the wrong sea - defining your business personality


Business Personality? Yes, it’s a real thing. Your business does indeed have a personality; it’s part of your brand. It’s conveyed in everything you do to present yourself to the world. Even if you choose to ignore it, your business will still convey some kind of personality anyway – like confused, messy, or downright boring. Want that? I thought not.
(And please note – this is different to your Brand Identity, which is all the elements like colours, fonts and imagery that you use in your brand. Personality and Identity work hand in hand, so read on.)

You need to take control of that personality and present a cohesive, positive self to the world because it’s tied to how you want your customer to feel – i.e. their emotional response to your brand. And once you’ve figured out what your personality is, you can move on to choosing the visual aspects of your branding that confirm and project that same personality – so it’s kind of important to get your personality sorted out first! Personality also helps you decide the sort of tone or voice you should use when you’re talking to your customers.


Figuring out your #BrandPersonality is essential to figuring out the visual aspects of your brand. Click To Tweet


Defining your BP is not a new idea, and it does depend a little on the country you’re targeting. But some qualities you might want to focus on as the underlying driver of that personality include sincerity, excitement, competence/skill, sophistication, or ruggedness/durability. Something else to keep in mind is that usually (but not always), your brand’s characteristics reflect the characteristics of your target customers – for the exact reason of being immediately relevant to them; your customers can easily relate to your brand.

Figuring out this personality is all about YOUR business, so think what personality words first come to mind when you’re thinking about your brand. How would you describe your business when meeting someone for the first time?

First of all, you can decide whether it’s traditional or modern. Then, think about other identifiers, such as male or female, an age group, and general terms such as happy or serious.

NOW comes the real bit – list down everything you want your business to project – choose words like sophisticated, socially responsible, friendly, boisterous, classic, serious, offbeat, high-tech/geeky, and more. (If you’re struggling with coming up with words, here’s a list of more than 800).

Once you have a list, project those qualities onto an imaginary person – and then think about how they would speak to your customers. Would they be offering serious technical advice, or would they be inviting you on a fun adventure? Would they be offering you ideas and encouraging personal expression, or would they be offering a solid, trustworthy structure for you to work within? Are they giving you a glimpse of strength or whimsy? Keep on listing those words down!



If your #brand was a person, what would they be like? And what would they say to you? Click To Tweet


Awesome! Now you’ve got a list of words to describe your business personality, you can use them to help you decide on fonts, colours and imagery to go with your brand (I’ll go through that in more detail next post, using real examples). You can use them in other ways too – when you’re writing your “About” page, or your product descriptions for instance. But we’ll get onto that in the next post too.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of other fabulous resources for you to check out to help you figure out your Brand Personality.

  • BigBrandSystem has got a great quiz to help you decide where your personality lies on the spectrum.
  • 99designs has got some excellently fun games to help you decide what your personality is.
  • And A List Apart has some wonderful case studies (written by one of the guys from MailChimp), so you can see how big businesses put together their personalities! He goes right back to Gutenburg in the 15thC and the invention of moveable type – it’s quite fascinating.


Next week, I’ll be pulling apart a couple of beautiful brands to see exactly who they are and what they’re saying, so stay tuned!


Do you have ANY questions about how to figure out your brand’s personality, or how it can translate into everything else – your writing style, your font choices, your colours….?  If you do, pop your questions in the comments below. Do it! You never know who else might be wondering exactly the same thing but be too shy to ask.

Let’s help each other!

Julie x