Before discussing a brand persona, let us explore what a brand or branding is all about.

A brand is a public promise by a business to deliver a high quality product,service or experience. It is a long-term business commitment to build trust and relationship with customers. 

A brand is considered one of the most valuable assets of a business today. Please, take a look at Interbrand’s global brand valuation to know how important a brand can be once you have built it. 

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A brand essentially serves as a mark of differentiation for a product/service in the market. Like in the old days, they would violently brand their cattle with a hot mettle to make a mark on them. What a horrible thing to do! They did so in order to differentiate & recognize their cattle in the market easily.

The purpose of creating identity for a product is to differentiate it from the rest of the products or services in the market. 

However, just creating an identity is not enough, a brand must also achieve the financial goals of a business, and that is only possible if the consumers respond to the brand positively. In other words, a brand should be identifiable but consumers should also prefer it in a buying situation. 

While creating identity or differentiation, a business also tries to create an interesting personality around the brand. At least, this is how all the great brands are doing it. 

OK, now hopefully you are ready to explore the concept of Brand Persona.

What is a Brand persona?

What is Brand Persona

In order to build a brand, you need to create a brand persona around it. This is how  successful branding  works. Now you must be thinking why would a lifeless thing have a personality. After all, a brand is a just a product ,Right?

Yes, it is true that a brand is mostly a lifeless object. However, people tend to project their personalities through material possessions. In some cases, they might not even know that they are doing it so. In reality, a consumer using a particular brand because it suits their personality.

Defining Brand Persona

When a company or a business treats a brand as extension of a consumer’s personality and attributes personality characteristics to it, it is called Brand Persona. For example, Nike’s brand persona is young and upbeat. 

Look around, you would see how people are making a statement about themselves by owning things. In other words, we can say that a person using a brand extends the persona to a brand. It means, marketing people are not to blame here, right?

Marketing people do encourage people to believe that a certain brand has this and that personality. It is true that the consumer with a certain personality is already there. But I think marketing folks can inflate or exaggerate the whole situation with an aggressive advertising campaign. The matter is not a simple one.

I mean, let’s be honest, the aggressive promotion and enticing messages would make you want things more when you don’t need them. OK, let’s leave return to the core idea of this topic.

 The gist of the discussion is that the brand marketing guys persuade people that the brand is suitable for a particular personality. The innocent guys in the brand department and in the agency don’t create a personality 🙂 probably they create or communicate a certain set of benefits.

For instance, Bred Pitt endorsing a Swiss luxury watch is to project a cool persona. Now, if you are someone who wants to be cool and smooth (read rich), then the ad must appeal to you.

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How to build a Brand Persona- Know the Customer

The best approach is to first determine the target customer personality as that is going to be reflected in the brand persona. Provided that you can deliver on the promise made through a certain brand persona.

Remember, brand marketing should always solve a problem and contribute to the society positively, at least in theory.

Getting back to the basics preached by Mr. Aaker, a brand persona could be one of the following:

  • excited or enthusiastic,
  • sincere
  • rugged 
  • competent,
  • funky and
  • funny
  • sophisticated

Please, note the additional aspects are not in the model but you can do it your way for your brand.(see below).

To understand the concept better you can ponder over the following model by Aaker. I think it’s a good start into the conceptual aspects of a Brand Persona 🙂 I am not getting too professorial here but the model can help you think about the concept better.  

Aaker’s Model of Brand Personality

Aaker's Brand Personality Model

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The five personality aspects listed by Aaker’s Model provide the basis for an informed discussion on brand persona. The model is pretty popular among marketing people. Therefore, when I say ‘an informed discussion’, it means between, the MBA guys 🙂 (mostly fake people) 

As a small business, you might use Aaker’s Model to start conceptualizing a brand persona and start with the branding process now. Don’t delay. You can connect with me anytime, let’s talk about how a brand persona can best be built for your business. 

Examples of Brand Personality

  • Competence   (Apple)
  • CocaCola        (sincerity, cheerful)
  • Subaru           (rugged, tough)

How about your favorite brands and see if they reflect any particular personality traits. See if you are person having some of those personality traits. 

How do you Build a Brand Persona?

A brand persona is driven by two important factors: A Brand positioning statement, and  a brand communication program.

The first thing that a great entrepreneur needs to get over with is that he/she must create a brand positioning statement. The brand positioning statement will guide the entire brand communication program necessary for building a great brand persona.

Design, copy, and communication are the most important elements of communication that would help you build a brand persona.

Communication is the most expensive but critical element  for a brand’s persona. It is essential during the first stage of brand building i.e raising awareness.

Going back to the basics of marketing, the true wisdom of marketing never disappoints. You need to solve problems for the target customers. Period.

It’s the only way you would be able to deliver positive experience and create positive associations in the mind of a customer.

There is no shortcut, it is a long grind but it should pay off good dividend in the end.

Why building a brand persona is difficult for a small business?

Due to the commitment expressed by a business publicly, branding generally requires more resources to succeed. Most entrepreneurs running a small business are not willing to do the grind. Sometimes, they simply just can’t understand the importance of  brand building.

A brand must create perception and expectations but it should always deliver on them as well. If the brand persona is young, then it should consistently portray that in the communication. A good example is, Nike. It tries to stay young and upbeat. 

People trust famous brands because they consistently deliver on their promise. As a small business, you need to find a solution to the problem of inconsistency.

It is because customers report higher satisfaction when a brand is consistent. They are also more likely to become loyal users of the brand when they are happy. The secret is that it should match the consumer personality. Otherwise, you have got no chance to resonate with them.

Man, in the end it just boiled down to the same old and test marketing rules i.e get to know your customer.  

Branding doesn’t develop overnight. People don’t trust a new brand easily. It’s here that a marketing team needs to deliver by overcoming the challenge. It is here that a small business loses its patience and quit. 

As branding is a long-term strategy and it involves creating the essential brand knowledge. It means the first task of a marketing team is to create positive experience, and associations around the target brand. In the process you are building the target brand persona by resonating with the brand customers. A great deal of communication is undertaken by the entrepreneur or the branding team.

You can also check out my other articles. I am going to build a resource center on marketing on this website, you can come along with me on this journey.  

This version to be continued, edited  & revised….Stay tuned when I return again to this page.