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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