Make People Feel, Not Think.

Thoughtfully Express The Personality Of Your Brand

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” 
― Winston S. Churhhill

A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior. That attitude.

Think of a person who really stands out to you, the first person who comes to mind when I ask the question: who do you admire? right there. That person obviously behaves a certain way that resonates with you.

The same is true for brands. This is brand personality and it is the unique and distinctive set of characteristics that shape the brand behavior , both internally and externally.

Brand personality is easy to think of in the worlds greatest brands. Apple and the attitude of creativity and innovation. TESLA with the attitude of elegance, irreverence, and intelligence or Nike with the personality of intensity and athletic inspiration.

While the mentioned brands are obviously great — their personalities are easy to spot. What about the corner store, the local coffee shop, or the mechanic down the road. All brands, like all people, have a personality that is or isn’t resonating with the people that they interact with. As with people the personality must be distinct and authentic if you wish to be remembered as a person or in top of mind of the consumer as a brand.


Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

All brands stand for something — whether they know it or not. It is not just the brands with massive marketing and r&d budgets. To stand for something, inherently means that you must consciously stray from the middle.

To have a brand personality you must have strong opinions about what you believe in, after that — everything that you do and say must be congruent with those strongly held opinions.

So, how do you get to the root of a brand personality? how do you identify and articulate that personality? and how do you know that it is true, that it is real, that it is unique?

Know Thy Self

Lets assume that the fundamental tenants of your brand are in place. You know what you are selling, you know how to make it and sell it, you know who you want to sell it to, and you know why you are selling it.

The above scenario is interesting because whatever brand this may be should resonate with their audience, and some would argue that a brand that knows why they exist, how to make and sell, and who they want to resonate with will automatically do things that are imbued with a brand personality.

I used to believe this as well — but as I began to introspect, I realized that I know many people, and brands that have everything covered. But, they do not resonate with whom they wish because they have not thought about their personality. They are quite literally the diamonds in the rough. If a compelling mission and vision, and a great product is they base of the cake, brand personality is the icing. I don’t know about you, but I do not care for a cake without icing.

There Can Be Only One

How do we get there? how do you create the conditions for you brand personality to shine in everything you say or do?

It seems, that it comes down to better and more introspective questions. Below are the questions that I have found to work in creating self brand understanding. (please add more questions that have helped you)

  • Who does your brand and people admire? What are the specific qualities that this person, place, or thing represents?
  • What inspires your brand and people? What it is about these products, people, places or things that inspire your brand?
  • If your brand or product was a person in a family — who would they be?
  • If your brand was a movie — which would it be? specifically why?

When you answer these questions honestly and understand the characteristics that your brand possess and admire the brand personality will be able to convey the unique expression of you particular combination of talents. This is the epicenter of market positioning, and we see it done well in the greatest brands — it is also known as poise, and we get poise when we are effortlessly being ourselves.

Brand Personality Creates Self Expressive Benefit

I will admit it. Functional benefits are appealing and easy to understand they may even have a tiny bit of personality. A faster car or a cheaper computer are highly rational ways to make decisions, but as humans our ability to make decisions are far from rational. Just ask anyone why they buy x product over y, if you dig deep and are willing to ask why more than once you will see that our rationality is quite fragile.

Beyond functional benefits brand personality plays a crucial role, because it will inform the subtle signals that your product or service gives off creating the highly intangible albeit highly sought after self expressive benefit.

A self expressive benefit is when the use of a product or service serves as a loud speaker for someone to display a their self concept. Ultimatley, when a brand can create a self expressive benefit through a thoughtfully designed self expressive benefit the connection between customer and brand will be heightened.

Its hard to believe, ask yourself — how devoted are you to your favorite brand — is it rational?

For example, I am a member at Equinox gyms. It is much less convenient than previous gyms that I have gone to, they offer less classes than other gyms than I have gone to, and it is more expensive. Rationally, it does not make sense for me to exercise there but the connection they have made with me is strong because even though there are many detracting reasons not to go there, when I walk into the gym the intangible feeling of what I think about myself is palpable. Equinox’s creative expression of their brand personality through design, advertising, and other small quirks make me feel a self expressive benefit.

People Who Interact With Your Brand Should Feel, Not Think.

At the end of the day we care what other people think of us, and we care about how we feel. With regards to your brand, these are two abstract phenomenon that can be created. They are called social benefits and emotional benefits. They are extremely important if you want to have a robust connection with your customers and you must constantly ask yourself two questions that will properly allow you to express your brand personality. When my customers interact with my brand, what does it say to other people in their social group? and When my customers interact with my brand what emotions do they feel?