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What Is Brand Personality and Why It Is Important

Brand personality is not just another buzzword. The concept of Five Dimensions of Brand Personality was first outlined in 1997, so it has survived more than two decades already, and it is nowadays just as relevant as back then.

Five Dimensions of Brand Personality is one of the models, that can be of great help when defining a brand as it can be useful with organizing how your brand acts and communicates. It is, therefore, also a common tool used in marketing.

The model defines five main dimensions of brand personality, similarly to how one of the most established psychological theory, the Big Five Theory, describes five main personality traits for people.

Brand personality is a set of human characteristics and traits associated with a brand.

The five dimensions are sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness.

It is essential to keep in mind that when describing a person, they are always a mixture of all five dimensions. Psychology, in general, prefers dimensional approach, which determines where on the spectrum of each dimension an individual lies, as opposed to only putting a person in- or outside one of the categories. Therefore, every brand lies somewhere on the spectrum of each one of these dimensions and can be a combination of more than one trait.

However, to make things easier, we will now take a look at every trait and focus on the typical representative brands of each of the traits.

SINCERITY

Brands with a strong dimension of sincerity are honest, genuine, cheerful, wholesome, down-to-earth, caregiving, honourable, friendly and generous. Many sincere brands are associated with food, hospitality and safety.

Some examples: Campbell’s Soup, Hallmark, Oprah, Pampers, Dove, Disney, Amazon.

EXCITEMENT

Brands ranking high on this personality dimension are energetic, daring, spirited, imaginative, cool, unique and contemporary. Exciting brands often appeal to a younger demographic.

Some examples: Monster Energy, Nike, MTV, TikTok, Tesla, Red Bull, Nike, Coca-Cola.

COMPETENCE

Brands with a distinct trait of competence are reliable, responsible, trustworthy, intelligent, successful and confident. They often include banks, insurance companies, logistics firms and medical brands.

Some examples: UPS, Volvo, Microsoft, Google.

SOPHISTICATION

Such brands are luxurious, glamorous, upper class and charming. They are generally at the northern end of the price range.

Some examples: American Express, Apple, Mercedes, Michael Kors, Chanel, Rolex, Tiffany & Co.

RUGGEDNESS

Rugged brands are built to last, tough, outdoorsy, hard-working, authentic, athletic, strong, muscular and of high-quality. A lot of rugged brands are in the fields of construction, outdoors, sporting and automotive.

Some examples: Land Rover, Jack Daniels, Levis, Harley Davidson, Timberland, Jeep.

When developing your brand identity, it can be useful to look at your competition. If there is already a sophisticated brand in your field, there may be more room for a new exciting player in the market.

Why is it important to define your brand personality?

Just like you choose your friends based on their personality, and you usually like the ones with attributes you value and respect better, you choose brands that reflect your characteristics. A personality that is reflecting traits you find important is the one you connect with. It allows costumers to find a relation between the brand and their own personality, behaviour and lifestyle. Brand personality encourages customers to respond with feelings and emotions towards the brand. Costumers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own.

This is why it is vital to create a unique brand personality that will stand out and attract the attention of your target group.

The brand personality also defines the way brand communicates. With a defined personality, you will display the essence of your brand more easily. With understanding your brand’s personality, you make it easier to understand your brand and uniquely tell its story. It can also help you make the interactions with your target group more personal and therefore, stronger and long-lasting.

No worries, defining your brand personality dimensions is not so difficult. Download our brand personality dimensions worksheet.

 

Brand personality dimensions worksheet


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References, sources and further reading:
Yavuz Selim Yasar – Brand Personality: From psychological thinking, towards marketing approaches
Jennifer L. Aaker – Dimensions of brand personality
Visuable: Brand Personality: What is it? Do I need it?
Digital Natives: Explaining the five dimensions of brand personality
Investopedia

Founder and lead strategist at studio Atlas Authentica. Her mission is to help businesses form agile and strategy-driven brands as well as mentoring young creative enterpreneurs.

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