What is a Brand Character & Why Should You Develop One?
A brand character may seem like a new buzzword, but the idea has been around for almost as long as brands have. But what is a brand character?
Hubspot defines a brand character as:
“The personality of your company. It's how you want people to perceive your business, and it should be reflected in everything from your marketing materials to how you answer customer service calls.
[It] should be consistent across all channels and unique to your company. It's important to avoid generic characters, as these will be forgettable. A bland brand character won't help you stand out from the competition. Think of your brand character as the actor who plays your company's role. They should be able to embody all the values and attributes that you want people to associate with your business.”
We can attest to the importance of building a brand character for your organisation. We’ve recently devised Excella for our client More4apps. Created to bring some character, charm, and personality to the service, she's the Excel spreadsheet wizard who's won her time back by using More4apps spreadsheets for Oracle ERP.
Some of the most memorable brand characters include:
- The Michelin Man
- Ronald McDonald
- The Duracell Bunny
- Compare The Meerkat (Aleksandr Orlov)
- Go Compare (Gio Compario)
What’s more, they seem to work. In 2020, IPSOS found that brand characters can make a video ad up to 6x more memorable compared to the logo alone and up to 2x as memorable as using a celebrity. Powerful stuff.
In this post, we’re going to explore brand characters and how you can utilise one in your marketing and branding.
Brand Personality vs Brand Character
Although linked, brand personality and your brand character are not the same things. Your brand personality is your overall look, feel, tone and values. Your brand character is what you create in order to demonstrate your brand personality. The character has the same values and characteristics but also has something else.
In the Duracell example, the brand personality is of batteries that are reliable, hold their charge, and are always there when you need them. The Duracell bunny demonstrates this by being high energy, running everywhere and outlasting the competition.
There can be many different qualities and characteristics of your brand character, depending on what message you want to convey. Some of the most common include:
- Friendliness - Most brands want to convey themselves as friendly, approachable, and someone their customers would want to talk to.
- Trustworthiness - Like friendliness, expertise is often a desirable brand characteristic. Customers want to be able to trust and rely on a brand for good service and accurate information.
- Expertise & Competence - Sometimes considered an extension of trust, customers want a brand to know their industry and be on hand to provide support, guidance and advice.
Other popular brand values could include enthusiasm, style, technological advancement, sincerity, sophistication, ruggedness, strength and even community.
Why Are Brand Characters Important?
One of the main ways that brand characters are important is that they give a focal point and continuity across all marketing activities. They can help to enhance your message and reinforce other elements of your brand identity such as logo, tagline and colour palette. They are also used across other marketing collateral such as websites, offline and print resources, social media posts and videos.
What’s more, they can also help guide other elements of your brand and marketing strategy. For instance, they can inform your brand guidelines which in turn help develop the look of the website, product packaging, typefaces and more. Finally, your brand character provides a recognisable and relatable face to your brand that fosters loyalty and turns customers into advocates.
How to Develop a Brand Character
There are several steps to creating a strong brand character, both through the planning and delivery phases. We’ve outlined them below:
- The first step is to understand and define the values you want your brand character to convey. This means determining what your brand stands for, your brand personality, your core values, and how you want the public to react to your character. You may have more than a single character can realistically portray, so select 2-4 core values.
- Now you can start brainstorming the specific personality traits you want your character to portray, and start the design process. There’s no right or wrong here, and you can use photos, graphics, animations, videos and anything else you can think of. The main thing is that they’re appealing and memorable.
- Gather feedback from other members of your organisation to ensure complete buy-in. After this, create a plan to update any assets and create your marketing collateral for launch. Amend your brand guidelines as necessary.
- Use your brand character across all your marketing materials and channels moving forward. It’s also a good idea to monitor the reaction to your character from your customers to potentially incorporate any feedback into future iterations.
Many organisations benefit from a strong brand character that portrays their values and builds a connection with their audience. They also find that it gives them a competitive advantage.
After all, there are often multiple companies within an industry that do the same thing, but a brand character is truly unique to just one. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help create your brand character and strengthen your brand identity.