Creating personality pillars that don’t suck

We use personality traits for a couple of reasons. So we don’t sound like a corporate bore. And so our voice, design, campaigns, videos can stay consistent. They are pillars that allow us to create engaging branding.

But so many personality pillars are vague and abstract. We get given these one-word traits and indulgent descriptions and then we’re like, “Cool, but what do I do with these?”

Here’s an example from a well-known agency:

Genuine: You’re genuine in your approach and genuine in your smile. People like to be around you because you’re sophisticated but you also make them feel at ease. You take the time to listen and learn.

Sounds good. But, say, we’re putting together a website, or a Brand Voice, or a video campaign. The above description doesn’t help us stay on-brand. Genuine is too vague, so we get stuck when translating that to our brand.

The personality traits we use to describe our friends are different to the ones we use to describe our brand. Our brand personality traits should describe the type of relationship we have with our customers.

Our brand needs to serve a type of function in our community’s life. With that function comes a certain way of being with them. We can take a wise-teacher role or a friend-at-the-bar role.

Nike is your inspiring friend and coach. Mailchimp is your quirky and smart business partner. Who Gives a Crap is your funny philanthropist friend. Cheeky Monkey is your mischievous friend at the bar. Coffee Supreme is your hipster coffee geek barista. Delinquente wine is your lively wine buff friend who hosts fun parties.

Once we understand these personality traits, we can create a Brand Voice and Campaign that actually resonates and creates a relationship dynamic that is most strategic to who you are and the community you aim to serve.

Hi. I’m a copywriter and brand message strategist for hospitality, farm, food, and drink businesses who want to tell a better brand story.

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