A brand as a person, not just a personality

Imagine if a brand was a person. Not just the caricature of a person, a brand personality created and draped over an organization or product - but a real walking, talking, breathing person. A person with dreams, values, networks and knowledge.

When we think of a brand as a personality what lies below the surface can seem inconsequential. Brand personalities have become the business equivalent of changing your name via deed poll. So what if the product fails or the organization lies; just change the brand personality, and bingo, a new brand is born.

Example: Unilever’s campaign for real beauty in Canada (Dove)

When we think of a brand as a person the game changes. Trust, loyalty, word-of-mouth, these are new metrics for a brand but they’re old metrics for people. People may be aware of Richard Nixon, but would they trust him? People may recall Lehman Brothers, but would they recommend them? The answer is no. Because the true measure of a person, or a brand, goes much deeper than a personality.

Example: Unilever’s campaign for skin whitening in India (Pond's)

The game is changing. Social media is giving consumers the power to pull-away brand personalities and reveal what lies beneath. If what lies beneath your current brand personality is a legacy of previous brand personalities, product failures and marketing misrepresentations, then your business has some tough questions to answer. After all, who really cares how many customers are aware of you, or can recall your latest logo? If they don’t trust you, and aren’t loyal to you, then you’re in a pretty bad place.

Trust, loyalty and recommendation aren’t the measures of a good personality; they’re the measures of a good person. If organizations are serious about embracing these new metrics, and seriously growing their business, they need to start thinking about a brand as a person, not just a personality.

For more information on building a brand beyond personality, check out this previous post and presentation.