Would you want to have dinner with your brand personality?


This isn’t about creating your brand personality.

If you’re looking for that, you’ll find an overwhelming number of sources ready to teach you. Most of them will tell you how easy it is: Five Ways, Seven Simple Steps, Do It In Ten Minutes or Less! I’ll credit you with the wisdom to know it’s not that easy and to search out qualified brand creators with names, faces and credentials.

What the happy, helpy online folks don’t tell you is just how difficult it is to get your brand personality right. This isn’t a task done unilaterally by one marketing person. Or even by the whole marketing department. Or even by them and an external agency. It takes everyone from the CEO to the kid in the mail room with the Death Druid tattoo on the back of his neck.

Many of you are nodding your heads and thinking, “I know all that.”

Good. You’re whom I want to talk to. You either have a brand personality or are creating one. Here’s the question you need to ask yourselves, the litmus test of whether or not consumers find your brand likable and credible: “Would you want to have a drink with Mr. or Mrs. Your Brand?”

If you’ve done your brand personality creation correctly—assessed your strengths and weaknesses, aligned your brand strategy, listened to your customers, and spent the time to know what your brand looks like, how many kids it has, what it drives, whether it gives to charity and the brand of shoes it wears—you’ll see a living, breathing person before you.

The most thorough brand personality creation of which I was part (for a hospital), we even had a name: Dr. Henderson. I felt like I knew the guy and, yes, I found him intriguing enough that chatting over drinks was not an unpleasant prospect.

The trick is seeing the brand as consumers see it. People flying Virgin Airlines aren’t greeted by Richard Branson. From the minute they step to the Virgin gate, they interact with a brand beyond its creator’s personality.

Amazon vs Craig’s List? Let’s see, one is confident, organized and seems to really care about me, while the other is shady, faceless and doesn’t seem to care if I get scammed. Target vs. Kmart? I like both of the linked spots for branding purposes, only Target delivers the brand upon entering its stores. Kmart doesn’t.

One of the most brilliant branding campaigns belongs, of course, to Apple. It puts faces and voices to what I can only write about. While the PC isn’t a brand, the brands selling it—IBM, HP, Etc—are saddled with a bumbling oaf of a product that, were you to have dinner, would expect you to pick up the tab…after it had dropped its entrée onto the floor and broken its water glass. Apple I would expect to be a fascinating conversationalist and even recommend a better place to eat.

So, after your months of toil crafting your brand personality, put it to the final test. Would you like to sit across from it at Chez Gourmet or just stay at home and order carryout?

–From the braintrust @ Creative Dimensions