If your company were a human being, what kind of a person would it be? Making this determination is key to connecting with potential customers as it will drive the tone and tenor of all of your marketing efforts—not to mention your ecommerce site itself. People tend to develop an affinity for entities that remind them of themselves. Thus, it’s very important to ensure your brand displays a consistent set of traits.  But what should they be?

Here’s how to find your company’s personality.

Personality Defined

The emotional associations your brand elicits will reflect the nature of your company’s personality. As mentioned above, these attributes should mirror those of your target audience. This means before you can determine who you are, you have to figure out to whom you’ll be talking. Once this is clearly defined, you’ll be better positioned to determine the nature of the face you should project to the world.

Determining Who You Should Be

While knowing to whom you’re speaking is important, equally important is knowing what you’re selling and having a clear sense of your company’s values.With those elements in hand, you can begin to think about how you can best relate to your audience.

The most important factor to come out of this exercise is the determination of your “voice”. What kind of language do your key customers tend to use when they’re talking among themselves?

Understanding the Basic Traits

Personality traits can be distilled down to five key characteristics. These are sincere, exciting, competent, classy and rugged—or their opposites. Each of these arises out of the primary emotional states. Again, thinking of your company as a person, would it be open minded, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable, neurotic—or the opposite of those?

Personality vs. Image

Here, it is also important to differentiate between image and personality. Once you’ve defined the characteristics of your brand’s personality, the characteristics of a corresponding image will make themselves somewhat evident. This will then manifest itself in terms of the colors, logo, font and photography styles you employ. These elements, in conjunction with the voicing of your copy will project your persona to the world. The voice and the visuals must work together. By the way, while we’re on the subject of logos, once you figure out who your company “is”, you can use a logo maker to come up with the perfect signature.

Qualities to Consider

When you’re figuring out what type of “person” your company is, the following comparison will help you arrive at the nature of its personality.

Will the people you’re targeting respond best to a tone that is—

  • Reserved or humorous?
  • Expansive or contained?
  • Quiet or startling?
  • Detached or engaged?
  • Fashionable or traditional?
  • Luxurious or economical?
  • Male or female?
  • Strict or adaptable?
  • Youthful or established?
  • Charismatic or benign?

Putting It All Together

Once you’ve made all of those determinations, you can create a style guide to inform the nature of your communications. This will ensure everyone who works on anything involving the public face of your brand projects the same image.

For examples of this, look at Nike, Apple, Coca Cola, and Mercedes-Benz. The people behind each of these have done an excellent job of determining their brand’s ideal personalities and presenting them to the world.

In fact, they have done it so well; one can recognize materials associated with each of these without seeing the names or logos. The personalities shine through every aspect of their communications. Using these guidelines to find your company’s personality will position you to do the same.

Chris McdonaldBusiness
If your company were a human being, what kind of a person would it be? Making this determination is key to connecting with potential customers as it will drive the tone and tenor of all of your marketing efforts—not to mention your ecommerce site itself. People tend to develop...