#7 / diving deep into brand strategy: your brand story and brand personality

Today we are looking at Brand Personality - that is the tone of your brand, the way you are and how you communicate and we will also work on the Brand Story - that is the supportive narrative that explains how you ended up doing what you are doing.


Let’s start with the brand story, simply because it sets the tone for a lot of things related to the brand.

Brand Story

Almost always when I am working with a client, I ask them to tell me their story. This helps the person focus on their trajectory, how did they get there and how can their story be used to support their message and their brand.

Why do I think an authentic story is relevant? Sometimes we think (raise your hands!) that our story needs to be full of extreme details, that it needs to be exotic, outlandish so that it generates interests. Actually, it needs to be authentic and ring true to yourself and your values (or your brand’s) and told in an interesting way.

Oftentimes, whilst looking at the brand story we find some a key piece that becomes one of the most important attributes for your brand’s positioning. We find a specific experience that marks our journey: how about this woman who started Milk Bar because of her love of baking? Or the candid story of this woman who was obsessed with fitness and clothing and went on to create Outdoor Voices?

Sometimes certain things that marked us during our childhood later came back to claim a spot in our lives. I encourage you to keep digging deep into your story and really connecting with what feels good, recognizing what your intuition and your gut are telling you, because those are the important elements that most likely will become part of your life and your brand strategy.

In the most strict of definitions, the brand story can be about a personal brand, or a product or a service that you as a company are offering.

It answer questions like: How did you get here? What was the trajectory that got you to do what you are doing? Or what experience led you to develop this product or service?

When we tell our story we want to keep these criteria in mind:

  • Authenticity - A signature story is rooted in reality. No matter how boring or insignificant you think it is, there is always greatness in a legitimate story.

  • Serendipity - a well told brand story illustrates how your brand came to being in part though fate, fortune, coincidence.

  • Specifics - A brand story gives you the opportunity to highlight specific aspects of your brand through example, rather than a declaration.

We want to start drafting a narrative for how your brand arrived to this point. We want to start looking for those authentic and meaningful connections with your audience.

Now, don’t try to write the story of your brand in a way that is going to be published (yet.). We want to get all the facts out first and start making associations that are valid and relevant for the positioning of the brand and that will be meaningful for the target audience.

Later on you will start incorporating your brand personality in to the content that will accompany your brand.

This is how Jen Hope defines brand story: It is a cohesive narrative that encompasses the facts and feelings that are created by your brand (or business, if you prefer). Unlike traditional advertising, which is about showing and telling about your brand, a story must inspire an emotional reaction.

The beauty of storytelling is that it allows us to connect with the reader and with our audience in a way that data and very rational information cannot and it highlights your contribution and competencies in a candid way.

“A complete story that shows not only what a brand does, but also how they do it. It covers the identity, values, and personality of the brand. It is a point of differentiation that provides a foundation for a brand to build off. This is where many consumers find emotional benefits, and it serves as a tool to build brand personality.” Moxie Sozo.

Brand Personality

When we talk about the personality of a brand we look at those distinct characteristics that will make possible for a brand to engage with its audience at an emotional level. It entails the character, disposition, outlook and mood of a brand and provides a base for defining the visual elements of your brand identity.

Failing to articulate the brand tone and temperament prior any design exercise or even communication can lead to brand identity choices that are inconsistent or even harmful to your overall brand. A clear knowledge of your brand personality can make the choosing of any branding elements a much smoother and successful process.

Ok, so how do we do this? Like with anything (or mostly!) in strategy, there is a process and a method and a lot of listening.

We start big, I usually start with a list of personality traits, a lot of them. I look at what resonate with you and why.

Slowly we start narrowing down the list and probing. Does this feel right? Is this relevant? Is it engaging? Why?

Ultimately I want you and your brand to own those personality traits and spread them in everything that your brand touches and interacts with. We want them reflected in your choice of logo, typography, colors, material and even in your choice of words. Your brand voice and tone will be influenced by those personality traits and it will help you stay consistent all across the board.

→ I am hoping this process is feeling interesting for you as you develop or strengthen your brand. Please go back and look at the previous posts so that the strategy starts taking shape as a whole. The next newsletter will touch on the brand landscape and we will look into doing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

It’s getting REAL!


Are you interested in attending a Brand Strategy workshop with me?

As I detail this process for you, I keep being asked about the option of working directly with you, either on a physical or through online session. I am currently preparing a session for January 2019 at The Collective Seattle! if you are interested in hearing more about it please fill in the form below and I will make sure you get the information early!

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