Thanks so much for asking.
There’s a good chance you’re familiar with brand identity already. And if you are, you can just skip to the brand personality subheading below. (Go ahead, ya show off.)
But if not, or if you'd simply like a review, we’ll break it down for you.
What Is Brand Identity?
You may well have the coolest logo or most dazzling home page imaginable. You might have both. But they alone (or even together) do not a brand identity make.
For a brand to be appealing, recognizable, and easily remembered, it needs contextual finesse. THIS is its identity.
It’s that thing that helps the consumer instantly recognize the brand. So, for instance, if we were to say “pink mustache,” what brand is called to mind? If you said something like "Elton John," that's a darn good answer. Though a formidable force, he's technically not a brand. (He's a knight.)
At any rate, you might have immediately said, "Lyft," as most people in their 20s and 30s would. And that’s the target audience to whom Lyft is primarily catering.
See, Lyft was smart. They came along to challenge Uber at a time when Uber was coming across as dark and elitist. Lyft built their brand identity on differentiation. They started by making their brand color hot pink. The pink mustache grew from there. They hired friendly community drivers that emphasized more laid back and communal elements. All the while, they grew their customer base and increased brand recognition.
Basically, a brand’s logo, tagline, fonts and color all act towards creating a brand’s identity. And a brand identity is vital. It sets a company apart from its competition and establishes a connection in the minds of the customers. It’s the face of the company. (Or at least the mustache.)
It represents the company’s services, mission and values.
According to media researcher Nielsen, 60 percent of consumers prefer to shop from brands they already know. So brand recognition keeps old customers coming back.
But there’s another part of the brand that’s equally vital to your marketing strategy. And that’s its personality.
What is Brand Personality?
(If you skipped the above, thanks for joining us again.)
Let’s say you’re looking for socks. Do you want Merino woolsocks in a classic pattern that will keep your feet warm? Or do you want something purely aesthetic (like sloths or clowns or hot dogs) with no concern for utility?
We probably all know which of these socks you will find at L.L. Bean. And they don’t involve tube steaks. Or tube socks, for that matter.
L.L. Bean would prefer a hike in the woods to a drive in the city, a worn-in sweater to a sharp business suit, a picnic to a power lunch. “Come on, L.L. Let’s go for a swim in the fishing hole, then cozy up to the fire with some hot chocolate afterward.”
This is L.L. Bean's brand personality. It has been built through years of development of its brand. And while the brand identity might change through different life cycles, the personality will stay mostly the same.
Much like humans. And it makes sense.
Because in essence, brand personality is a set of feelings, emotions and qualities ascribed to a brand. And quite often, a brand’s personality reflects that of its target customers.
Brand Identity Exists with Brand Personality
Brand identity is like the logical aspect of the brand, while brand personality is the emotional component. It’s like brand identity is from Mars, and brand personality is from Venus. Or maybe the other way around... however all of that works.
Whatever the case, each is a distinctive entity that needs to endure over the long haul.
So what is your brand’s identity and personality? If your brand were human, would you want to hang out with it? We hope so. Because that’s the idea.