A Little Brand Personality Goes a Long Way

Learn the five components that go into creating your brand personality.

There’s no question that advertising can be one of the best ways to increase business.

But did you know that the look and “feel” of your advertising – its brand personality – can also help increase (or decrease) your brand’s image in the minds and hearts of your target consumers?

And, your advertising plays a pivotal role in furthering your brand’s personality.

If you doubt this, all you have to do is think about Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola, Nike, Apple, and other legendary brands. One of the things that separates these from lesser brands is that each has its own consumer following that borders of “cultism.”

Why? Because each has its own distinct personality with which their consumers strongly identify. Because of their dedication, these consumers have moved from simple customer status to brand loyalist…and spend money hand over fist every year proving their devotion.

And in nearly all cases, advertising has both reflected and shaped their brands.

These companies have long known the value of brand personality, and have spent millions of dollars developing and maintaining it.

Let’s assume, however, that you don’t have millions to spend. What can you do to make sure your advertising reflects (or shapes) your company or product’s personality, and builds your brand?

There are basically five components that determine your advertising personality:

1. The concept. This is the overarching idea behind your advertising. What is the one main benefit you want to get across to your prospect? Wrap your concept around that one benefit.

2. Tone of the ad. Should your advertising be humorous, serious, elegant, snooty, comfortable, or something else? The tone should reflect who you are as well as who you want to be.

3. Headline and main visual interaction. Do they work together in a cohesive fashion to pay off the concept of the ad?

4. What is the “design” of your advertising? The overall design of your advertising visually communicates your personality. Should the design clean, cluttered, polished, friendly? Modern, homespun, elegant? What impression do you want your consumers to take away?

5. How does your copy read? I remember my English teacher used to berate me because I had a tendency to write in a conversational tone. But if you want to come across as genuine and friendly, that’s exactly how you should write. Write like you’re talking to a friend, not like you’re trying to impress your English teacher.

Which means it’s okay to have one-word paragraphs.


It’s okay to dangle your participles if you feel like it. It’s okay to start your sentences with ands, buts, ors. It’s okay if your sentences don’t have a noun/verb match. It’s also okay to ask the reader a question.

Get the picture?

I’m not saying you should butcher the English language just for the heck of it, but don’t be afraid to experiment and find the style that reflects your personality.

So now what?

Ask yourself these questions: Does your brand currently have a personality? If so, is it a personality you have deliberately cultivated, or is it one that has just developed over time? Most importantly, does it reflect who you want to be, and who your target customer wants you to be?

Discovering the answers to these questions and applying them to your brand will not only help you define your personality, but it should help boost your sales as well.

(c) Copyright 2008, Donna Williams, BusinessBurrito.com. All rights reserved.

Donna Williams is a 25-year advertising / marketing executive, creative director, writer, and producer. Together, Donna and her husband currently own and co-own five small businesses.

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