I have helped organizations position their brands through consensus building brand positioning workshops since the mid-1990s. As a part of that process, I have the workshop participants (mostly organizational leaders) select the brand personality attributes for which they want their brands to stand.
The organizations with which I have worked span a wide range of sizes and industries. They include manufacturing companies, consumer products companies, aging services firms, wealth management firms, health care organizations, real estate investment trusts, municipalities, museums, environmental conservation organizations, public service organizations, professional associations and many others.
I thought it would be interesting to identify the most popular personality attributes across all of these organizations.
Following are the most popular personality attributes (in decreasing order of popularity):
• Innovative (45%)
• Professional (41%)
• Responsive (36%)
• Caring (32%)
• Reliable (27%)
• Customer focused (27%)
• Trustworthy (23%)
• Service oriented (18%)
Others with frequent mentions:
• Easy to work with
• High quality
Slightly unusual personality attributes:
• Heroic and proud (a watch brand)
• Light-hearted (an advertising agency)
• Low key, not glitzy (a wealth management firm)
• Non-confrontational (an environmental conservation organization)
• Servant leader (a local United Way agency)
Overall, my clients have used 140 different words and phrases to describe their brands’ personalities. Each brand describes itself using between 6 and 12 words or phrases, with the average brand using 9 words or phrases.
We help brand decision makers arrive at a set of intended brand personality attributes in the following way. First, we survey target customers, workshop participants and other brand stakeholders about the brand’s personality using projective techniques. Then, in the workshop itself, we compile that list of brand personality attributes to stimulate discussion and decisions about the ideal brand personality.
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"I regard the First Edition of Brad Van Auken's Brand Aid (2003) to be the best and most practical book on branding I have read. Hence, I was very keen to get the updated Second Edition to see if he could match my high expectations following the success of the first. I am delighted to report that this edition is again loaded with highly practical content that has been updated to reflect the changes in customer behavior, digital media and a host of other subjects including brand architecture. Another feature that I like are his generous use of user-friendly checklists and never talking over the heads of readers who may not have MBAs. Importantly, Van Auken is never self serving, like too many authors of marketing-branding books. This is a book, like the first, that you will always keep close at hand and read over and over again." Amazon.com customer
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