Creating A Brand Persona That Connects With Your Customers

Do your marketing communications bring your company and brand to life? Do they “speak” in a unique voice? Do they convey a human touch that connects to your customers and prospects? In other words, does your company have a brand persona?

The Value of a Brand Persona
We work with many of our clients on developing brand guidelines, sometimes called brand manuals or brand standards. These are put in place to help employees, franchisees, creative contractors, or other partners involved in sharing the company’s message understand and apply the company’s values and identity across all channels and media.

Part of this work involves establishing a brand persona—a set of attributes, or personality traits, that embody the brand and what it stands for. You can think of the brand persona as the “heart” of the brand; the logo, tagline, and other visual and copy-driven elements represent its “clothing.” The brand persona drives the creative from the inside out, much like our own personalities drive our choice in clothing, footwear, hairstyle, etc.inside out, much like our own personalities drive our choice in clothing, footwear, hairstyle, etc. inside out, much like our own personalities drive our choice in clothing, footwear, hairstyle, etc.

By following brand guidelines—with a brand persona at its core—you ensure consistency in look, feel, tone, style, voice, and other creative factors that shape peoples’ perception of the brand and its offerings. And this perception is what helps fuel engagement, loyalty, and the entire customer experience. There’s the value: it’s critical to the relationship customers have with your brand.

What Goes Into a Brand Persona?
To illustrate, let’s take a look at a couple of brand persona examples:

Regional B2B Manufacturer/Service Provider

  • Character: Wise, trustworthy, helpful, low-key, mature, knowledgeable
  • Tone: Friendly, neighborly; intelligent but at the readers’ level
  • Language: Simple, direct, a little bit technical when it needs to be
  • Purpose: To inform, support, and guide
  • Key Copy Messages:
    • We help our customers make smart decisions
    • We’re committed to quality craftsmanship
    • We value long-term partnerships with our customers

National B2C Lifestyle Brand

  • Character: Youthful, feminine, energetic, light-hearted
  • Tone: Personal, warm, approachable
  • Language: Whimsical, inspiring, empowering
  • Purpose: To delight, engage, and entertain
  • Key Copy Messages:
    • We help our customers express their panache
    • We love finding serendipity in everyday happenings
    • We nurture authentic relationships within our online community

How is the Brand Persona Used?
The simple answer is that it’s used to help customers envision your brand as a person. From a creative standpoint, it is easier to develop a message when the brand or company assumes a human personality. So by telling the copywriter, designer, and other professionals involved in content development how to “talk” to the audience, they’re able to bring your company to life and connect to people in a deeper, more authentic way.

Remember those Mac vs. PC commercials that pitted the hip “Mac Guy” against the less-cool “PC Guy?” (AdWeek shares the entire campaign here.) Apple quite literally demonstrates brand persona in these ads—using people to represent the computer brands. The hip “Mac Guy” portrays Apple’s casual attitude and communicates their products’ benefits of hardware quality, software security, ease of setup and use, and other various built-in features. The “PC Guy” represents a very, suffice it to say, different, set of personality traits.

Creating Your Own Brand Persona
If you want to formalize a brand persona for your company, spend some time thinking about what makes your brand unique. If your company were a human being, what qualities would it bring to the table? Here are some thought-starters:

  • Is it serious or more carefree?
  • Is it innovative or grounded in tradition?
  • Is its approach to customer service personal or community-driven?
  • Would you describe it as a rebel? A joker? A caretaker? A friend?

From here, you can piece together your character, as shown in the examples above, and establish guidelines for your communications’ messaging. It’s also helpful to choose a photo of a person (it could be anyone who “looks the part”) to accompany your write-up, which you can then share with your marketing and creative teams.

If you’d like help creating or freshening up your brand persona—and incorporating it into a more comprehensive set of brand guidelines, we’d love to talk. Contact us today!