What is a brand persona?
Let’s look at the individual parts of this term. A persona is simple enough to define: it’s a collection of character traits, value and attitudes that someone has. Think of someone you know. When you interact with them, you pick up on what they are like through the way they talk and behave.
A brand is the reputation a company projects about itself, using marketing tools such as visual style, logos and slogans, and tone of voice. Companies create a brand to give their customers a certain perception of them that they can connect with.
Of course, a brand isn’t a ‘person’ with a real personality, but customers still have interactions with it when they see marketing material, receive newsletters, make purchases, or submit complaints.
So putting these together, using a Brand Persona means having a certain reputation or perception of your company that you want to get across to your customers, or potential new customers! Your Brand Persona is the impression you want to leave on them, and how you want them to think of you.
How will a Brand Persona help you
Gets everyone on the same page
When we walk our clients through the process of creating a brand, it provokes a lot of discussion. Even the founders of a company can disagree on what it is that they want their business to do. Taking the time to decide on what your Brand Persona is, clarifies to all your employees what kind of service you’re wanting to provide, so that everyone is pulling in the same direction.
Keeps you in your clients minds
The idea of ‘a company’ can be difficult for customers to connect to. Every company is, of course, made up of multiple people, all working behind the scenes, and what they produce is a group effort. Using a brand persona creates one consistent, recognisable ‘face’ to represent this team, like an invisible mascot (and in a few rare cases, an actual mascot! Think of Tony the Frosties tiger, or M&Ms). When thinking about services they might want, having a clear idea of who you are and what you’re like as a business will help them differentiate you from your competition.
Helps you decide on responses ahead of time
Your Brand Persona includes your brand’s voice – how your invisible manner talks, and what language and vocabulary you use. This means that you can come up with some key phrases and approaches to the common queries. Mailchimp’s guide is still the consummate example of planning ahead in this way, but here are some key things to think about:
- How do you ask for things? Do you use emotive and persuasive language, or are you aiming to excite your audience into responding?
- How do you say sorry. Even for small everyday complaints, ‘That sucks and it shouldn’t have happened’ is a totally different tone to ‘We sincerely apologise for this terrible oversight’. Decide which camp you want to live in, but remember there is a sliding scale. The more serious the transgression, the more sensible and mature your tone should become.
- How do you say thank you? ‘Cheers Lads!’, ‘You’re a star!’ or “We can’t thank you enough.’ There are so many options.
Do you make jokes, and what kind? Social media is a great place to look for examples of this. Tiffany & Co. like to add a little gentle wit to their Twitter posts, embodying the sophisticated woman they are hoping to connect with.
However Fridababy, a brand aiming to be humorously real about the mess of parenting, can make a joke about bums and boogers that border on gross!
For other brands, being funny just doesn’t fit with their Brand Persona, so they know to avoid even the most obvious and tempting of puns.
Gives you guidance for future marketing
Over time, your business will do different marketing campaigns as you launch and relaunch new products and services, target different portions of your target market, and even attempt to reach new ones. As time goes on, you might start to drift away from your brand without realising. Having a Brand Persona gives you something to relate back to. Do all your communications and ads sounds like they are coming from the same person? If they don’t, refer back to your Brand Persona.
So how do I find my Brand Persona?
It just so happens that we’ve made a tool for exactly that purpose! Brand Words help you narrow down the key characteristics of your company, giving you a clear and collective idea of what you’re aiming for. The more members of your organisation take part, the clearer that picture will be, giving you a solid picture to build on in establishing your own Brand Persona.
Note: It is also worth mentioning – the term brand persona is very different to a user persona!