• Sarah Macpherson

Let's talk brand personality

At the core of any legendary brand is a committed brand personality seeping into the customer experience at every turn. This maxim is especially sacred in the era of digitally native Direct-to-Consumer brands who live and die by consumer opinion without the cushioning of traditional distribution advantages. To thrive in the online D2C space, brands must overcome novel retail hurdles, such as conveying an engaging, humanized experience through a disembodied E-Commerce platform. Fundamental to creating an appealing digitally-native customer experience is a brand personality that permeates all aspects of the online shopping experience and establishes emotional connection throughout. Industry knockout, Glossier, works tirelessly to cultivate an extremely curated effortlessly-minimal glam and millennial-pink aesthetic. Without this cult-following magnetism, Glossier never would have seen its meteoric rise from makeup blog to unicorn in a handful of years. Pivotal to the Glossier strategy is a well-articulated brand personality and a veritable army of consumers publicly “interpreting” the brand and imbuing it with an element of humanity. The development and evangelizing of a full-fledged brand personality is the focal point of Glossier’s strategy, guiding operations throughout the organization.

Well executed brand personality and humanization has tangible economic benefits to a brand and is increasingly demanded by consumers. Forrester, in collaboration with Braze, found that brands that invested heavily in humanizing customer/brand interactions reaped benefits, posting 26% greater average purchase size, 18% greater customer loyalty, and 18% greater profitability per good sold. Additionally, brands that invest more in humanizing their brand see disproportionately greater returns than brands with less investment. Studying customer behavior, Forrester found that customers were 1.7x more likely to purchase from a brand that emphasizes human connection and 1.9x more likely to recommend the brand to others. Achieving brand humanity, however, is a moving target as consumer standards for brand humanity grow and shift year after year, designating brand humanity an ongoing task at the forefront of any shrewd marketer’s mind.

Implementing an effective brand personality requires a deep understanding of your audience. For many consumers, brand personality exists as a vehicle to perpetuate their own self-image with brand loyalty viewed as an extension of self-expression. Customers shop with their own personal brand in mind and support stores that are aligned with their concept of self, either in reality or aspirationally. Congruency between a customer’s perceived personality and a brand’s personality leads to stronger brand and product affinity over time. For digitally-native D2C brands, establishing a brand personality and, even more crucially, the right brand personality to appeal to their audience is of vital importance. The question remains, how do digitally-native D2C brands determine their brand personality, and how did they know it would be effective? Surely serendipity is not the answer. Successful brands study their target audience with extreme care, understanding the values and personality traits that would render a psychological fit between company and consumer. Not an exercise to be taken lightly, crafting a winning brand personality requires resources for market research and prodigious skill to construct an appealing and complementary personality.

Developing and executing a brand personality is a costly, but necessary exercise. Pinpoint helps small and growing D2C brands with this process with a free Shopify app that reveals customer personality and marketing insights in an interactive dashboard. The Shopper Personality app condenses months of research into 24 hours and huge expenditure into a free app, allowing small D2C brands to focus on delighting customers rather than the burden of implementing a brand personality. The D2C space is overflowing compelling brand personalities; here’s a list of customer/brand personality combinations inspired by successful D2C brands to get you thinking:

  • Poised, conscientious, aesthetic: consider an elegant, simple visual and communication strategy like Everlane

  • Care free, good tempered, gregarious: consider a fun-loving, informal brand personality like Chubbies

  • Self-disciplined, good-tempered, grounded: consider a sophisticated, good humored brand personality like Dollar Shave Club

  • Adventurous, aesthetic, active: consider a modern but playful brand personality like Outdoor Voices

Try the app for free here.