The 5 Dimensions of Brand Personality

How many times have you heard the proclamation, “the consumer owns the brand”?

It would probably be safe to say you’ve heard it numerous times (and uttered it a few more) because it happens to be true.  No matter the product or service that an organization is offering to its target market, their success or failure is dependent upon the consumers’ buying of what they’re selling.

Consumers make purchasing decisions based on any number of associations they have with individual brands, and companies spend millions on advertising and marketing activities so that they can influence what those associations might be.  Just as we each choose our friends based on their personalities, brands can elicit the same sort of response in consumers.  In light of this, wouldn’t it be interesting to know which human personality traits consumers tend to apply to brands?

Well, it’s good thing for us that someone has studied this and given us a few answers:

1st Dimension – SINCERITY

Consumers interpret sincere brands as being down-to-earth, honest, wholesome, and cheerful.  Sure, some people find Rachael Ray annoying, but more people find her endearing – the kind of woman you can sit down with for a chat at the kitchen table.

Rachael Ray

2nd Dimension – EXCITEMENT

The most exciting brands are daring, spirited, imaginative, and on the cutting edge.  Not only are Burton snowboards on the cutting edge of technology and performance, the products bearing the Burton name are designed with their audience in mind.  Funky graphics and forward-thinking designs make Burton a leader in their competitive industry.

Burton Rasta Logo

3rd Dimension – COMPETENCE

Reliability, intelligence, and success are the traits associated with these brands.  Even in these trying economic times, there are a few financial services firms that still manage to play well in consumer minds.  Charles Schwab is the stable, successful, smart guy next door who can tell you what to do with your 401k allocations.


4th Dimension – SOPHISTICATION

A brand that is sophisticated is viewed as charming and fit for the upper classes.  When it comes to esteem and seemingly eternal longevity, the Chanel brand is unequaled.  In good times and bad, this brand remains strong as a symbol of a life lived in all the right places, doing all the right things.

Chanel logo

5th Dimension – RUGGEDNESS

Interestingly, consumers pick up on this personality dimension quite well.  Rugged brands are seen as outdoorsy and tough.  The North Face has built an empire by outfitting people who actually do scary outdoorsy things, and those who just like to look good on the streets of NYC.

The North Face


Are there any other personalities you would attribute to your favorite brands?  If so, let’s keep the conversation going – add your comments!


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