Have you ever wondered how to form deep, lasting relationships with your audience? Just like we connect with like-minded people, your brand can connect with its audience, too. The key is your brand personality. When your brand’s personality aligns with your audience’s values and expectations, you can create deep, lasting connections—akin to friendships.
Let’s clarify what brand personality is, its benefits for your business and how you can create a unique personality for your brand. I’ll also give you a practical list of 150 brand personality examples to get you inspired.
What Is Brand Personality?
Brand personality is the unique blend of human characteristics associated with a brand.
Just like people have unique traits that affect how they’re perceived and how others interact with them, a well-crafted brand has a distinct personality that shines through in everything it does—from its visual identity (brand fonts, colours, etc.) to its voice and customer service.
This personality should be in line with the brand’s industry, audience, and positioning.
Brand personality is essential for building a brand culture that stands out and resonates emotionally. It also shapes how people perceive and interact with the brand—whether it’s informal or formal, fun or serious, modern or traditional.
The Psychology Behind Brand Personality
In the 1950s, sociologists coined the term ‘homophily’ (love of sameness). It describes how people are attracted to and form relationships with those sharing similar traits, interests, beliefs, values, and backgrounds.
Is it a surprise this concept applies not just to people but brands, too?
People are naturally attracted to brands that reflect their own personality. They tend to buy from brands that match their self-image and values. Not the least because the association with certain brands enables them to express their own identity.
For example, a study found that customers with extroverted personalities prefer brands with active personalities, while those with conscientious personalities favour responsible brands. Another study found brands with distinct personalities have more impact on consumer’s trust and loyalty.
Brands with a distinct personality are therefore likelier to stand out in a crowded market and create a special connection with their audience.
How Your Business Benefits From a Strong Brand Personality
A strong brand personality can bring many benefits to your business.
Here are some reasons why a well-defined brand personality will help your brand thrive:
A unique brand personality sets your company apart from its competitors and positions the brand as unmistakable.
A well-crafted brand personality can create a deep emotional connection with your customers, fostering a sense of loyalty and affinity towards your brand.
Consistency and Trust
When your brand expresses its personality consistently, the brand builds trust with customers and establishes credibility and reliability.
Compelling Brand Storytelling
A strong brand personality provides you with a platform for captivating storytelling. So you can engage your audience and create memorable experiences.
The 12 Brand Archetypes
Brand archetypes, inspired by psychologist Carl Jung’s theory, can be helpful for defining your brand personality.
You might find brand archetypes somewhat simplistic, and I understand that. I must admit, I don’t use them often.
Nevertheless, brand archetypes can be a good framework for understanding and defining your brand’s personality. Especially when you start combining two or more archetypes, it opens up some interesting possibilities.
I won’t delve into details here. There is a wealth of information available on this topic.
Here’s just a brief overview of the 12 brand archetypes:
|The Innocent||Represents purity, simplicity, and goodness.||Dove, Innocent Drinks, Volvo|
|The Everyman||Emphasises being down-to-earth, genuine, and relatable.||IKEA, Budweiser, Subaru|
|The Hero||Portrays strength, bravery, and the desire to overcome challenges.||Nike, Under Armour, GoPro|
|The Outlaw||Represents rebellion, nonconformity, and breaking the rules.||Harley-Davidson, Diesel, Virgin|
|The Explorer||Emphasises discovery, adventure, and the desire to explore new territories.||The North Face, National Geographic, Jeep|
|The Creator||Focuses on innovation, creativity, and expressing individuality.||Lego, 3M, Adobe|
|The Ruler||Represents power, authority, and leadership.||Rolex, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz|
|The Magician||Portrays transformation, enchantment, and creating extraordinary experiences.||Disney, Red Bull, Lush|
|The Lover||Emphasises intimacy and passion.||Victoria’s Secret, Henry Rose, Swarovski|
|The Caregiver||Focuses on nurturing, empathy, and providing support and care.||World Wildlife Fund, UNICEF, Pampers|
|The Jester||Portrays humour, fun, and bringing joy to people’s lives.||M&M’s, Old Spice, Fanta|
|The Sage||Represents wisdom, knowledge, and guiding others.||Google, Wikipedia, The New York Times|
Jenifer Aaker’s Five Dimensions of Brand Personality
In 1997, marketing professor and branding expert Jennifer Aaker revolutionised the understanding of brand personality by introducing the concept of the Five Dimensions.
These dimensions offer a framework for evaluating and defining the unique personality traits that make a brand distinct.
Sincere brands are honest, trustworthy, and committed to ethical practices.
For example, they may prioritise customer relationships, support their employees, and contribute to the community and the environment.
The Body Shop is an example. The brand stands strongly against animal testing, promotes fair trade with its ingredient sourcing, and actively supports social and environmental campaigns.
Excitement-driven brands are daring, lively, and innovative.
They strive to create a sense of thrill and adventure, appealing to customers who seek stimulation, inspiration and novelty.
GoPro embodies this brand personality trait with its strong association with extreme sports, outdoor activities, and adrenaline-filled experiences.
Competent brands are perceived as reliable, intelligent, and capable.
They prioritise quality, expertise, and efficiency to instil confidence and trust in their customers.
An example of a brand that exemplifies competence is Microsoft. With its robust software solutions and technological advancements, Microsoft has established itself as a leader in the tech industry.
Sophisticated brands are characterised by elegance, prestige, and charm.
They align with consumers who appreciate refinement, taste, and a touch of luxury.
A good example of a sophisticated brand is Rolex. Renowned for its exquisite and prestigious watches, Rolex stands for precision, craftsmanship, and exclusivity.
Brands that embody ruggedness are seen as tough, strong, and adventurous.
They target people who crave a wild, resilient, and outdoorsy lifestyle.
A good example of a rugged brand is Patagonia. With a focus on outdoor apparel and gear, Patagonia appeals to adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Here is a quick summary of Jennifer Aaker’s 5 dimensions of brand personality:
|Brand Personality Trait||Sub-Traits||Examples|
|Sincerity||Genuine, Honest, Wholesome||The Honest Company, Toms, Dove|
|Excitement||Daring, Spirited, Adventurous||Red Bull, GoPro, Tesla|
|Competence||Reliable, Intelligent, Trustworthy||IBM, Google, Michelin|
|Sophistication||Elegant, Luxurious, Prestigious||Chanel, Rolex, Ritz-Carlton|
|Ruggedness||Strong, Tough, Outdoorsy||Harley-Davidson, Jeep, The North Face|
Brand Personality Is Not One-Dimensional
Your brand shouldn’t settle for just one personality trait. That would make it quite bland. Instead, mix different traits to make your brand special and unique.
Let’s take Patagonia as an example again.
Patagonia embodies ruggedness, catering to adventurous people who crave wild experiences.
But they also show sincere traits by prioritising sustainability and ethical practices in their business operations.
On top of that, Patagonia showcases competence through their high-quality products and expertise. They continuously innovate to produce gear that is better performing and has a lower carbon footprint.
By blending these personality traits, Patagonia creates a distinct brand identity. Ultimately, it’s all about forging an emotional connection and standing out, but honest!
But just as people can reveal different parts of their personality in different contexts, so can your brand.
Depending on the context, brands can emphasis their personality traits more or less. For example, your brand might show a slightly more professional personality on LinkedIn than on Instagram.
Brand Personality Mapping
When you define your brand personality, it can be useful to create a personality map to visualise where your brand falls on a spectrum of traits. We call this a brand personality slider.
You have several options. Use Jennifer Aaker’s five dimensions, the brand archetypes, or create your own set of specific characteristics.
Then, map them on a slider. This is a simple and intuitive way to map each characteristic compared to another one.
See for yourself.
Craft Your Brand Personality Step-By-Step
Now, let’s put everything together and look at some steps you can take to define your unique brand personality.
1. Understand What Your Brand Is About
Start by gaining a thorough understanding of what your brand is about. Define your brand’s mission, vision, values and positioning. Then, build your brand personality on this foundation.
Think about questions such as:
- What’s your brand’s ultimate goal beyond profit? How can your brand change the world?
- How can your brand reach this goal?
- What values does your brand live by?
- How is your brand different from other brands? What makes it so unique?
2. Identify Your Target Audience
Conduct thorough research to understand the demographics (age, gender, location, …) and psychographics (personality, values, interests, …) of your target audience.
Understand their preferences, behaviours, and desires. This knowledge will help you create a brand personality that resonates with them.
- What’s their personality, what’s their lifestyle?
- What are their opinions?
- What do they value and how do your brand’s values align with theirs?
- How do they talk?
- What do they talk about?
- Who are their friends?
- What other brands do they buy from?
3. Understand Your Target Market and Competition
Conduct market research to gather information about your target market and competition.
Analyse overall trends, competitor strategies, and market dynamics. This information will inform your brand personality by helping you identify gaps and opportunities to differentiate.
- Who are your competitors?
- What do they stand for?
- Are there gaps in the market?
- How can your brand stand out? What’s its unique position in the market?
4. Choose Brand Attributes
Choose the specific personality traits and attributes that represent your brand personality based on the steps above.
Choose attributes that fit your brand foundation, are relevant to your target audience, and set your brand apart from others. Remember, it’s often the unique blend of personality traits that makes a brand seem original.
A brand personality slider can help you with this step. So can the 12 Archetypes of Brand Personality and the 5 Dimensions of Brand Personality by Jennifer Aaker. But don’t be afraid to break free and develop your own specific brand personality attributes.
- Which traits best represent your brand’s personality?
- Which characteristics resonate with your target audience?
- Do these traits align with your brand values?
- How can these traits differentiate your brand from the competition?
120 Brand Personality Attribute Examples
I know that this step can feel overwhelming. So, below are 120 brand personality attributes for your inspiration.
Apply Your Brand Personality
To effectively apply and evolve your brand personality, consider the following steps:
2. Tell Compelling Brand Stories
Use brand storytelling techniques to get your brand’s personality across. Compelling narratives engage your audience and evoke emotional connections.
3. Maintain Brand Consistency
Consistency is key to reinforcing your brand personality. Make sure all customer interactions, both online and offline, consistently reflect your brand’s personality traits.
Establish brand guidelines that outline how your brand personality should be expressed across different channels and touchpoints.
4. Monitor and Refine
Be sure to monitor and refine your brand personality. Gather feedback from customers and make necessary refinements to ensure your brand remains relevant and resonates with the right people.
Brand Personality Examples
To wrap up, I’d like to give you 5 examples of different brand personalities. Let’s take a look at how other organisations do it.
Oatly: Quirky, Authentic, Sustainable
Oatly, the Swedish oat milk brand has developed a brand personality that is quirky, authentic, and sustainable. With their playful and irreverent tone, they connect with their audience fun and engagingly.
At the heart of Oatly’s brand values are sustainability and ethical considerations, which they express in a rebellious and unconventional way.
The consistent application of its unique brand personality has contributed to Oatly’s strong connection with people, positioning it as a plant-based milk industry leader.
Even Oatly’s website is unconventional, see for yourself.
Allbirds: Innovative, Eco-conscious, Relatable
Allbirds has an innovative, environmentally conscious, likeable brand personality. With a focus on sustainability, Allbirds positions itself as a brand that puts the environment first without sacrificing style and comfort.
Do you notice that Allbirds has similar values to Oatly, but their personality is entirely different? See for yourself.
Tesla: Innovative, Cutting-edge, Sustainable
Tesla represents an innovative and cutting-edge brand personality.
Tesla’s brand messaging emphasises technological innovation, environmental consciousness, and a futuristic vision of transportation.
Again, Tesla shares some of the same values but approaches its brand personality very differently from Allbirds and Otaly.
Have a look at the Tesla website.
Lululemon: Inspirational, Motivational, Active
Lululemon has an inspiring and motivating brand personality. The brand encourages its customers to lead active, healthy lifestyles and inspires personal growth.
Lululemon’s brand messaging emphasises mindfulness, and pushing boundaries, resonating with people seeking high-performance activewear and a sense of community.
Airbnb: Welcoming, Adventurous, Connected
Airbnb has a welcoming and adventurous brand personality. The brand builds on the idea of belonging and offers unique travel experiences that connect people from different cultures.
Airbnb promotes the theme of exploration, cultural immersion, and building meaningful connections through travel in a welcoming way.
Have a look at the Airbnb website. Notice how user-friendly and welcoming it is with its colours, images and round shapes?
Your brand personality plays a major role in shaping consumer perceptions and fostering connections.
Through crafting and leveraging a unique personality for your brand, you can effectively communicate your values, engage customers authentically, and create a memorable brand experience.
As you see, it’s a powerful tool and can help your brand drive long-term success.
If you enjoyed reading this, you will also like my article on creating a distinctive brand voice based, which should be the expression of your unique brand personality.
If you need help with your branding, I’d love to talk!
Title image by Angela Roma on Pexels