Most companies start thinking about their brand when they first design their logo and then think about creating their entire brand identity, which includes all visual assets of their brand. What they fail to consider is their company personality.
Many companies skip the step of defining their company and brand personality, either because they don’t understand why it’s important, aren’t sure how to go about it, or decide that they’ll let it develop naturally. This can be a huge mistake.
Your company personality is essential to delivering consistent messaging internally and externally. It acts as an overall guideline for how your employees should interact with your customers through all mediums, and ultimately dictates how your customers feel about you.
Get it wrong, or even fail to be consistent, and your customers will–at best–think you’re amateurish. At worst, they’ll believe you’re untrustworthy and unpredictable - two things that can cost you your business.
The good news is that defining a company personality is not an arduous task and can be done quickly and easily if you follow some, or all, of the steps below.
A company personality simply needs to be a short list of adjectives, or a short paragraph, describing the personality of your brand. For example, ZenDesk, which you may be familiar with, defines their personality (brand attributes) as: Humblident (an amalgamation of humble and confident), Distilled, Charming, and Real.
Follow all, or some, of the steps below until you have a company personality you feel best fits you. While you can stop at a list of words, most brands like to add a quick sentence to describe what that word means to them. For example, ZenDesk has “We don’t pretend to be anything we’re not” in regards to their word “Real”.
It’s usually best to go through all these steps, come up with a longer list of words than you need, and then narrow it down based on what feels most aligned to you.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to define your company personality is to use lists of personality descriptors to brainstorm potential adjectives. A good starting point is this list, as it has over 600 positive adjectives. Work through the list, noting down any that feel like they work for your company, and then narrow them down to 5 once you’ve been through the list (or wait to do that until you have finished the other steps).
You may not need or want a spokesperson for your company, but daydream about who you would choose if you did. This could be a real sportsperson, actor, or activist, or you can make them up. Think about what they would be like, how they would speak, and how they would act. Describe them and then add down relevant descriptors to your list.
This is an incredibly valuable exercise, even if you feel you’ve already got your list of words that describe your personality. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what we want when we’re branding, but the truth is we’ve got to meet halfway (or more) with our ideal customers, providing them with what they want.
Spend some time brainstorming about who you want to be to your customers. Do you want to be the brand they turn to when they have a problem? When they need motivation? If they need someone they can rely on? When they need something ASAP? Are you a teacher figure, best friend, or sibling?
If you’ve already created a brand identity, you (or your designer) likely already have a moodboard to show the “vibe” of your brand. However, if you haven’t and you find visuals more useful than words, then use a moodboard to inspire the words you can use to describe your brand personality.
Answering the following questions can give you some insight into the right words you want to naturally use to describe your brand personality:
Write down any notable words and add them to your list.
We often spend all our time thinking about what our customers want, but there’s a lot of value to be gained by thinking about what they don’t want. Brainstorm some of the things and personality traits that would turn your ideal customer off your brand, and then find a word that describes the opposite and add them to your list of ideas. For example, if you’re a brand that is all about being relaxed, going with the flow, and enjoying a slower pace of life, being hyperactive, loud, and assertive would likely all turn your ideal customer away.
Once you’ve been through these 6 steps, you should have a long list of adjectives you could use to describe your company personality. Now you need to whittle them down to 3-5 (6 at a push) to clearly define your personality. When you’ve got them, make sure you add them to your brand guidelines and share them with everyone on your team.
Branding doesn’t have to be intimidating, and this process is an easy and straightforward way to nail down your company personality. However, if you need help with your branding, we’re here for you. Click here to learn more about our branding services. If you want to learn more about how to establish a strong brand, read How to Build a Strong Brand next.
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