The Good Brand Checklist No.4

No.4 We have a clearly defined brand personality.

“I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big” — Donald Trump

Think of this as the humanized attributes of your brand.

What’s your brand’s personality?

  • Cool, Hip, Stylish, Professional, Loud, Quiet, Scary, Empathetic, Funny, Charitable, Creative, Young, Mature, etc.
  • How do people describe your brand?

Your brand promise delivered with personality is what makes your brand truly unique. It is the basis of much of today’s advertising.

This (your brand personality statement) should influence and include the expected behaviour of the people that deliver your brand at all touch points.

Apple’s “Get a Mac”

One of the most recognizable brand personality campaigns in recent times was the “Get a Mac” series, with actors John Hodgman and Justin Long, that Apple ran.

It described Apple as hip, individualistic and scrappy vs Microsoft (PC) as grey, corporate, drab, frumpy, reserved, dispassionate.

Screenshot of a Get a Mac Ad

Watch on Youtube here:

This series of Ads provides a masterclass in giving Apple computers a personality and humanizing what are technical products and attributes of those products.

There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to the series of Ads (worth a watch for any Branding nerds or Apple fans) here:

Try this:

A great way to check that the right brand personality is being communicated, is to remove your brandname or company name from the marketing copy on your website, in your brochures, emails, etc.

Re-read the copy and see if you can recognize your brand. Or does it make you sound like a confused schizophrenic or worse, any one of your competitors.

The idea is to create a personality that people want to work with, that supports the brand goals and has a clearly identifiable character.

Example: Donald Trump (aka The Donald)


Donald Trump

Love him or hate him. He’s flawed, big, brash and loud. He stands for according to an article in adweek: luxury, success, fearlessness.

This personality is parlayed into commercial projects and the business of Trump Inc. such as Trump Tower, Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Mahal Casino, The Apprentice TV show, the US presidency, etc.

So he (The Donald) is the brand certainly. But his personality has enabled Trump branded products to stand out despite the fact that he has been bankrupted 4 times, and lost the presidency after a single term.

Example: Charlie’s

We think Charlie’s is a great New Zealand example, where they created a strong brand personality (Honest, Straight Talking, Street Smart) right up front.


It sets them apart from other Juice companies.

Try these.

Here’s 4 exercises you can do with your team to help identify your brand’s personality.

  1. If your brand was a car, choose which car it would be. A high performance, expensive high maintenance Ferarri or a reliable, tough, economical Toyota? What colour, what year, model. Be as specific as possible.
  2. If your brand was a famous celebrity, choose which celebrity would best represent you and why. John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Sir Edmund Hilary, etc. What traits do they share with your brand?
  3. If your brand was an animal, which animal would best represent your brand. Again try to be specific. If it’s a dog, what breed of dog, male or female? Are you king of the jungle like a Lion, cheeky and playful like a Monkey, fast like a Cheetah, beautiful like the Peacock?
  4. Make a list of adjectives (used to describe peoples personalities) that you think describe your brand, then have staff and management rank and rate them. Here’s a list of adjectives to help get you started. Don’t be afraid to use negative adjectives. You’re looking for an accurate picture of who you are. Sometimes negative attributes strengthen your brand position.

Now — do these for your own brand AND your competitors brands. This will help you identify your personality and how it’s different from your competitors.

Document it

It’s important that you document what your brand personality is. Put it in your brand standards or guidelines document, ensure staff and management understand who you are and how to behave.


OnePath Logo

For Example, in their brand book, OnePath™ writes it this way.

Our personality reflects the way we speak to our customers and includes our voice, our language, our imagery and the overall experience we want our customers to have. Each of us will have our own unique way of delivering the OnePath personality but at our core we are: Warm, Approachable, Down to earth, Energetic, Optimistic and Caring

Check ?

If you can check this item off, pat yourself on the back. You’re on your way to a good strong brand.

If not, then your brand needs work.

Consider getting your team together, preferably away from your place of work to discuss and arrive at some conclusions. You need to be crystal clear and concise. Use simple, easy to understand language with no ambiguity.

Note: This is ideally an internal process.

Happy branding 😀

Thanks for reading, I’m David Vaassen, and I love and work with great brands everyday as a brand strategist and founder of brand management systems company e-see® and Brandkit®.

This article is no.4 in The Good Brand Checklist series..

p.s. I wrote this originally in 2014 but like most brand practices it still applies today.

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The Good Brand Checklist No.4

No.4 in the The Good Brand Checklist series of articles. We have a clearly defined brand personality.

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