Brand Personality Tips for Startups and Small Business Owners

Brand Personality Tips for Startups and Small Business Owners

According to, brand personality is a key component of every brand because the perceived personality of a brand attracts consumers to it. People innately want to associate themselves with brands that they believe will not only deliver the tangible results and benefits they need but the emotional benefits they want as well.

 In my blog on strong corporate branding, I have also showed that it is important to have a strong brand, because a strong brand ensures that more products are sold and at a higher price, that the choice is easier for a customer and that a large company is much easier to manage.

This blog will explain what brand personality is, the five basic underlying dimensions of traits, the five main types of brand personalities and associated traits, how to implement a brand personality strategy and four things to consider if you are thinking of developing an online personality for your small business brand.

“Products are made in factories, brands in people’s minds” (Walter Landor)

‘Brand Personality Tips for Startups & Small Business Owners.’ In this blog, I explain what brand personality is. I also give the 5 basic underlying dimensions of traits and the 5 main types of brand personalities. I list how to implement a brand personality strategy and mention 4 things to consider if you are thinking of developing an online personality for your small business brand. Read it here:

What is a brand personality?

According to Business Dictionary, brand personality is human traits or characteristics associated with a specific brand name. Common characteristics or traits represented include uniqueness, sincerity, intellectualism, competence, excitement, and sophistication. The brand personalities give consumers something with which they can relate, effectively increasing brand awareness and popularity.

Brian Monger notes that as social media channels have increased, so has the need to communicate simultaneously.  To market effectively, companies need a consistent, compelling brand personality. He feels it is better to think of a brand’s personality image as encompassing all the associations that a consumer has for that brand. These are all the thoughts, feelings, and imagery mentally linked to that brand in the consumer’s memory. Brand personality associations create a composite image of a brand that is not very different from the image that we have of other people: they make us think of a brand as if it were a person.  Just as a person will have certain characteristics that define his or her personality, so will a brand.

What are the five basic underlying dimensions of traits?

Monger says that while people could potentially be measured on infinite trait adjectives, personality researchers have generally reduced the various adjectives to five basic underlying dimensions or factors:

  1. Extraversion/introversion (example adjectives: adventurous-cautious, sociable-reclusive)
  2. Agreeableness (examples: good-natured-irritable; gentle-headstrong)
  3. Conscientiousness (examples: responsible-undependable; tidy-careless)
  4. Emotional stability (composed-excitable; calm-anxious)
  5. Culture (artistically-sensitive-insensitive; intellectual-unreflective; refined-crude; imaginative-simple)

What are the five main types of brand personalities?

There are five main types of brand personalities: excitement, sincerity, ruggedness, competence and sophistication. Customers are more likely to purchase a brand if its personality is similar to their own. Examples of traits for the different types of brand personalities:

  1. Excitement: carefree, spirited, youthful
  2. Sincerity: genuine, kind, family-oriented, thoughtful
  3. Ruggedness: rough, tough, outdoors, athletic
  4. Competence: successful, accomplished, influential, a leader
  5. Sophistication: elegant, prestigious, pretentious

A brand could acquire such a personality profile through advertising. In addition to being characterized on these personality traits, brand personalities (like human personalities) imply associated feelings.  Further, a brand’s personality also creates an association of that brand with certain important life values.

How can a startup or small business owner implement a brand personality strategy?

Monger gives three steps to implement a brand personality strategy:

  1. researching the symbolic associations that currently exist with the product category and competitive brands,
  2. deciding which brand personality is going to be of greatest value with the target consumer segment, and
  3. executing the desired brand personality strategy (creating, enhancing, or modifying the brand’s personality).

You can find more information about this in his blog. Big Brand System also offers a free and quick exercise to uncover your brand personality, so you can use this style in all your marketing efforts.

Developing an online personality for your small business brand?

On, Lois Geller talks about a small company in NYC that needed her help. Her assignment was to build a website with brand personality. This case study gives great insight into how you can think out of the box and build an exceptional brand personality, even if your product or service is not so unique. At the end, she lists four questions to keep in mind when developing an online personality for your small business brand:

  1. Does your brand have a personality now? Does it look like most of the companies in the category, or is it unique?
  2. Do you show people in your photos? People like to look at other people (not stock shots).
  3. Does your copy sound down to earth or is it full of “corporatese” that is really just a company talking to itself?
  4. Do you sound like a friendly brand? Friendly works.


A strong brand and thus a strong brand personality are necessary to keep the sales of your products or services going. In the communications with your (potential) customers, you need to have one clear message, one that does not only consist of words. This message should make the (potential) customer get an emotional connection with your brand, which does not happen overnight. Perseverance and an in-depth look at your company or startup are required. I hope that I have given you food for thought and tips to get started. If you have come up with a branding and/or marketing strategy and you need help with translations into Dutch or English as a result, BudgetVertalingOnline is happy to help!

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