October 27, 2013#

Newsflash: Brands aren’t people.

I’ve  spent way too much time writing brand personas lately. Assigning personality traits to a brand and writing character descriptions that reflect those traits. For example, brand X is strong, trustworthy and approachable. Brand X’s persona is a mayor. She’s a uniting force in her community, etc., etc.

I think brand personas are overrated. (Especially if you don’t do the research to back it up!) People don’t think of brands as people. They don’t even think much about brands at all until they’re ready to buy. That’s when the rubber hits the road. That’s when your product needs to be available and easy to purchase. That’s when your advertising pays off – assuming it gets noticed and says something relevant to your target audience.

It’s not an easy task but it’s how you grow your brand and increase market share. Anyone who tells you brand personality matters to consumers is preaching accepted wisdom. There’s no evidence to support it.

There is evidence, however, that consumers are reluctant to view brands as people. Do you see personality traits on the cereal shelf at your grocery store or do you just grab your usual brand without much thought? I thought so. Don’t get me wrong. A strong brand can be a difference-maker among parity products. But brand personas, not so much.


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