Much like tone of voice guiding words, one thing you can do to build your business’s mindset is to develop a brand personality word package.
It’s not just something that helps with writing your website. The words in this package should shape and yet support every aspect of your business.
Discovering or choosing your brand personality words should be like finding the very kernel of truth of your business. It’s what connects to every thing you do from building your products, writing your website, creating your voicemail’s message, building a logo and interacting with clients in person.
It’s not a simple process to find these branding words and branding consultants and visual communicators really are the experts in this area. But if you want to have a go at finding your brand’s personality, as expressed by some core words, try these techniques.
According to Branding Strategy Insider, the most popular brand personality words are as follows:
- Innovative (45%)
- Professional (41%)
- Responsive (36%)
- Caring (32%)
- Reliable (27%)
- Customer focused (27%)
- Trustworthy (23%)
- Service oriented (18%)
Branding is all about differentiating yourself in the market, so using these attributes is probably not going to be the best idea. Catherine Farman has pooled together a really great selection from which you can explore some more exciting word options.
- Innovative for instance, could be ingenious or avant-garde.
- Professional could be experienced or masterly.
- Caring could be warm-hearted or sympathetic.
See how each word has a different flavour? There’d be the right word for each context and business.
Recently I worked with a company to build a collection of words to shape their visual and voice attributes. This is an Amazon based company who already has a strong voice in their messaging to customers who buy their products. As they are wanting to expand their sales to their own branded website, with full social media ecology (which they wanted my help with), I suggested that we find some key words that characterise the brand they’d already built on Amazon.
This is a company that sells tutus and dance related apparel and accessories. We determined who their main and ideal customers were and considered the kind of consistent voice they were using in their Buyer Messages and Customer and Product comments.
They had been using a voice that we could use to build a character. They were acting a bit like a mother or aunty, of British heritage, who was willing to go above and beyond to make people feel comfortable with their purchase, be willing to say sorry if they’d made a mistake, and also infuse a sense of the fun in dance done within community and in the lounge room of an average family’s home.
So the words we came up with to exemplify the voice and character they’d built were:
This gave a really great grounding for everything else they will do. We get a sense of a person or personality behind the brand.
In amongst this, they measured their voice against their ideal customer: a young mother of two, living in middle America, who is college educated and supports her family – someone who wants to buy from a busines with excellent, old-fashioned customer service, has a sense of style and also a strong sense of community and “giving back”. This company resolved that they had a perfect match to the brand personality words they’d chosen and also their special someone.
Warm, older Aunty was dialoging with young, heart-centred ‘mom.’ This was a good alignment.
So here are a few tips to finding your brand personality words:
- On a big piece of paper, write down some words that would appeal to your ideal customer in buying/working with you. Choose a certain colour to write in.
- In another colour, write down the Voice Guiding words you have chosen already. See previous post.
- In another colour, write down some words that connect with your Purpose and Values already determined.
- Using another colour, look up the thesaurus or use Catherine’s list to provide alternatives to what you’ve written down already.
- Sit back and look at all the words you’ve written out. Are there ones that are similar that can be grouped together? Are there words that just don’t sound 100% right when thinking about core, kernels of truth for the brand you’re building? If so, scratch them out.
- Try to reduce the number of words to around 5.
- Consider whether they’re a good spread of everything you are about and whether they would resonate with your special someone. Be analytic and honest with yourself.
- Print them out and reflect on them for a while.
Once you are happy with your five brand personality words, consider how you might infuse these in your website’s writing.
In what ways can you express that you are “Warm” for instance? Can this be done simply by saying “Hello and welcome” on your home page?
In what ways could you express “Helpful” – could you use a blog to provide handy tips on how to do something connected with your product?
What about ways you can express that you are “responsible”? Could you talk about how you’re a firm but fair mother in your About page? Or that you look after six chickens (like I do?) 🙂
It’s almost like you’re using these brand personality words to help you talk the talk you’re already walking in your business. They’re supposed to isolate your business’s DNA, how you go about your business and the flavour of your business’s communications.
If you’ve already got a website, don’t fret if you’ve found a brand personality word that you feel is not found in your website’s words and images. Allison Dearling from Live and Breathe Yoga (LBY), who I work with regularly, recently did a branding exercise with the wonderful Teegan at Verve Design. In that branding exercise, the word Fun was determined to be important to the LBY brand. Looking across the website, we found that it was very informative and relaxing and gave a sense of reflection and peace, but didn’t really communicate the “fun” the yoga studio has with those who walk up the stairs – such as teacher flash mob dances and chuckles over chai after class. There are ways you can “add in” your brand personality after the fact. So pretty soon, we’re going to be adding more “Fun” to the Live and Breathe Yoga website through a few artfully placed words and images.
Have a go at figuring these brand personality words for yourself and start to ruminate on how you can express, not outright say, what you’re all about. And if you get stuck, why not hire a professional like a visual communication expert or branding consultant. I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with.