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Why Brand Personality matters: Definition, traits and examples

 | 10 MIN READ
Brand personality

RedBull Gives you Wings.

A popular catchphrase invented by the Austrian company, Red Bull, somewhere in the 1980s. Although not literal, it embodies the brand personality of the organization quite well.

Energetic. Inspiring. Adventurous.

However, brands like Dr Pepper with their "Always One of a Kind” slogans cannot be described in the same way, despite the fact that both companies manufacture and supply energy drinks.

This is because Red Bull and Dr Pepper have brand personalities that are different from each other.

Most famous brands have unique personality traits associated with them. But people only gravitate towards the ones that call out to them and promise to offer something new and exciting.

What is brand personality?

Brand personality refers to the set of human characteristics that make up a brand. It represents the attributes, values, and behavior that gives brands a human-like identity.

Take, for example, the self-confident and timeless classic, Rolex.

The concept is similar to that of consumer personality traits. Just like every customer can have a unique personality, every brand can have a unique brand personality.

Hubspot says that it “helps [buyers] relate to certain brands that mirror the characteristics [they] value most.”

A statement that makes it crucial to align your brand's personality with those of your customers. Or pick up traits they hope to develop in the future, like bravery and fearlessness.

Brand identity vs Brand personality

Before we get into the details, it’s important to clarify that brand personality is not the same as brand identity. Many people use the terms interchangeably but they are two different ideas.

Brand identity constitutes the visual elements of a brand, like the logos, brand colors, fonts, and typography. It can be seen and touched, and reflects how a brand showcases itself to the world.

Like Tiffany & Co. with their legendary blue box packaging.

Brand personality, on the other hand, is emotional and abstract, encompassing the human traits that define a brand's connection and experience with its buyers. These traits can only be felt and reveal how customers perceive your brand.

For example, whether they think that a brand is classy or sophisticated.

While the former serves as the initial point of contact between the brand and its audience, the latter develops a brand's relationship with its buyers.

However different, both brand identity and brand personality are necessary to create a captivating brand image that reels in your buyers.

Benefits of having a brand personality

According to the Marq Brand Consistency report, companies with a consistent brand image experience a 10 percent (or sometimes 20 percent) growth in their total revenue.

Brand personality is a ridiculously essential factor in developing a successful brand image.

If your brand's personality is relevant and outstanding, it can help you stand out from the crowd, acquire new customers (while keeping the old ones), and improve brand equity.

That's said, here's a detailed explanation of all the other benefits you get with branding:

Benefits of having a brand personality

Stand out from the crowd

Suppose that there is a new company in the market selling a CRM solution. It has to build a brand identity that separates it from big players like Hubspot and Salesforce.

Now the company cannot exactly replicate the two in terms of branding or marketing.

Since nobody will go for a new option when they already have a more trustworthy one, it makes sense to create a brand personality that is unique and takes into account user preferences.

You can easily stand out by crafting a brand strategy that addresses customer pain points and fills the areas where your competitors are lacking.

Connect with potential buyers

It doesn’t matter whether you are selling to other businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C). A well-defined personality will allow you to connect with your target audience on a more personal and professional level.

Take Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, for instance.

It calls out to women of all ages, sizes, and ethnicities, doing away with the unachievable idea of “perfect” beauty often perpetuated by society. Dove’s brand voice helps women on a psychological and social level, effectively strengthening their connection with the brand.

Drive customer acquisition

People like companies who bring something new to the table. With a strong personality that matches the values and aspirations of your target audience, it becomes simpler to attract new customers.

A unique brand experience can further reduce customer acquisition costs and let you focus on retaining existing buyers.

Case in point: Airbnb with its "Belong Anywhere" motto, which brings in travel enthusiasts from all over the world to its platform.

Foster brand loyalty

Some brands have millions of buyers and followers on social media. They are brands that people swear by and are extremely loyal to.

Consider Nike. Once a person buys a pair of Nike shoes, there is no going back for them.

It’s not just because the company makes good products. Their consistent brand story has a bigger part to play. It gives people a sense of belongingness and converts them into loyal advocates.

Improve marketing and communication

Brand personality helps with messaging and communication by allowing you to develop marketing strategies in line with your brand image.

You can ensure proper targeting at each stage of the marketing funnel and modify your brand messages to suit the needs and expectations of your target audience.

Doing so will help you create an engaging brand image that resonates with your buyers, leading to a positive increase in ROI.

Build brand equity

Brand equity is all about the importance your brand (not your products) holds in the hearts and minds of your customers. A strong brand personality contributes to building brand equity.

Companies with a strong foothold in the market often have an advantage over their competitors and can set higher prices for their products or services.

Even though Starbucks might be considered expensive by some, it’s still one of the most valuable brands in the world because of the welcoming image it emanates.

Five dimensions of brand personality: The Aaker model

Jennifer Aaker, a Stanford behavioral psychologist, introduced the brand personality framework in an article published in the Journal of Marketing Research in 1997.

Her paper delves into the concept of personality and divides it into five distinct brand dimensions, offering companies a strategic roadmap to shape their brand identities.

Aaker's brand personality model includes the following dimensions:

  • Sincerity
  • Excitement
  • Competence
  • Sophistication
  • Ruggedness

Each of these groups includes additional facets or personality traits. Let’s take a closer look at all of them.

Big five brand personality traits

#1 Sincerity

Sincerity is made up of four factors, namely, down-to-earthness, honesty, wholesomeness, and cheerfulness.

Companies embodying these traits have a trustworthy image that makes their buyers feel safe and secure. Along with being warm, friendly, and family-oriented, they exhibit the following features:

  • Prioritize customers' interests
  • Display transparency and customer-centricity
  • Keep promises to meet customer expectations
  • Focus on fostering authentic relationships

A majority of these brands belong to the food and hospitality industry, like Hallmark, Kelloggs, Nestle, and Cadbury.

#2 Excitement

Brands with this personality are often classified as bold, enthusiastic, and adventurous. They usually cater to a young audience with cutting-edge technology and innovation.

Like sincerity, excitement is also made up of four facets:

  • Daring (trendy)
  • Spirited (cool, independent, young)
  • Imaginative (unique, passionate)
  • Up-to-date (contemporary)

Think of the hyped up products in the marketplace that promise a dose of adrenaline in all their adverts, like Mountain Dew. They urge ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

In fact, nearly all of their marketing strategy centers around some form of extreme sports, concerts, or music.

#3 Competence

Competency corresponds to reliability, intelligence, and success. Companies high on this brand personality spectrum come across as hard-working and secure.

They exude reliability and trust and tend to be:

  • Confident industry thought leaders
  • At the forefront of technological innovation
  • Simple, serious, and straightforward

Unsurprisingly, the category includes brands from the finance, healthcare, and tech industries, such as Pfizer, Volvo, IBM, and Google.

#4 Sophistication

Unlike the former three, sophistication consists of only two facets: Upper-class and charming.

Sophisticated brands are smooth, luxurious, and glamorous, with high end consumers who want the best that money can buy. Additionally, these brands:

  • Have very high product prices
  • Showcase intricate craftsmanship
  • Target a selective, status-conscious audience

Fashion, jewelry, and luxury automobile brands like Hermes, Chanel, and Ferrari are all sophisticated brands with high-quality products.

#5 Ruggedness

Outdoorsy and tough are the best words to describe the rugged personality type. Some great brands like Yeti, Jeep, Woodland, Patagonia, and Old Spice fall under this category.

Typically characterized by a traditionally masculine aura, they are:

  • Durable, authentic, and built to last
  • Attractive to people who crave the greater outdoors
  • Unconventional and have a hard to digest brand appeal

The 12 brand archetypes and other theories

The psychology of brand personality would be incomplete without brand archetypes, which draw upon Carl Jung's theory of the same name.

According to Jung, people are made up of one dominant trait or archetype, which shapes the way they look at the world. It can influence human personality and thought patterns.

When it comes to branding, archetypes represent a brand’s traits and values that help buyers form an emotional connection with them.

There are 12 archetypes in total, divided into four primary categories based on human motivations.

1. Order: Motivated by structure, control, and a desire for stability.

  • Caregiver: Compassion and support. Eg. UNICEF
  • Creator: Innovation and self-expression. Eg. Adobe
  • Ruler: Confidence, authority, and leadership. Eg. Mercedes-Benz

2. Freedom: Motivated by a sense of purpose, spirituality, and self-discovery.

  • Innocent: Simple, pure, and honest. Eg. Whole Foods
  • Explorer: Freedom and adventure. Eg. Woodland
  • Sage: Wisdom and knowledge. Eg. Google

3. Social: Motivated by connections and a sense of belonging.

  • Regular Guy: Authentic and reliable. Eg. Home Depot
  • Lover: Sensual and passionate. Eg. Victoria's Secret
  • Jester: Humor, fun, and spontaneity. Eg. M&M's

4. Ego: Motivated by risk, success, and individuality.

  • Hero: Courage and determination. Eg. Nike
  • Outlaw: Rebellion and nonconformity. Eg. Virgin
  • Magician: Imagination and charisma. Eg. Disney

When combined with other brand personality dimensions, archetypes can help businesses create a unique brand proposition that resonates with people who share the same values.

How to define your brand personality traits

Did you know that users can form an opinion about your website in as little as 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds)? Or that 88 percent of consumers are more likely to support brands that show authenticity?

Statistics like these stress the importance of creating a well-defined brand personality that aligns your business with the values and interests of your target audience.

Having said that, here’s a simple step-by-step guide to help you develop your brand personality.

How to define your brand personality traits

1. Identify brand values and mission

Before you go about creating a brand, it is important to list down your company’s core values and purpose.

Describe your brand and its principles in a statement that enunciates why your business exists, the problems it solves, the solution it provides, and the goals it aims to achieve in the future.

Take, for example, Disney’s mission statement:

The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.

You can start with something simple and expand on it later.

2. Conduct competitor research

Next up is analyzing the competitive landscape. Conduct extensive competitor research and spot opportunities to differentiate your brand.

Identify their personality traits along with the type of customers they serve. The most effective way to do this is by looking at their social media posts and reviews.

Find out their unique selling proposition (USP) and align your brand position with your target audience.

3. Study target audience

A brand must represent its buyers in one way or another. You cannot build a brand without knowing your audience.

Gather insights about your customers via questionnaires, surveys, and interviews. It will help you delve deeper into your buyer’s psyche and understand their goals, motivations, frustrations, and beliefs.

You can also combine qualitative and quantitative data to build buyer personas. Personas will give you a holistic view of the demographics, psychographics, and behavior of your target audience.

Once you know what consumers want from you, it becomes easier to make your brand relatable.

4. Build your brand personality

Take a look at all the information you have gathered up until now. Based on your findings, select a set of personality traits and archetypes that match your brand.

Discuss with various stakeholders and refine it until you have exactly what you need. To make this process easier, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How would my brand behave and interact with others if it were a person?
  • What language, tone, and style of communication would it use?
  • How would it present itself visually?

These questions will help you with messaging and visual branding. You can then use logos, fonts, colors, and designs that align with your personality in different marketing materials.

5. Establish brand guidelines

Before you start implementing your brand personality, it is essential to set up guidelines that outline the consistent use of your brand across all touchpoints.

Specify what you are as well as what you are not.

Train new employees and conduct workshops for the old ones to ensure that everyone in your company is on the same page when it comes to your brand.

And don’t forget to monitor how your brand is perceived by the public. Opinions can change really easily and you must be ready to adapt whenever necessary.

Examples of companies with strong brand personalities

There are certain brands that people cannot help but relate to. It might be because of their values, visuals, or aesthetics. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as a tagline.

It doesn’t just happen, of course.

Companies work really hard to build a brand that connects and hits home with people. Given below are three such companies with famous brand personalities.


Nike has positioned itself to inspire growth, excitement, and momentum. It embodies the spirit of athleticism and determination, and appeals to people who strive for constant progress.

The brand features some of the finest athletes across sports in their marketing campaigns.

With inspirational messaging that urges people to live a life of possibilities, Nike’s advertising (with their “Just Do It” slogan) gives athletes a space to voice their own stories.

Take for instance this old Nike tennis ad featuring Naomi Osaka.

Never done inspiring ad revolution


Apple is a brand that thinks different. Both literally and figuratively.

Since the days of its then founder, Steve Jobs, the company has cultivated a striking brand experience that is a mix of competence and sophistication.

Their products are designed with usability in mind. The minimalist designs and user-centric approach are also responsible for the company building a loyal customer base.

Apple think different ad

That’s not all. Apple is also known for its inspiring ads. Like the “Think different” campaign that reminds people of what’s possible with a little creativity and imagination.


Harley-Davidson is a brand that needs no introduction. Synonymous with freedom, rebellion, and ruggedness, it is built around the idea of individuality and the American spirit.

Harley-Davidson ad banner

Along with its iconic design and engine sound, Harley-Davidson has a passionate and dedicated community of riders who embrace the sense of camaraderie and adventure that the brand represents.

Wrapping up

Brand personality is the key to branding success. It has the potential to set you apart from your competitors, bring you closer to your audience, and build long lasting connections.

Factors, which inevitably lead to growth and business success.

Hence, it is critical to craft a personality that best represents your brand and embodies the values of your buyers.

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