What’s your brand’s personality? Does the colour match up?

At Baker Marketing we spend time with our clients identifying who their key target markets are so we can get a handle on the needs of their most profitable customers.

Once we uncover how the business can address their needs better, they’re on the way to providing more value, which tends to increase sales and profitability.

Then we work out what messages a business should be communicating to those key customers in order to explain their value proposition and encourage the customer to take action

A good way to cross-check whether the messaging is right is to imagine how a member of that key target market would react. And it helps to give that fictional person a name and profile so we can visualise them. We try to make this very specific, e.g.

Gary is a 36 year old tradesman who drives a ute and lives in Payneham. He loves beer and footy but also likes to dress up and go out for dinner sometimes.
Shirley is a 65 year old ex-govermment employee who recently retired and moved into a unit with her husband. She has three cats.
Jimmy is a 12 year old boy who plays soccer and cricket for his school and loves computer games. He can’t wait for the new Star Wars.

Very often we meet businesses, some large and some small, who don’t really consider their customers or prospects in this way. Once they do, how they talk to their customers improves. A lot of effort goes into crafting great messages in written form, but more often than not it isn’t just the words that need attention, but the images a business uses too.

When consumers are looking for a brand or business to provide a product or service they visualise what that business should look like, and the brand’s personality is what is often conveyed visually.

And the most important image a business uses is the brand itself, which can be a combination of its logo, typefaces, the images on its website and marketing collateral, the clothes the staff wear, packaging, and more.

Colour is (arguably) the most important ingredient in all of these!

Although it’s possible, we don’t normally try to categorise our target markets with detailed personality profiling, and it’s not possible to use a conventional personality test on a brand.

But we can think about a brand’s personality traits using a framework such as the one proposed by Jennifer Aaker.

Her 5 main Dimensions of Brand Personality and their traits are:

  • Sincerity – domestic, honest, genuine, cheerful
  • Excitement – daring, spirited, imaginative, up-to-date
  • Competence – reliable, responsible, dependable, efficient
  • Sophistication – glamourous, pretentious, charming, romantic
  • Ruggedness – tough, strong, outdoorsy, rugged.

We know anecdotally about the sorts of messages colours tend to convey. But we need to bear in mind that the meaning any particular person gets from a colour depends on a multitude of factors such as age and gender, personal preferences, upbringing, and cultural differences.

I tried combining the conventional wisdom about colours and their meanings and visually cross-reference that with Aaker’s Dimensions of Brand Personality and the result is the “Brand Colour Matrix” below:

Brand Colour Matrix

The key to getting the colour of a new or refreshed brand right isn’t necessarily solved by the matrix above, but it can help guide thinking.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your brand and imagery fits your brand’s personality AND the consumer’s expectations about the sort of brand they want to use AND the product category or categories you are offering.

With all this is mind, ask yourself… Does our brand work as well as it could?

If it doesn’t, give us a call!