Brand Image vs. Brand Personality
By Stephen Reed
Businesses and their brands are more like people than they might appear at first, especially when it comes to matters of perception. It’s important to understand this right at the time that you begin building your business and to keep it in mind through each day that you help it evolve. There’s a lot that perception achieves. One of the first aspects that founders and marketers need to understand is that they have two forms of perception to build and manage, brand personality and brand image. This is more than fancy wordplay. There is a significant and relevant difference, and the more aware you are of it, the more surefooted your business will be in everything it does.
It’s No Different Than It Is With People
People possess different personalities and carry around different kinds of image, as well. Your personality is the way you actually are; it is the way you see yourself. It is the sum of your hopes and feelings, the way you deal with life and the way you rise to challenge. Your image, on the other hand, is the way others see you. What they see may or may not bear a relation of any kind to the truth of who you really are. When you’re down and out, people may hold an image of you as a loser. When you win, people are bound to see wonderful things in you and create positive images of you in their minds. Whatever others may think of you, to truly know who you are, to know your own personality, is what helps you move toward success. It’s the only way to not lose your way through life.
It’s The Same For Your Business
The personality of a brand rises from the way the entrepreneurs will conduct and carry out their business. If they love to be generous and hold dreams of making a difference in the world and allow these qualities to reflect in the way they do business, then, the personality of their brand is likely to hold these wonderful qualities. The image of the brand, on the other hand, may or may not have anything to do with these qualities. It may be built to be entirely different from advertising and public perception. The marketing department, for example, may believe that to promote analytical precision in the business is likely to bore the customer base and move toward something entirely different. Reality does not need to have any bearing on image.
As an example, Uber, the transportation network, enjoys perception in the public of world beating innovation, fairness, of people making quick money, and of being a scrappy upstart that upsets the established order. With a number of recent stories in the press about the hyper aggressive corporate culture at Uber: the sexual harassment, the psychological manipulation of drivers, the dashcam video showing the founder Kalanick talking down to an Uber driver and the gray balling method used to throw government regulators off, it begins to appear that the company’s personality is a very different thing. It appears to be one of cutthroat competition, arrogance, a lack of sensitivity to workers, and a desire to win at any cost. Uber, in other words, has successfully managed to form an image for public consumption that’s quite different from what it really is.
It can help every business learn about the difference between image and personality through a look at such businesses.
What Is Your Brand’s Personality?
Why do you need a personality for your business, you may find yourself asking. Here, again, the answer is easy to come by when you try to see your business as a person. A business needs a personality for the same reason that a person does: as well-defined as an internal compass that offers guidance through every step in life. Just as a vapid person with no personality is likely to lose his way through life, a business will likely make more missteps than winning moves when it doesn’t have a real personality to give it purpose and direction.
When your business has a strong personality, it’s something that can inform the brand image, as well. All that you would need advertising agencies for would be to translate such personality into image building advertising. Many businesses attempt to simply pick an image out of thin air. Translating real personality into a marketing image, however, can produce results that are much cooler, deeper and more relatable. If you’ve tried hard to build your business, everything that you’ve been through is your brand’s personality, and it should be a part of your image because everyone likes a fighter. You only need to find a way to make it cool. That’s the job of the advertiser.
You need to know that every business needs an internal compass to help it find its way. The sooner you decide what kind of personality your business possesses, the more successful you’ll be.
Stephan Reed is a digital marketing partner for Fechtor Advertising, a branding and advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio.