What is Brand Personality?
Brand personality is a combination of the various elements that combine to make you stand out from the crowd. It includes what you say and how you say it, the choice of words and the language you use in all of your content including your emails, blog posts, ads and marketing messages.
Wikipedia defines brand personality as
…a set of human and emotional attributes that are associated with a particular company or brand.
This simply means that a brand is associated with characteristics that are traditionally associated with a human being. In other words, your brand personality is the human element of your freelance business.
Your brand personality is what helps you stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. It is what makes your marketing messages cut through the noise when you post a tweet or status update.
As a freelancer, before you start communicating with your audience, you should have a crystal clear picture of how you want to be perceived by your audience. As your freelancing business starts to grow and with the level of competition in the marketplace, it’s important to invest in your brand in order to stand out and make your presence felt.
And when your brand voice is consistent in your content and the way that you communicate, you’ll be much more attractive to your target audience.
“People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”
The Difference Between Voice and Tone
It is important to understand the difference between voice and tone.
Your brand voice consists of the language, phrases, words and tone that you use to communicate who you are and what you stand for. It plays a key role in ensuring that your marketing message stands out from your competitors. Without a distinctive voice, your content is going to get drowned out by the noise in a very competitive marketplace.
Your tone of voice typically represents a manner of speaking that reflects your brand personality. It can be serious, joyful, humorous, formal, pessimistic, optimistic, etc. While your brand voice should be consistent and never change, your tone can be adjusted according to the context of your message, who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about.
For example, if you’re posting a message about a discount for your copywriting services, you can use a tone that is cheerful, light-hearted or breezy. However, you’d use a more serious tone when apologizing to customers for a late delivery or invoicing error.
Once you have clearly defined your brand personality, you can start focusing on describing the tone of voice for all of your content.
Why Brand Personality Matters
Your ideal clients will be more open to building relationships with you if your brand voice is unique and distinctive from your competitors in the marketplace.
The individual qualities that make you unique should be imbued with your brand personality. For example, if you market yourself as being original and creative, then every aspect of your personal brand should reflect this.
Defining Your Brand Personality
Your freelance brand needs to have a unique personality in order to stand out and make a connection with your ideal prospects. In other words, it would be impossible for your prospects to differentiate you from the competition if you don’t have a unique brand personality.
Here are the steps you need to take to define your brand personality and the different elements of your brand that you want to communicate to people:
Step one: Perform customer research
It is really important to have a clear understanding of your ideal clients. This includes their demographics, goals, problems, pain points, fears, the language they use, their likes and dislikes, etc.
In addition, you need to understand the emotional triggers that motivate those people to buy. Find out what it is that drives them to make their purchases and how your offerings fit into this overall picture.
Step two: Identify your core values
It is important to know what your core values so that you can reflect these in every aspect of your content . Your core values are an essential part of the consistency of your brand, and customers need to see and feel them in the way that you communicate with your audience.
Examples of core values you might have:
- Top of the line customer service
- Commitment to a high quality of service
- Passion for excellence
- Trust and accountability
Your values can also include anything you might feel strongly about, and that drives all of your freelance business decisions.
When identifying your values, remember that strong core values have to be constant, practical, sustainable, motivating, personal and applicable. They shouldn’t be abstract concepts or impossible ideals.
Step three: Describe your brand’s personality
Start by brainstorming a huge list of adjectives that describe who you are as a freelancer. Look at the buyer personas that you’ve established for your brand, and consider how you can portray yourself in a way that they would find appealing. Pick adjectives that describe your freelance brand as an actual human being that you know very well.
A good way to brainstorm is to think of emotive words or phrases that describe how you want your clients to feel when they encounter buy your services.
For example, if your brand personality is caring, it’s about your clients feeling that you care about them personally. If you describe your brand as empowering, it might be that your clients feel that your freelance business can help them achieve new things they weren’t able to before.
Here are examples of adjectives you can use to brainstorm the words you’ll use to describe your brand personality:
- Breezy: bubbly, cheerful, active, airy, youthful, upbeat, jazzy, lively, vibrant, energetic.
- Creative: outlandish, weird, eccentric, whimsical, insightful, bright, oddball, avant-garde, peculiar, quirky, artsy, imaginative, judicious, profound, unconventional.
- Passionate: confident, daring, bold, audacious, gallant, inspirational, courageous, fiery, devoted, ardent, emotional, heroic.
- Eco-friendly: organic, charming, natural, green, modest, open, honest, sincere, free-spirited, realistic.
- Sociable: warm, caring, friendly, optimistic, likeable, gracious, approachable, open, easy-going, informal, accessible, agreeable, outgoing, charming.
- Formal: professional, traditional, authoritative, tactful, pragmatic, rational, educated, hardworking, erudite, conscientious, scrupulous.
- Helpful: pleasant, agreeable, altruistic, genuine, sincere, dedicated, selfless, open, approachable, easy-going, personal.
- Fun: audacious, amazing, affable, pleasant, personable, engaging, spirited, cheerful, happy, light-hearted, bright, effervescent.
Once you have a large list of descriptive words and adjectives, start narrowing it down to the top three that define your personality as a brand. Choose the words or short phrases that really sound like you, but which also reflect the research you’ve done on your clients and the core values that you’ve just defined.
In other words, which of those words most accurately reflect the feelings your clients already report experiencing and which ones reflect the way you want your clients to feel about your brand.
Keep narrowing down and prioritizing your list until you’ve identified the top three adjectives or short phrases that are the most important feelings you want to evoke in your clients. These are going to form the initial foundation for defining the specifics of your brand voice and tone.
Step four: Identify your differentiators
Now that you know the core values and personality you wish to communicate to your clients and prospects, you need to find a way to make your brand voice unique and set it apart from the competitors in your field.
From all of your data and ideas, what are the distinct things that make your freelancing business different from others? Make a list that describes, point by point, what the difference is. This is where the research you’ve done on your competitors is going to be useful. For each core value or personality keyword you identify, describe how you differ from your competitors.
You can incorporate your key differentiators into the tone and language of your content in order to cut through the noise of all the businesses in your space. Your aim should be to show that you’re a unique brand.
Your audience, values, personality and differentiators will help you determine the voice you’re going to use in all of your content.
Consider the following examples:
If you’re an IT freelancer, you will want to be seen as having a personality that is associated with being successful, responsible, reliable, efficient, helpful, hands-on, and professional. You may want to avoid using language with a lot of jargon because you don’t want to come across as having a sense of superiority that can put people off.
If you offer SEO services, you’ll want your personality to be associated with being authoritative, knowledgeable, reliable, competent, successful and influential. You’ll appeal to people who are looking to identify with an authoritative brand that they can learn from, so your entire social presence will be built around this.
Learning the Language of Your Target Audience
If you want to win over your target audience, you need to understand how they speak so that you can use language that is familiar to them and match their tone in the content you write for them. Depending on your business and who your audience is, this could be simple, wordy, complex, or full of jargon.
For example, if your target market are millennials, it makes sense to use language that’s more conversational and cute because that is what they are likely to respond to. On the other hand, if you’re going to be selling insurance to 40 to 50 year olds, you’ll want to use more formal and professional language.
Using the same language that your ideal clients use is important because your audience should be able to relate to you. The specific language will depend on the age group that you are targeting, the profession and interest. If the keywords you use to optimize your profile do not match the terms that your target customer use in the way that they communicate, they will not find you.
For example, if you’re a plastic surgeon and are using words like rhinoplasty to optimize your website or social media profiles but your target customers are using nose job or facelift to search for your services, they will not find you in their search.
To understand the language of your target audience, start by listening to the language used by your current customers in their posts. Pay close attention to the words people use when they’re having conversations about products and services in your niche.
Note things like formality, use of slang/swearing, technical jargon, humour and active vs passive voice. Make note of the language they use to ask and answer questions. You can also search for trending hash tags related to your keywords on Twitter. Pay attention to the language used in these tweets to get a feel for relevant topics, words and phrases.
How to identify these keywords?
- Listen to your target community. To get the insights you need, research your target audience. You need to identify the language, attributes and keywords that are most familiar to them so that you can associate those attributes with your brand. This is important if you want your brand to relate to that audience.
- Identify your most successful competitors. How do they communicate with their audience? Essentially, you have the same audience, so you can get some deep insights that you can apply to your own audience. You need to mirror the way your competitors communicate with the target audience.
- Mirror the way your target audience communicates, and incorporate any cultural messages or language into your content strategy. You need to meet them halfway. If you’re targeting them, you need to mirror the way they speak or they will not relate to you.
Should you use emojis?
Now, most of us know what emojis are, they have actually skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. If you’re not familiar with emojis, they are small images that are used to express emotions like happiness, love, sadness and anger. The thing about emojis is they can add a visual element to your content and make you come across as having a fun and engaging personality.
And the thing is, studies have shown that users respond better to brands that use emojis in their content.
If you’re considering how to incorporate emojis into your content strategy, the question is whether they make sense for your brand. You don’t want to blindly copy what everyone else is doing. If it doesn’t make sense for your brand, using emojis will come off as desperately trying to get down with the kids.
Furthermore, using emojis depend on the social media channel you’re posting on. For example, emojis are heavily used on Twitter and Instagram but hardly used on Reddit. Basically, you’ll want to go with the flow of each platform you’re posting on.
Your tone of voice effectively expresses the personality of your brand, and it should be distinctive, and resonate with your target audience. You should really think through what type of voice is appropriate for you freelance business because it impacts you in subtle ways. A great tweet that is brimming with personality is more likely to be engaged with. This is why it is so important to that you communicate in a voice that your target audience can identify with.
In addition, there needs to be consistency in the way you communicate across your website, social media, emails and ads. This is really important because consistency builds familiarity. If you are consistent in the way that you communicate, people will become familiar with your brand. This familiarity is what builds trust and credibility over time.