A 2010 UK study of brand personalities found Amazon, Microsoft, and Mercedes-Benz to invoke strong, positive feelings amongst consumers. On the opposite end, FIFA, with its incessant cheating scandals, was surveyed as the least honest brand. Although hardly a death sentence, a brands who consumers see as negative must heed the wake up call.
A brand personality, true to its name, personifies a company to create a specific identity centered around human traits. Instead of thinking of a bland, corporate headquarters, a brand personality relates to people on a human level. This human level creates a feelings, positive and negative, amongst consumers. These positive or negative associations influence consumer behavior. What common characteristics do successful and unsuccessful brands share?
Apple – Apple is associated with creativity and innovation, both from a company and consumer standpoint. The design of the original iMac and iPod have won various plaudits and awards. Likewise, many employees in creative sectors swear by their Macbook. The name Apple invokes a positive image of an individual who uses the product (creative, minimal, design influenced). It creates a powerful ideal for the consumer to strive towards.
Amazon – Amazon was voted the most honest brand in the UK study. How does an online retailer achieve this? Three ways: security, selection, and ease. Many consumers remain weary over putting their credit card information online. Amazon has countered this with a top notch security system that makes consumers feel safe with providing credit card information. Secondly, Amazon has the most comprehensive selection of items out of any business in the world, all at the consumer’s fingertips. Originally a book store, a consumer can now buy clothing, food, and music all in one location. This plays into the idea of ease. Amazon makes purchasing products simple. Load all items into a shopping cart, and purchase with one click of the button. Shopping, an activity that could take hours, completed in a matter of minutes.
FIFA – It is important to analyze brands that conjure negative feelings to help avoid the same mistakes for future companies. Nothing dooms a brand faster than a corruption scandal. FIFA was heavily accused of bribery scandals relating to the placement of the 2022 World Cup. This conjures the age old image of the big, bad corporation – hardly the statement one wants to make to potential consumers. Even if these bribery charges are never proven, the damage was done. Brand personality differs from Hollywood – not all publicity is good publicity.
Building an image is an active pursuit from both corporation and consumer. Focusing on this aspect can equal exponential growth as personalities take on a life of their own – for better or worse.