We want to be liked.
Jennifer Lawrence recently admitted that her need ‘to be liked’ got in the way of negotiating parity pay with the male co-stars of The Hustle.
Networking gurus tell us the key to winning more clients lies in customers getting to ‘know, like and trust you’.
In the world of branding, we talk about ‘brands of acceptance, rejection and indifference’. Here ‘acceptance’ is akin to ‘liking’.
Sales consultants tell us about the sales funnel or sales ladder with the aim of converting people who have never heard of your business into ‘raving fans’ or brand ‘advocates’. This means your business has people who love it, which is an even tougher target than getting people to like your brand.
So how do you go about getting your brand liked?
The secret lies in managing your brand personality.
- First of all, you must define what it is.
- Then you must behave at all times and in all places, in a way that is consistent with your brand personality.
Once you have mastered this, you will effortlessly do what every social media guru advises and ‘allow your personality to come through in your posts’.
Then you will be on the way to owning a brand personality that is liked by your target groups.
In this two-part blog, I will focus on two things that will help you manage your brand personality:
- Part 1: Define your brand personality.
- Part 2: Bring it to life.
Before starting it is important to state that the pre-requisite for this exercise is to be very clear about your target personas (or groups) and your brand purpose, values, essence and promise. If you want to know more about each of these, have a look at the brand building blog series (link).
Part 1: Define your brand personality with our brand personality questionnaire
Why brand personality matters
We use branding as a shorthand. It helps to communicate what you do, the benefits you provide and your brand promise. Your brand purpose and values tell your customers about the people behind the business and the story behind the brand.
The brand personality helps make your brand appear human.
This is a good thing, given that people prefer to buy from people they like.
Where it gets tricky is that liking is based on feelings, which are emotional, not rational. This is why you really must focus only on your target personas!
You can’t be liked by all the people all the time
Here’s one example of why you must focus on your target groups:
The most valuable brand in the world is apple. It is adored by its customers. Many will buy the latest version of the apple item they love, time after time. Some will queue for days to be the first to buy one. There is a huge apple tribe throughout the world.
The hot news for you is this.
Not everyone loves apple.
Some people dislike apple, intensely.
They will always buy android, avoid apple stores and come up with reasons why apple items have fewer functions.
This is not rational.
It is emotional. And personal.
This means that if Apple can live with knowing that some people (who are not their target personas) don’t like their brand, then so can you.
The purpose of your brand personality
The purpose of defining your brand personality is to develop, deepen and expand your relationship with your core target customer groups.
This means you describe your brand in human terms, by imagining it is a person. Ask yourself questions like these:
- Male or female?
- British or Italian?
- Mature and sophisticated or young at heart?
- Serious or witty?
- Scientific or intuitive?
- Gentle or confident?
- Fashionable or classic?
Another approach is to use analogies to describe your brand. Imagine your brand is a:
- Famous person.
Simply choose the analogy that is most inspiring to you. The reason you use the analogy is to stimulate the words and images that help bring your brand personality to life.
So that you can own it, live it and relate to it.
Dimensions of brand personality
Another way to consider your brand personality is to use the research findings of Professor Jennifer Aaker. She reviewed over 300 American brands and identified five key dimensions of brand personality:
With regard to defining your brand personality – there are no right or wrong answers.
The key is to be authentic and true to who you are with an eye on who you serve.
Part 2: Use our brand questionnaire to bring your brand personality to life
There are two key elements that build the human characteristics of your brand – how you look (visual identity) and how you talk (brand voice).
Each of them is equally important in strengthening the emotional relationship with your ideal clients over time.
Both of them demand careful thought.
Both of them require a strategic approach to ensure consistency with your unique brand personality. (This is why we always define your brand personality before developing your brand identity).
Your visual identity includes:
You are likely to need at least four colours in your brand colour palette. This could comprise two core colours and two secondary colours (or accent colours). The choice of colours is critical in accurately representing your brand personality.
Colour has the power to convey unconscious as well as conscious messages. So it is always valuable to sanity check your brand colours against known colour associations, symbolism and colour psychology.
Ask questions like:
- How are the colours used in your market sector?
- Are there conventional colour codes?
- How many other brands use these colours?
- Are these colours associated with seasons or moods?
- What do these colours signify to my target customers?
- Is your brand a disruptor?
You can read more about the cultural symbolism, individual associations and psychology of brand colours here. (link)
Once you have defined your signature brand colours, you will also require a strategy for using them consistently throughout your communications and customer touchpoints.
For example, you could use one of your logo colours on website headers and for copy over images in social media posts. This provides a continuous visual reminder of your brand personality and in time adds up to instant recognition.
The fonts you use are just as important for expressing your brand personality, like the colours.
There are two broad families of fonts:
- Serif – Times New Roman is a serif font
- Sans serif – Arial is a sans-serif font
In very broad terms Sans-serif fonts tend to support a modern and sleek style, whilst Serif fonts portray an established classic style.
I’m a fan of fonts. They add to what colour conveys. Fonts have the capacity to represent your brand personality as modern or classic, flamboyant or serious.
Fonts can be bold or delicate, formal or relaxed, handwritten or printed.
Some are big, strong and rounded whilst others are tall, narrow and elegant.
My view is that most people do not pay enough attention to their fonts.
If you are building your brand it is just not good enough to accept default fonts for documents, invoices, emails and flyers. It is far better to make a conscious choice of fonts that fit your brand personality.
Whilst there is an enormous choice of fonts available within software programmes and online, the key is to narrow the choice by focusing on the written style of your brand personality.
It will make life easier if you choose fonts that are web-friendly and widely available – so that customers see the fonts you have carefully selected and not a default font.
As with colours, you may need up to four fonts for:
- Brand name
- Website Headers
- Body copy online and for documents
The fonts do not all have to be the same. They do need to be compatible, look good together and express the brand personality.
This is why the selection of fonts matters. It matters for your logo and it matters just as much for the text on your website, the text on your images and the text in your invoices.
You will develop a stronger more likeable and more cohesive brand personality faster if you pay attention to choosing appropriate fonts and using these consistently.
According to research by 3M, the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. This means the imagery you use is a powerful tool in building your brand personality, recognition and brand liking.
With the growth of social media, there are lots of places you can use brand imagery and many types of images you could deploy:
The key is to determine a strategic framework that suits what you do – and ensure the images you use to express your brand personality.
Your framework could be narrow or it could be quite broad, depending on what you do. Ideas include:
- Your people
- Your products/services
- People using/ eating/wearing / enjoying your products/services
- How people feel after enjoying the benefits of your products/services
- Visual metaphors
- Visual analogies
For example, paint brands such as Dulux and Farrow & Ball focus imagery on the pleasure of the end result:
- The gorgeous painted room
- The feeling of pride in a job well done
- Family and friends loving the new look
The secret is to have a strategy for your imagery.
Try starting with a tight focus, learn what works and evolve.