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Being the Voice of Your Brand's Personality


What is Brand Personality?

Over time, a brand forms what’s best described as its own unique personality. These brand personalities are a lot like people’s. They start off one way, but as experience and circumstance impact their perspective, they morph and adapt into something that builds on lessons learned. When a brand has a good understanding of how their personality is perceived by others, their brand image, they have two choices: 1) adjust it, or 2) own it. When a brand has a personality they’re comfortable with owning, it’s the marketers job to consistently communicate as the living embodiment of the brand itself. Is your brand proud or is it humble? Does it care about prestige or practicality? Do charms or knowledge rally others to its side? 

These aren’t easy concepts to grasp, and it usually takes some hands-on experience with a brand before you’re able to speak for it with confidence. All marketers though, especially those who deal directly with brand positioning and messaging, need to practice putting themselves in the shoes of the brand personality they’re speaking for. One way to do this is by asking yourself the question: If I were this brand, and bumped into a member of my target audience on the street, what would I say to convince them to choose me? That’s the exercise I tried here, with some of the best known and most well loved brands in the entire world. Here were my results:


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It’s hard to argue that Mercedes has perfected the art of auto engineering. Other than performance, they believe something that drives at the top of its class needs a prestigious look to match. You're sitting at the dealership in a seat of the brand new Mercedes S-Class, and for the first time in your life, you're not just window shopping. Is this the car for you though? Isn't it a little much? While messing around with the radio a strong and confident voice blares through the sound system that makes you stop and listen:

So, you built a bird house. Looks pretty good. Roomy inside, solid pine, no gaps. Yeah, this will get the job done. What are you going to do now? Nail it to your fence and call it a day? No you’re not. You’re going to slap on a fresh coat of paint, break out the wood polish, maybe even engrave your name on the side. Is it going in the backyard? No, It’s going in the front. That way Chuck across the street has to look at it every time he checks on his precious little koi pond. The birds won’t care about any of this, but you will. Mercedes gets it. We did the same thing with our birdhouse, only our birdhouse has 791-horsepower and goes 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. We care about looking the best because we’re proud of what we’ve built, and if you’re proud of what you’ve built then you deserve to show it off. A Mercedes is for the moment when it’s time to show off you.


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McDonald's has spent decade's building an operation that provides a consistent experience no matter which of the 38,000 locations you visit. Hunger suddenly hits after a draining day, and you're not feeling particularly adventurous with your dinner selection tonight. You spot the golden arches just a short walk away, and a comforting voice wisps through the air and says: 

We’ve come a long way from where we began, but have we really changed? The burgers aren’t 15 cents anymore, your car pulls up to a window instead of a gravel lot, and a few places even have pizza, but we’re the same where it counts. Your food’s still served hot faster than you’re able to pocket your change, the secret sauce has never needed a reboot, and no matter which McDonald’s you visit the pleasantly familiar quality is guaranteed. From the hills of Los Angeles to the sands of Israel to the frozen banks of Norway, you’re not in for many surprises, but the same old burgers, fries and apple pie you’ve always loved, and service that smiles wider than our Golden Arches. If you’re lovin’ it, what is there to fix?


Apple building.jpeg

Ever since the Macintosh, Apple has been the leading idea machine on how to improve personal computing devices. Your phone's contract is about to expire, and another key on your laptop just got stuck. While you know you're needing to make some pretty big purchase decisions, you're aware we live in an age of information overload, and just want a sure fire direction to follow that's going to lead you to a reliable device. You pop in your headphones to drown out the stress, and an elegant voice reaches you through the air waves:

We at Apple are in the business of making doubt obsolete. Never again will you have to worry about when the warranty expires, or need to ask a friend if they like the one they bought. Because we don’t sell phones, computers, ear buds or smart watches, we sell certainty. It’s over, the endless review comparisons, the meticulous product testing, buyer’s remorse. Technology is made to do more so we can do less, and when you choose Apple the one less thing you’ll have to do is question whether you’re buying the best of the best. Rest assured, you have.


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For generations the name Coca-Cola has been synonymous with happy memories and good times. It's opening day at the ball park, and you're debating on what's going to wash down the warm hot dog you're snagging during the 7th inning stretch. From the concession stand loudspeaker booms a deep and soothing voice that goes:

The day your newborn entered the world, you can’t recall their pounds and ounces, just the comforting squeeze of their little hand. Was their first trophy gold or silver? The bursting pride of their confident smile is all that comes to mind. Oh those lavender drapes at their first wedding dance…or were they teal? Your thoughts only focus on the joyous glimmer shinning in their eye. You don’t remember the drink you were holding. The red paper, the swirl of the C, the bubbling brown fizz, but you remember the cool warmth washing through you down to the very last drop. You don’t taste a Coke, you feel a Coke, just like you feel a memory, and we’ll be there for all your happiest ones to come.


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The only logo potentially more recognizable than Apple’s is the Nike swoosh. Our superheroes used to wear capes, now they wear Air Jordans, and over the years Nike has signed dozens of the world's greatest athletes to wear their gear professionally. You've been thinking about breaking out that old gym membership card collecting dust at the back of your wallet, but look down to realize the only shoes you have worth wearing are a pair of loafers. One of your childhood sports heroes on a billboard across from your office suddenly comes alive and says to you: 

The runner whose legs fight an incline while their eyes fight the glare from a 5am sunrise, their shoes don’t crack under the pressure of the pavement. The golfer who takes so many swings that the grass beneath the tee is nothing but dirt, their gloves don’t tear from the swivel of the club. The goalie who throws their body to the wind with a twist that grinds their teeth, their clothes hold strong against the pounding of the ground. Gear doesn’t make a winner, but winners only wear that which will help them triumph. Winners believe in themselves, but they put their trust in Nike.

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