Understanding Brand Personality: Definition, Tips, and Examples

What is a brand personality?

Understanding Brand Personality: Definition, Tips, And Examples

If your brand was a person, who would they be?

What kind of clothes would they wear? What would their voice sound like? Would they be an introvert or an extrovert?

These questions may sound silly, but when it comes to creating a strong personality for a brand, they couldn’t be more relevant.  

What is brand personality?

In the simplest sense of the word, a brand’s personality is the sum of the human characteristics that are attributed to a brand. These traits can be almost anything you can think of – if you could apply it to a person, chances are it can be applied to a brand too. A brand can be creative, brave, quirky, snarky – the sky is really the limit!

Of course, the fact that there’s just so many different directions you could possibly go in with personality does make the task feel a little overwhelming. “Character traits” is a pretty broad category to pick from. For this reason, many marketing experts have developed outlines to sort and organize all the different characteristics a brand may employ.

Five Dimensions of Brand Personality

One of the most popular of these is the five dimensions of brand personality. Proposed by Stanford professor of marketing and social psychologist Jennifer Aaker, this outline states that there are five different categories of personality that a brand can fall into – sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. These five dimensions create a full spectrum that all brands fall on. Most brands choosing to emphasize just one or two of these dimensions to define the sum of all the traits they have. 

Brand personality isn’t just a list of adjectives that describe your brand, though. At the heart of it, it’s really all about connection. 

Humans crave connection – that’s just part of being human. We want to feel seen, understood; usually these feelings are reserved for other humans, though, not concepts (like businesses). However, when a brand displays personality traits that give them life, we’re inclined to see them – and form bonds with them – just as we would our fellow humans.

In that way, consumers really just want to be able to feel that a brand gets them, that they’re not just a provider but a friend as well. Because emotion is what drives decision making, that human emotional connection is what creates loyal customers for life.

Brand personalities you may recognize 

One of the best exercises for building a strong, unique personality for your brand is to simply observe others. 

Think about some popular brands, or some brands you might even feel personally connected to. Now, consider all the different human characteristics they may have – both good or bad! Or, on the flip side, just jot down some character traits you can think of off the top of your head, and then think about any brands that come to mind for each one. What brands are daring and trendy? What comes to mind when you think about a brand being sentimental or wholesome? Something as simple as exploring a thesaurus can be helpful, even. You never know what word might strike inspiration or lead you to a lightbulb moment.

Another great exercise is to use the five aforementioned dimensions of brand personality. Thinking about this framework in the context of existing brands can help you learn to recognize what traits fall into which categories and in turn be able to build a more consistent personality. To get you started, here’s some examples for each.

Some Brand Trait Examples


  • Trait examples: Friendliness, earnestness, honesty, cheerfulness
  • Brand examples: Hallmark, Coca-Cola, Disney, Allstate


  • Trait examples: Uniqueness, independence, wit, edge
  • Brand examples: Monster, Nike, Tesla, Vice


  • Trait examples: Confidence, reliability, intelligence, technicality
  • Brand examples: Google, Microsoft, Chase, Rolex


  • Trait examples: Glamour, charm, exclusivity, upper-class
  • Brand examples: Apple, Gucci, BMW, American Express


  • Trait examples: Masculinity, rebellion, toughness, strength
  • Brand examples: Axe, Jeep, Levi’s, Jack Daniels

Crafting your brand personality

After you’ve established a basic idea of who your brand is, you need to figure out how you’re going to communicate this to your audience. A good rule to remember for brand personality is to show, not tell. You want your brand to be able to easily demonstrate that it’s an entity of its own, not just a puppet trying to sell a product. These are some popular methods of embracing and demonstrating brand personality:

  • Advertisements
  • Design choices
  • Events
  • Social media
  • Even the product or service itself!

However you choose to go about showing the world who your brand is, the two important main qualities you want your brand to maintain are consistency and authenticity. All of your brand’s actions and values should line up with each other. A consistent personality helps consumers trust and become familiar with the brand. That trust leads to customer loyalty. 

Why brand personality is important

Establishing a solid and well-rounded personality for your brand is so crucial because it ties directly into every other part of it. It influences the decisions you make regarding it and is a huge defining point of its identity and image as a whole. The personality is what ultimately determines how the consumer feels about the brand. If they feel that they can relate or see themselves in the brand, they’re more likely to form that emotional connection that’s so important. That connection is what fosters more meaningful interactions between brand and consumer, brand loyalty, and even an increase in brand equity.

Ultimately, it all comes down to offering your audience more than just the product you’re selling. Not only does this establish a healthy relationship between the company and the customer, but it’s great for brand awareness too. Having that unique, one-of-a-kind personality that makes your brand feel like an old friend can be what sets you apart from your competitors in the market. Solid brand personality doesn’t just benefit the customer, either; the more you flesh out your brand, the better you get to know it yourself. When you have a clear, absolute idea of what you’re trying to portray, business and marketing decisions come with ease. Establishing brand personality can take a little trial and error to begin with, but once you start to find the pieces that fit together, you’ll notice that your brand really can almost come to life.

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