Copywriting and Brand Personalities

Your brand is not your product or your service. It is how people feel, and what they think about your product or service.
It is the recommendations they make to their family and friends about purchasing your product or service. It is the set of human characteristics akin to your product or service. Characteristics like “fun”, “caring”, “sympathetic”, “intelligent”, “inconsiderate”, “hypocritical”, “indifferent” are what people say when they talk about a brand.

Ask yourself two questions:
1. What characteristics do I use to describe my brand?
2. Are people, including my customers and employees, using the same characteristics to describe my brand?
If the answer to question 2 is ‘no’ or ‘not really’ then your brand personality is out of alignment. If this alignment goes unchecked, the brand is in danger of collapsing. It’s important to remember that your brand is created in the minds of your consumers. When a sufficient number of consumers think of the same thing when they discuss your product or service, that becomes your brand. When these consumers attribute the same characteristics to your brand, that becomes your brand personality. Over time, your brand’s personality becomes your brand’s reputation.

Brand personalities are easier to change and establish than brand reputations. Once a reputation is formed, good or poor, it requires a vast amount of time and thinking resources to change it. The only other option to change reputation is to let the brand die, along with its reputation.

Similarly, a solid brand personality over time can develop into a super-strong brand reputation that becomes almost impervious to the occasional media mishap or counter-productive publicity stunt.

Establish your brand personality first. Decide what characteristics you want associated with your brand. Then be consistent across every brand channel – advertising, packaging, logo, design, merchandise, communication, and people (your brand ambassadors) – to reinforce your brand personality.

Too often companies make the mistake of inconsistency across brand channels. Consider, for example, an organization that tries to create a welcoming and trustworthy personality by putting happy and evocative pictures on their brochures, but then a very different personality comes through in their billing and fees material. Such inconsistencies can severely damage the brand’s personality with their customers.

What’s even more tragic is the organization’s plummeting cost-benefit ratio. Consider how many hours and resources it costs to design, commission, and print such brochures, all in the name of creating a positive brand personality. Then consider the effects of the often plain and uninviting billing material – probably done on ordinary printing paper – on the brand’s personality. This is assuming the amounts charged on the bill are correct. Even simple billing discrepancies can severely affect a consumer’s perception of the brand, leading to further erosion of the brand’s personality.

Brand personality is so important because it’s the starting point of your organization’s contact with its world. As the saying goes, “one seldom gets a second chance at a first impression.” Choose your brand personality. Be consistent with it across all your channels. Reinforce your brand personality at every point of contact. And watch your brand reputation outgrow the competition.