Can a Brand Have a Personality?
A person has a personality and intelligence.
A brand has a persona. And no intelligence of any kind.
Personality is three-dimensional. Personalities are rich, complex, contradictory, unpredictable and confusing. Personalities are entirely too uncontrollable and unreliable to be a brand. Anyone who says otherwise is deeply confused.
A persona – on the other hand – is two-dimensional, not complex and easy to control. Brands need a persona.
The best brand personae inspire us and make us feel a sense of kinship with them, just like a good friend would do.
The best brands provoke a deep emotional connection in us, just like a good friend would do.
The best brands delight us, surprise us and are there for us when we need them, just like a good friend would do.
Can a Brand Have Emotional Intelligence?
But a brand isn’t – and can’t be – a real person.
Real people are too mercurial. Real people are too unreliable. Real people are too complicated. Real people have their own real personality issues.
A brand persona – by contrast – doesn’t suffer any of the constraints of being real. A brand persona is controllable, simple and not limited by biology.
A well-crafted and well-managed brand makes you promises and then fulfills those promises. Just like a good friend would do.
Consider the brand persona known as “Alice Cooper”, (pictured above.)
You know exactly what to expect from “Alice Cooper.” And “Alice Cooper” delivers on that promise. And has done so consistently for over 40 years.
“Alice Cooper” is a powerful brand persona that is easy to describe and simple to understand.
Personality or Persona?
A great brand will inspire your loyalty and ask for your devotion.
But you can never owe loyalty and devotion to a brand like you do to a real friend.
The relationship between a person and a brand is similar to the relationship between people, but it isn’t the same. Emotional intelligence is something that works between people.
And a brand is not a person.
(I answered this question on Quora originally. You can see the original text here.)