brand has been developed through careful research and ongoing flexibility, and you can make use of their tactics to strengthen your own brand. The Axe team began by researching men to zero in on their perfect market. They isolated male personalities into six profiles, then dumped five of the types in favor of what they call the “insecure novice.” Aged 15 to 25 years, he’s a guy who needs a lot of help with women, and will happily buy a product which promises that help. The Axe brand message was also guided by research – which showed the ultimate male fantasy involves being desired by several sexy women. So Axe’s message became just that: use our product and groups of gorgeous girls will fall into your arms. But …

Elevating Brand Identity Through Social Responsibility

Everyone knows that actions speak louder than words. A 2010 survey by Landor Associates showed that 77 percent of consumers found the socially responsible behavior of a company important. And now, the launch of a new Panera Bread advertising campaign, “Live Consciously, Eat Deliciously,” has re-opened the conversation about pro-social marketing and its impact on branding. Social responsibility for business is far more than a marketing trend. Consumers, with a vast amount of information readily available, have begun examining products, services, supply chains, and even employee relations with an eye to environmental impact and social benefit. Your customers are basing the value of your brand on the good your company is doing for the world. Are your company’s actions in alignment with social good as well as good business? And how can you benefit the world while elevating your brand identity? • Integrity Instead of making social responsibility part of your marketing campaign, place it at your company’s core. Integrate pro-social behavior into the day-to-day operations. Create a culture of giving back within the company – support your cause personally, and create incentives to gain the support of employees. • Community Not every business can change the world. But every …

?!*&! Great Branding: Dollar Shave Club

In March 2012, Dollar Shave Club exploded onto the scene with a hilarious video on YouTube. Since then, the video has been watched over 7 million times. If you’re one of the few unlucky people on the planet who haven’t seen it yet, take a minute to enjoy (and learn a lot about good branding): Watch the branding video here. It wasn’t only this video that went viral: the video spearheaded a full-on assault on the men’s razor market and established Dollar Shave Club as the coolest brand around. A year later, Dollar Shave Club’s remarkable success has resulted in an infusion of Series A funding to the tune of nearly $10M and plans to expand the brand into Canada and Australia. So what the your takeaways from the meteoric rise of Dollar Shave Club? Legitimacy – By poking fun at higher-priced brands that offer “revolutionary advances in shaving” while creating serial product obsolescence, DSC taps into consumers’ skepticism and positions itself as a genuine, practical alternative. Their “just one of the guys” approach further cements the brand’s legitimacy with equal amounts of humor and convenience. Alignment – The strength of the Dollar Shave Club brand is reinforced consistently across …

Build Your Brand With Instagram

Instagram offers an extraordinary opportunity to creatively present your brand. In this striking visual medium you can increase visibility, polish up your image and build brand loyalty. Over 90 million people use Instagram. How many of them would you like to reach? Instagram gives users the ability to create intriguing filtered images from their own photographs. This is a visual story-telling medium; users are able to add captions to photos, but the impact is always in the picture. Here are a few reasons to tell the story of your brand using Instagram: Personality – There’s no better way to establish – or enhance – your brand’s personality than with a series of creative, personalized photos. A stream of imaginative visual messages will tell people exactly who you are and what you’re about. Sparingly used captions will help the viewer relate to the images he sees. Relevance – You already know how difficult it is to make lasting connections with consumers in the global marketplace. Instagram provides a dramatic way to show why users should care about you. Raise the engagement of customers and potential customers with photos of the people and places crucial to your business. Community – Expand and …

Taking on the Social Media Giants – and Winning

For the last few weeks, media commentators have been buzzing about Pheed, the social network and iPhone app that is taking on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the other giants of social media. Fortune magazine ranked Pheed as Number One in their list of “7 Social Networks to Watch in 2013,” and Forbes dubbed Pheed “Twitter with a business plan.” So what’s all the frenzy about? Pheed launched its website in October 2012 and its iPhone app a month later. In just six weeks, the app reached Apple’s Top Ten list of free social networking apps. This February, just a scant three months after launch, the app hit the Number One ranking in Apple’s Top Charts for social media, surpassing Facebook and Twitter. Pheed provides a single platform that consolidates the features of Tumblr, Instagram, SoundCloud, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Users can share text, video, audio clips, photos, voice notes and live broadcast all from the same app. There are no limits on the size or number of photos that may be posted, and the site supports videos up to four hours in length. The iPhone app has logged more than 1,500 reviews and continues to enjoy a 4.5 star rating. …

Branding That Lasts: 5-Hour Energy

Ten years ago, no one knew what an “energy shot” was. Fast forward to today and you’ll find the ubiquitous little one-shot plastic bottles everywhere. 5-Hour Energy essentially created this market; the company has dominated it from the beginning and continues to dominate today. How did 5-Hour Energy establish and maintain their market supremacy? And what lessons can a small business entrepreneur learn from their tactics? Here are a few tactics you can borrow from the 5-Hour Energy playbook: • Make your product the alternative – From its inception, 5-Hour Energy differentiated itself from the competition. Energy drinks came in 12-ounce, refrigerated cans. 5-Hour Energy was radically different – its small size (just under two ounces) made it portable and convenient. Needing no refrigeration, it was displayed separately from all of its competition. • Know your target audience – When 5-Hour Energy first came on the market, the popular energy drinks were Red Bull and Monster. These products were aimed at young people, especially young men. Executives at 5-Hour Energy’s parent company, Living Essentials, knew they wanted to market their creation to working adults. They did so by launching an ad campaign featuring a cast of exhausted office workers suffering …