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I was thinking about what makes the largest brands so great. And I came to a conclusion that the best companies in the world all have these three factors going for them:

  1. They understand and represent their target market
  2. Their brand has personality
  3. They are consistent in all aspects of their brand

Understanding your target market

This is one of the first things that you learn in marketing. Your target market is the most important thing going for you. If you don’t understand your consumers, how are you going to sell to them? The best brands know how old their target market is, how much disposable income they have, what kind of activities they like, what their interests are, what kind of products/ services they like, their personalities, where they live, where they go, etc. Knowing this information will allow your brand to be focused. It will allow you to reach your target market more efficiently, with better results.

Personality

This is what I really love about branding. Brands have personalities. They tell stories. They represent more than just logos and words. Personality is what makes a brand great, what makes it stand out from everyone else.

Let’s say you were standing in a circle of people, and you were asking them about who they are, and what they do. The first person answers you in a very monotone voice, has no personality or emotion whatsoever. You would find him boring. So you make your way across the circle, and you notice that everyone has the same emotion, the same story, the same monotone voice. You would be bored out of your mind.

Now, you reach the last person. She is loud, outspoken, and kind of crazy. She is telling you about all of her wild adventures, and displaying all of her emotions with hand gestures. She is excited about telling you her stories, and you are excited to listen. She stands out. This applies to companies as well. There are thousands of companies out there that do the exact same as everyone else. Their stories are the same, and frankly it makes it boring for consumers.

Brands need individual personalities so they can stand out. One of my favourite activities for deciding a company’s brand is that of the brand persona. If your company was a person, who would they be? What would they be like? What kind of personality would they have? What are their interests? Answer these questions about your brand. This will help you position your brand, and give direction to what you want your brand to represent.

Consistency

I’ve learned in my Consumer Behaviour courses that a consumer has a self-identity. And the products or services that they choose are an extension of that self-identity. It represents what they like, and who they are. This is where consistency comes in. It is important for a brand personality to be consistent with its target market. Let’s say you were offering a service to a higher-income class. However, your service is very low cost, and has a personality that feels ‘cheap’.

This creates inconsistency between the brand personality and the target market, which will most likely result in failure. The brand personality doesn’t match the same personality as the target market. And since a product/ service is an extension of self-identity, the target market will not purchase it if it doesn’t match.

Great brands understand the importance of consistency. Their brand personality matches the personality of their consumers seamlessly. And they are consistent every time. A brand like Mercedes doesn’t deviate away from its personality. Their product, quality, communications mix, pricing, etc., all reflect the personality that they created for the brand, all the time.

Luxury Brand Example

Let’s look at this advertisement for Chanel.

This Image is from Chanel.com

It represents everything that I was mentioning in this post. You can tell by the look of the ad what market Chanel is trying to attract: Young, trendy, fashionable women with high disposable income. The ad shows the brand personality: It’s sexy, it looks expensive, it’s a bit mysterious. And this is 100% consistent with the target market. It is also consistent across all of their ads, products, pricing, etc. Chanel is a good example of a company that understands luxury branding.

What kind of personality does your brand have? Is it consistent with your target market? Is it consistent across all of your marketing activities?

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