Although brand personalities can be modeled after human characteristics, choosing traits is not enough to make it a brand. Much of what transforms a business into a true brand is the way in which those traits are prioritized through values. Just as people hold values - like honesty, integrity, and discipline - brands are also directed by business values.
For example, take competing car companies like BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche. These companies all have values similar to one another - luxury, safety, speed, handling, quality - but each one has defined the degree of importance and priority. What this exemplifies is that each individual brand, regardless of its core product, is distinguished by the way it arranges its values. That unique order is primarily what sets brands apart from one another. Therefore, choosing the order of which values will influence your brand is key to determining how your business will make decisions and progress forward.
Below you can see a list of values that each business should take into consideration when developing its brand. You’ll notice that the first items are values that have always existed, while the latter part of the list reveals new and emerging traits that have become relevant as a result of changing consumer culture in the last couple decades.
- Innovation - Do you want to continually introduce new, fresh ideas and products?
- Intuitive - Do customers find the product self-explanatory and easy to use?
- Feel - Does the product’s design take into account how it fits or feels?
- Aspirational - How do customers feel about themselves when investing in this brand?
- Sustainable - Is your product ecologically friendly? Does it promote environmental awareness?
- The Experience - What is the customer’s experience of the product, initially and long-term?
- Brand interaction - Does the brand interact with customers beyond selling a product? Does the brand aim to create positive customer experiences (in-store, online & over the phone)?
From this list, pick ten of the most relevant items that apply to your brand, add any that you see fit, and lastly, rank them in order of importance. The order you create will then guide the decisions you make for your company on a daily basis and affect how consumers view your brand.
For example, Apple has embraced intuitiveness as a top value and has used that as a directive when creating new products each year. It has established a strong reputation for producing easy-to-use technology, which consumers appreciate. On the other hand, Nike values consumer trust and being an aspirational brand, so it has built a loyal following of consumers who are extremely attached because they consider Nike products to be prestigious commodities.
What these successful brands have in common is that they have not only chosen the values that are relevant to them, but they have also consistently stuck to their priorities. Though this seems simple, maintaining a brand’s consistency is a much greater challenge than personal discipline. Unlike humans and their innate personalities, businesses must always be conscious of working hard to stay true to their character. Read our next piece in order to confront the biggest challenges of maintaining brand personality and values, so that you can learn what it means to manage your brand’s operational culture.