Meaningful Brand Attributes Will Set You Apart
Courage is not often associated with a brand. But when it is it becomes an identifiable and differentiating characteristic that can be both meaningful and inspirational. That’s what makes brand character such a powerful tool.
Character Is More Than Personality
According to Merriam-Webster, character is defined as “an aggregate of distinctive qualities. It is a combination of features used to separate distinguishable things. And it is the set of attributes that make up and distinguish an individual”.
It is the unique characteristics, attributes, and traits that define Brand Character. They create engaging and memorable experiences. And it is what ultimately drives recognition even in the most crowded markets.
The most successful brands are those that are relatable. They make an emotional connection. And it’s the brand character that gives it the human traits that people can understand. Plus it is equally true for B2B brands as it is for B2C brands. Consequently, it is one of the strongest points of distinction. Brand character drives the perceptions that create the impression of what the brand is all about. It is how people feel about the brand. And what they associate with the experience. It is also what transforms the brand strategy platform into a tangible brand expression. Which is what customers can more easily identify with.
Brand attributes are the human-like traits that create a perceptual distinction that make the brand more relatable, distinctive, and memorable.
Personality is often considered to be synonymous with brand character. But it is more. There are other brand character attributes that give it more dimensionality. These attributes are the essential tools to help shape brand recognition, retention, and equity.
Brand Character Attributes
Attributes drive perceptions. This is the way people interpret what they see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Most importantly they help set the brand apart from competitors.
1. Brand Personality
“Personality refers to a person’s distinctive patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.” Brand Personality attributes are the human-like traits that make the brand unique and approachable. In other words, it is how you would describe the brand if it were a person. It can depict behavior, temperament, disposition, intelligence, and even appearance. For example, the Apple brand personality might be described as innovative, imaginative, and stylish. Those attributes translate into product design and marketing communication. Alternatively, the FedEx personality might be efficiency, speed, and reliability. The FedEx logo reflects those attributes.
2. Brand Voice
The brand voice is the attitude and manner of verbal communication. It begins with the brand identity through names, slogans, and terminology. It affects spoken as well as written communication. The tone and inflection in how you speak and how you write reflect the brand voice. And it’s also a point of view and perspective. For example, your voice might be authoritative and confident. Or benevolent, and encouraging. The Nike voice could be described as bold, confident, and inspiring. The Starbucks voice might be approachable, cool, and inclusive.
3. Brand Experience
Bringing the brand to life is the goal of the brand experience. It is a brand attribute that defines how it engages and interacts with its customers. And it is engagement that creates relationships. While relationships build loyalty. It’s what they will remember most about the brand. The Amazon experience is about selection and convenience. The McDonald’s experience is consistency and speed.
3 Tips For Creating Brand Character Attributes
1. Follow a 3-word Construct Model
One word could describe an attribute. But two words are better. And three words are ideal. A 3-word construct model will result in the best attribute description. Start with a primary attribute identifier and modify it to make it unique. A personality trait might begin with “visionary”. But what kind of visionary? Add a modifier, entrepreneurial. Now it’s “entrepreneurial visionary”. That’s starting to paint a clearer picture. Add to that “discerning”. Now we have a fully constructed personality, a “discerning entrepreneurial visionary‘”.
2. Attributes Have to Work Together
Each attribute has to complement the others. They do not exist in isolation. A personality must speak in a complimentary voice and be compatible with the experience. It will only make sense if the attributes work together to make a greater whole. But balance is also important. One attribute might be more formal while another more casual. They aren’t in conflict but in balance. A “discerning entrepreneurial visionary” might be balanced with a “heartfelt empowering confident” voice.
3. Brand Character is Part of a Bigger Strategic Whole
Attributes have to work in concert with the rest of the brand strategy platform. This will result in a brand constructed as a holistic entity. For example:
A corporate vision could be to lead sustainable transformation of the environment into habitable, useful, and enjoyable experiences. This could be guided by a mission to serve different business unit entities with an entrepreneurial spirit. And fulfilled through a promise and commitment to serve clients and the community to enjoy the benefits of a sustainable environment. Competitive advantage could be realized through the depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise.
What makes this brand unique is a Discerning Entrepreneurial Visionary personality that is reinforced through a Heartfelt Empowering Confident voice that will result in an experience of Authentic Insightful Guidance.
A Character of Distinction
Defining a unique brand personality, voice and experience is an essential part of creating an ownable position in the market. This is what will set the brand apart. Character attributes are the principal means to reach, connect, and engage customers. It’s what will lead to and build trust and long-term loyalty. Brand character is how any great Brands Works.