You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are your brand” Well, the same could be said for businesses. In order to create a meaningful and lasting connection with your customers, your brand needs to be more than just a logo or a slogan. It needs to have a personality.
But how do you create a personality for your brand? And even more importantly, how do you make sure that personality resonates with your customers?
In this article, we’ll explore the power of brand personality and archetypes. We’ll discuss what they are and how you can use them to create a connection with your customers. We’ll also provide some tips on how to humanize your brand.
What Is the Humanization of Brands?
It’s the process of imbuing brands with human-like qualities, characteristics and emotions. And it’s a powerful way to build trust and connect with customers on a deeper level.
When brands are humanized, they become more relatable. Customers can see themselves in the brand, and they feel a connection to it. This connection is essential for building loyalty and creating brand advocates.
So how do you go about humanizing your brand? There are many ways, but one of the most effective is to understand the elements of brand personality.
Elements of Brand Personality
When you think about the brands you love, what comes to mind? Likely, you’ll think of qualities like friendly, fun, helpful, or stylish. These are the elements of brand personality.
A brand’s personality is what helps customers connect with it. It’s what makes them feel like the brand understands them, and it’s what makes them want to keep coming back. When a brand has a strong personality, it becomes more than just a product or service—it becomes a friend, a mentor, or even a trusted advisor.
There are five main elements of brand personality:
- Sincerity: This element refers to honesty, genuineness, and a down-to-earth demeanor. Brands that embody sincerity evoke trust and a sense of reliability, making them appealing to customers. Examples of such brands include Johnson & Johnson, Toyota, and Walmart.
- Excitement: Brands that are associated with excitement are dynamic, energetic, and spontaneous. They are often associated with adventure, thrill, and entertainment. Examples include Red Bull, Coca-Cola, and Nike.
- Competence: This element refers to a brand’s ability to perform and deliver on its promises. Brands that embody competence are seen as dependable, knowledgeable, and skilled. Examples include IBM, Microsoft, and GE.
- Sophistication: Brands that are associated with sophistication are seen as elegant, refined, and cultured. They evoke feelings of luxury and exclusivity. Examples include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Mercedes-Benz.
- Ruggedness: Brands that embody ruggedness are seen as tough, durable, and outdoor-oriented. They evoke feelings of strength, adventure, and freedom. Examples include Jeep, Caterpillar, and Timberland.
Extensively we have:
- Friendliness: A friendly brand feels welcoming and approachable. It makes customers feel comfortable and at ease.
- Fun: A fun brand is playful and whimsical. It makes customers smile and brings a touch of light-heartedness to their day.
- Helpfulness: A helpful brand provides solutions and answers to customers’ needs. It makes them feel like they can rely on the brand for support.
- Style: A stylish brand is trend-setting and chic. It helps customers feel confident and in control of their appearance.
- Authority: An authoritative brand is credible and trustworthy. It conveys a sense of stability and reliability to customers.
Types of Brand Archetypes
When you’re building your brand, it’s important to have a good understanding of the different types of archetypes you can use to represent it. Archetypes are characters or models that represent a group of people, and they can be very powerful when used correctly in marketing.
There are a number of different archetypes to choose from, but some of the most popular ones include the hero, the artist, the sage, the rebel and the jester. Each of these archetypes has its own set of characteristics and appeals to a certain type of customer.
It’s important to choose the right archetype for your brand, as it will help you to communicate your message more effectively. Take some time to consider who your target audience is and what kind of personality they would respond to the most. Then find an archetype that matches that persona.
- The Innocent: This archetype represents innocence, purity, and idealism. Examples of brands that embody the Innocent archetype include Apple, Dove, and Johnson & Johnson.
- The Explorer: This archetype represents a sense of adventure, freedom, and individuality. Examples of brands that embody the Explorer archetype include Jeep, Nike, and Red Bull.
- The Sage: This archetype represents wisdom, knowledge, and reliability. Examples of brands that embody the Sage archetype include Google, IBM, and Wikipedia.
- The Regular Guy/Girl: This archetype represents approachability, relatability, and friendliness. Examples of brands that embody the Regular Guy/Girl archetype include Walmart, Budweiser, and Ford.
- The Hero: This archetype represents courage, determination, and leadership. Examples of brands that embody the Hero archetype include Caterpillar, FedEx, and General Electric.
- The Outlaw: This archetype represents rebellion, nonconformity, and edginess. Examples of brands that embody the Outlaw archetype include Harley-Davidson, Levi’s, and Punk Beer.
- The Magician: This archetype represents transformation, innovation, and creativity. Examples of brands that embody the Magician archetype include Adobe, Apple, and Tesla.
- The Caregiver: This archetype represents compassion, nurturing, and a focus on helping others. Brands that embody the Caregiver archetype are often associated with philanthropy, Hospitals, social responsibility, and a desire to make the world a better place. Examples of brands that embody the Caregiver archetype include UNICEF, Save the Children, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
- The Jester: This archetype represents playfulness, humor, and a lighthearted approach to life. Examples of brands that embody the Jester archetype include Skittles, Tickle Me Elmo, and Volkswagen.
- The Lover: This archetype represents passion, sensuality, and a focus on creating meaningful relationships. Examples of brands that embody the Lover archetype include Godiva, Tiffany & Co., and Victoria’s Secret.
- The Everyman: This archetype represents simplicity, accessibility, and a focus on the needs of the average person. Examples of brands that embody the Everyman archetype include H&M, IKEA, and Subway.
- The Ruler: This archetype represents power, control, and a sense of prestige. Examples of brands that embody the Ruler archetype include Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, and Rolex.
By choosing a brand archetype that aligns with their values and resonates with their target audience, brands can create a strong and consistent brand personality that helps them stand out in the marketplace.
Benefits of Humanizing Your Brand
Humanizing your brand can be incredibly powerful for connecting with customers and audiences. When done right, it can lead to more emotional connections with people, larger customer loyalty, and a higher ability to engage with potential customers on a deeper level.
One major benefit is that when you give your brand character and personality, you enhance its identity. Doing this allows people to feel like they’re part of a tribe — and something larger than just themselves — because they can relate to the brand on a personal level. It also gives them a sense of belonging, which is incredibly important in the digital age.
Another benefit is that humanizing your brand allows you to differentiate it from other brands in the market — no longer are you just another entity in the mix, but you’re now an entity with unique personality traits that help identify it from others. This not only helps customers recognize your brand easily amongst other competitors but also creates an opportunity for increased customer loyalty as people resonate with not only the product or service but also the attitude behind it.
Applying the Elements: Case Studies
It’s time for a case study! Let’s look at two real-life examples: Nike and Old Spice.
First, Nike. It’s obvious that Nike is a brand of action, aggression and ambition. This is clear from their slogan: “Just Do It”. To powerfully communicate this message, they have embraced a military-style esthetic in their advertising and visual language. At the same time, they’ve also managed to remain human; they’ve effectively personified their swoosh logo and created an icon that people identify with on an emotional level.
Now let’s look at Old Spice. Unlike Nike, Old Spice has chosen to go the route of humor and lighthearted charm rather than aggression and ambition. Their visuals draw heavily from mythology and feature a macho, yet endearingly goofy hero character in all of their ads. They also have an established reputation for being able to quickly break into meme culture whenever something obscure happens on the internet–a perfect example of how they stay connected to their audience while still maintaining their signature brand spirit.
Tips and Strategies for Humanizing Your Brand
Ready to get started on adding the human touch to your brand? Here are some of my top tips and strategies on how to get started.
First, think about your customer’s needs and interests. Take the time to truly understand your audience so you can provide content, products, or services that will resonate with them.
Next, take a look at the language you’re using in your messaging and how you present yourself. Using conversational language will make it easier for customers to connect with your content and relate to it.
Finally, get creative with how you share content and stories about your brand in an authentic way. Find ways to humanize your brand through storytelling —dig deep into what makes your brand unique, not just what it does or sells. Humanizing your brand won’t happen with one post or one campaign; it’s a strategic long-term process that requires dedication and care.
So, what have we learned? Simply put, your brand is more than a name and a logo. It’s the embodiment of a set of values, and it has a personality that customers can connect with. That personality should be reflected in every aspect of your marketing, from your website to your social media to your customer service.
And, finally, it’s important to understand your brand’s archetype. That can help you to develop a marketing strategy that’s in line with your brand’s values and resonates with your customers.
This is an excerpt from my brand consultation session with SoSwift Healthcare, an emerging global brand in the healthcare solution sector.