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Branding Your Small Business: Attributes and Giving It a Personality

Many local small businesses are good at promoting their products and services. What they may lack, however, is the ability to connect their brands with their customers emotionally in the same way the big brands do.

This may be because local small businesses often focus their marketing messages on what they offer and can do, trying to provide logical reasons for customers to choose their brand. Consumer behaviors, however, aren’t always logical; rather, they’re quite often illogical and irrational.

To influence purchasing decisions, it’s important for small businesses to connect with customers on an emotional level. So to truly standout from the crowd, your brand should have a personality of its own.

What’s a brand personality?

A brand personality or “brand attributes” are simply a set of adjectives that describe a brand’s characteristics. Thru the brand’s personality, the brand creates an emotional connection with the consumers. While it may sound complicated, it takes some simple personifying exercises to define your brand’s personality.

Your brand as a person

Celebrities are ‘branded’ with a certain image intended to bring about certain assumptions about who they are, how they act, and what they believe. One may expect a certain sets of characteristics from Paris Hilton and a completely different set of characteristics from Meryl Streep.

In this exercise, you associate your brand to a celebrity. When you have an appropriate person in mind, write down the characteristics of that person, and ask yourself how your small business’ brand is similar.

Your brand as acar

Another exercise is to draw an analogy with a car. Try to be as specific as you can. Is your brand an Audi A4? Is it a Monster Truck? Or is it a Prius? What color is it? Does it come with any special upgrades?

Form a picture of the car in your mind and write down what the car represents and what adjectives come to mind when describing the vehicle. Is it trendy? Is it conservative? Is it environmental or gas-efficient? Is it luxurious? Is it elegant? Think about what emotions it evokes and record all of your findings.

Your brand as a …

You can take a step further and draw analogies on a variety of subjects to further explore your brand. Your brand as an animal? What kind of four-legged friend best fits your brand? Your brand as a spot? What kind of games might your brand play? Your brand in terms of music? Opera? Jazz? Rapp? What would that sound like for your brand?  Your brand as…? You get the picture.
 
The goal of these exercises is to help you find commonalities. With each exercise, ask yourself why you are associating your brand with this celebrity/car/animal/sport/music/etc.etc. Think about what each of these analogies represents and how each might relate back to your brand.
 
It’s best to go through these exercises with a group of employees or even loyal customers who may know your brand the best. You may come up with different answers, but find out the reasons behind the analogies drawn. 

There are no right or wrong answers; the key is to find out a repeating pattern on the adjectives that you come up with. 

Sometimes, you may discover that the personalities you’ve aspired your brand to take on are different from how other people actually perceive your brand. In such a case, don’t try to force a personality onto your brand that doesn’t work. Your customers can see through a fake fairly easily.

Remember, your brand’s personality needs to shine in everything you do. So…what’s your brand’s personality?
 

Author Info

Geraldine Lin is a brand and marketing professional with hands-on experience in B2B and B2C marketing, retail marketing, SEM, digital marketing and branding. She is currently with YP serving as the internal brand champion by providing brand guidance to help promote cohesive branding across all company functions. Follow her on Twitter @zugburg.

Note: Ideas and concepts shared here are those of the author and not necessarily shared by or endorsed by YP℠.

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