What is a Brand Persona? Everything You Need to Know
Having a brand persona is like having a template for speaking to customers and prospects. Once you’ve created one, everything from marketing to customer service is more manageable. And who doesn’t want that?
After all, every time you speak to a customer or prospect, in-person or online, they learn a little more about your business. As a result, how you communicate with your customers really matters. That’s where a brand persona can help.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what a brand persona is and why you need one. Then, we’ll share some tips for creating your own.
What Is a Brand Persona?
A brand persona is a personification of your company. In other words, a brand persona represents who your brand would be if they were a person.
It’s a lot like a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictionalized character that represents your ideal buyer, whereas a brand persona is a fictionalized character to represent your company.
There’s value to seeing your brand as a person. It turns something abstract, like branding, into something easy to digest. When you have an avatar representing your company, defining things like value, voice, and characteristics is much easier.
Much like a buyer persona, a brand persona should include all the necessary components of an actual human, like a name, hobbies, interests, and more.
Who your brand is will impact your company’s voice dramatically. For example, take a look at these four brand personas:
- A young, free-spirited surfer named Jack, who grew up on the California coast. His favorite thing to do is to catch waves with his friends.
- A stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of three young children named Molly who’s super into natural healing, homesteading, and organic produce.
- A middle-aged corporate ladder climber named Henry who loves listening to podcasts about biohacking and reading self-improvement books.
- A young, creative, multi-passionate named Susie who spends her time cobbling together side incomes so she can focus on her artistic pursuits.
Obviously, each of these people would be incredibly different. How they talk and interact with people would vary dramatically. But it helps make communicating your brand easy.
For example, let’s say you want to make a social media post about an upcoming discount. Here’s an example of how that post might look for each brand persona listed above.
- Jack: Want a sweet discount? Hang ten with 10% off your next purchase.
- Molly: Save your money for what matters most with 10% off your next purchase.
- Henry: This is your SIGN! Now’s the time to lock in 10% off your next purchase.
- Susie: Feeling inspired? Grab 10% off your next purchase.
While the differences may be subtle, companies can use their brand persona to help inform their marketing campaigns, advertisements, customer service interactions, and more to keep their messaging consistent, which can improve revenue by 23%.
When every communication your company has sounds the same, customers and prospects get a clear idea of who you are and what you bring to the table. In the age of authenticity and oversaturation, having a brand persona can make it easier to make your brand’s message stand out.
How to Develop a Brand Persona for Your Company
So, how do you create a brand persona? Here are some steps to get you started
1. Understand Your Brand’s Basics
Creating a brand persona is a lot like creating your brand in that you need to uncover what makes your company unique. If you haven’t already, take time to answer the following questions:
- What is your company’s mission statement?
- What is your company vision statement
- What are your company values?
- Who are your major competitors?
- What makes you unique from those competitors?
- Why do customers trust you?
- What’s your company’s story? (aka the company origin story)
Taking time to answer these questions will make creating your brand persona much easier. It’ll also make every other aspect of your business more painless.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
Some experts say you should do this further down the line. However, we think it’s a good idea to consider your ideal customers before developing your brand. Here’s why.
It doesn’t matter how amazingly detailed your branding is if it won’t appeal to your target demographic. So, take some time to understand your ideal customer and use that information to help create a brand persona that will appeal to them.
Check out our in-depth guide on creating a target audience here.
3. Clarify Your Brand’s Voice
Knowing your brand voice will make creating a brand persona that much easier. Your brand voice is how your brand sounds in written or verbal text. For example:
- Do you want to come off as more conversational or professional?
- How do you feel about humor?
- Do you like short, sweet sentences or longer, information-filled paragraphs?
- Does your company speak to empathize or inspire (or neither)?
- Does your company use profanity, colloquialisms, or slang?
- Do you want to be relatable or authoritative?
You don’t have to know all the answers here. The next step will help you flesh this out a bit more. However, it’s wise to at least think about how you want your company to speak.
4. Define Your Brand’s Personality
A brand personality is like a person’s personality. It determines how they behave and appear to others. Therefore, it is perhaps the most essential part of creating your brand persona.
The Brand Personality Framework was developed in 1997 by Stanford marketing expert Jennifer L. Aaker. It defines five fundamental dimensions of brand personality:
- Excitement: these companies are creative, bold, and spirited (i.e., Red Bull or Tesla)
- Sincerity: these brands are trustworthy, ethical, and down-to-earth (i.e., Toms or Hallmark)
- Sophistication: these companies are often glamorous, charming, and upper-class (i.e., Chanel or Michael Kors)
- Ruggedness: the brands are tough and outdoorsy (i.e., Ford or Harley-Davidson)
- Competence: these companies are reliable and intelligent (i.e., Microsoft or Google).
These are the five primary personality types, but your company can be a combination of a couple or something else entirely. So use this framework as a starting point to develop your brand’s personality.
5. Build Your Profile
Now that you’ve done the four previous steps, it’s time to create your profile. This is where you take the information you’ve learned from the first four steps and move them from abstract details to concrete character traits. In other words, this is where your brand becomes a person.
Take time to develop the following details:
- Name: Use a real name here. Be sure to consider name meanings, origins, dates they were popular, and common associations with the name.
- Demographics: Fill out your profile with things like age, location, gender, ethnicity, income status, and more.
- Biography: What’s your person’s story? This should be a short blurb that explains who they are and their background.
- Hobbies & Interests: What does your person do for fun?
- Likes and Dislikes: What are your person’s favorite things? What about their least favorite things?
- Personality Type: Something like a Myers Briggs or enneagram type can help flesh out your character even more. You can take quizzes online to determine your type and, by proxy, learn a bit more about who your brand is.
- Image: To bring your persona to life, you have to be able to see them. You can use a stock photo, an illustration, or an AI photo creator to create how your person looks. Make sure they look and feel like a real person (phony stock photos won’t work well here).
- A Quote: Typing up a quote in the voice of your persona can be super helpful in better understanding who they are. It also helps clarify your brand voice a bit more.
Remember to have fun with this. Creating your brand persona should be a creative activity for your whole team to be a part of.
Using Brand Personas to Level-Up Your Company’s Brand
Ultimately, a brand persona is one way to help clarify your brand. In addition, it can make it easier to write ads and social media posts, create advertisements, and close sales.
If you know who you are, you will have an easier time being authentic and consistent. Having a persona helps everyone on your team get on the same page about who your company is, your values, and how to interact with customers.
The best part about brand personas is that they’re relatively easy to create. So, take some time to develop your company’s brand persona, and watch how it transforms and simplifies your company’s image, marketing, and revenue.
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