Often, the very nature of a product and the general characteristics of the market it is targeting will color a brand’s personality from the get go. Sometimes personality is inherent in the first inklings of the brand (e.g., a toy company is destined to create a personality that will appeal to kids). But sometimes, as with humans, personality traits do not emerge until later. Remarkable personalities can bubble up during the strategic planning process. The words you use to talk about your brand will begin to attach personality traits.
Never underestimate the power of a likable personality. If you cannot be likable, be compelling.
But do not try to create a personality that appeals to everybody. Appealing to everybody is almost certain to appeal to nobody. Distinctive brand personalities are the ones that succeed out there in the fiercely competitive world of brands. When shaping your personality, it is more important to focus primarily on your unique traits; in other words, the traits that no one else in your category has.
Modify an entire brand category’s personality if you need to. Beer brands, for example, have increased female beer consumption by making beer seem less masculine. Building products brands often appeal to the do-it-yourself market, suggesting that you don’t have to be a pro to use their products successfully—anyone can do it. Software developers use this gambit, as well.
One thing to always remember about brand personality is that it shines through whether you intend for it to or not. The same goes for human personality! So intend it. Control it. Hone it. Project a unique personality on purpose.
One final caveat: If you do not give your brand a personality, customers will give you one: Wallflower. And they will walk right by without stopping to engage in conversation.