If you had to describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be?
No matter what words you chose, I’m willing to bet they aren’t the same as the person who read this article before you. The way we define ourselves is a reflection of the unique individuals we are or that we want to be – the reason why some people gravitate toward us, and others run the other way.
Now try this: If you had to describe your brand in 5 words, what would they be?
Have a colleague pitch in. Now a customer, if you’d like a holistic view. Did your answers match up? If not, you’ve got a brand identity crisis. Don’t worry! We’ve got the cure.
Brand identity crises are what make our Brand Seasoning process a form of brand therapy. We’ll get to the logos and color palettes, but there are a few questions we have to answer first in order to develop a firm foundation for your brand strategy. The most important being “Why?”
Why does your brand exist beyond making money?
Why did you hire that prospect and not the other?
Why did you accept that opportunity and reject the one before it?
Why do customers choose your brand over the competition?
The answers to these questions lie in your brand’s values and personality – two sides of the same coin in understanding how your brand shows up in the world.
As the saying goes, if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything. Without a leg to stand on, brands fall flat.
In a constantly fluctuating social, political, and business landscape, your brand values are your stake in the ground. They’re your company’s commandments, the guardrails for what you’ll stand for and what you won’t. More than empty statements hanging on your breakroom wall, they serve as the guiding light in every decision your company makes.
In combination with mission and vision, brand values put your brand’s purpose into practice. With each value comes a promise, setting expectations with your consumers (and employees) around what it means to do business with you.
Take Patagonia for example, the poster child of purpose. They not only make active strides toward a more environmentally conscious future, but refuse to stand by organizations who aren’t completely in tune with what Patagonia stands for.
In today’s purpose-driven brand universe, consumers demand transparency and authenticity. Talking the talk simply doesn’t cut it – and it shouldn’t. If your values are truly fundamental to your “why”, they bleed into every interaction you have, naturally attracting the right people and detracting the wrong ones.
If your values determine what you have to say, your personality determines how you say it. Using 5 words or less, your personality serves as the external reflection of your values, illustrating the core of your brand in a tangible way.
Brand personality is the difference between “Hello” and “Hey there!”, between straightforward business imagery and whimsical illustrations. Clear personality traits guide your design and copywriting teams as they bring your brand to life across various touchpoints, to ensure a final product that is authentic and consistent.
Are you The Funny Friend? The Buttoned-up Professional? A bit of both?
While none of us (humans, or brands) fit squarely into a single category, it’s important to determine which aspects of your personality are most fundamental to why and how you do business in order to create a clear, powerful value proposition. Trying to please everyone pleases no one, so identify your strengths and stick to them!
In tandem with your values, your personality helps to elevate your brand beyond the goods and services you provide, carving out your unique position and voice in the market.
A personality that authentically reflects your values is how you generate an emotional connection with your audience and cut down the time it takes for people to recognize, remember, and pay attention to you.
Brands are like people. And people like doing business with people they like.
Ready to treat your brand’s identity crisis? Download a free copy of our signature Brand Thinkbook!
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