Brand Personality and Voice

how to create
No Tanas no
Branding ✧ Design ✧ Storytelling
How to create

Brand Personality and Voice

by Keith Wilkins

Brand Personality

Isn't it great when once in a blue moon you meet someone and you feel an instant connection--like you've known each other forever. And then there are other times when you meet someone for the first time and they make your face twitch. Well, the same thing happens with brands.

And it's a good thing too, because this instant chemistry can save you valuable time in establishing familiarity and trust. In order to maximize the benefits of this phenomenon, use Carl Jung's archetypes to jumpstart your brand personality.

It's especially important for a freelancer, or small business owner, to align their ideal customers with their own personality type. You don't have to attract your identical archetype, but you do want to attract personalities that complement your own. You'll be dealing with them on a regular basis, after all.

Imagine if all your clients "just got you". Think of the effort and heartache you'll save.

So, this is the path that we will follow…

What & Why

By now you have your Mission and Vision Statements, Values and Value Propositions. It's time to talk about how to communicate these to your audience.

Remember, consistency is key. Your brand needs to have a consistent tone and point of view in every interaction. Otherwise people get confused. And confused doesn't convert.


How do you keep things consistent? You write it down.

Here's a document with everything you need to communicate your message consistently. It's a fillable pdf file. So, you can fill it in as you go, or print it now and use it as a worksheet.
It's time to assign your brand personality.

Describe your brand as if it were a person. Is it a he or a she?

Is he funny? Is she nurturing? Sarcastic or serious?

One way to start is by looking at Jennifer Aaker's brand personality chart. Look at the factors and facets chart above and rank them from 1 to 5.

This will give a general direction for you to consider.

An even better way is to base your brand on one of the brand archetypes. When done correctly the right clients follow and the wrong ones get lost! It's win-win!
Description of Brand Personality by Jennifer Aaker
Image by No Tanas no/ Words by Jennifer Aaker
Brand Archetypes
By basing your brand personality on one of these archetypes you fast-track your audience into connecting with you and your offer. Archetypes are already hardwired into us. So why not use them to speed things up? Your ideal clients will feel a bond with your brand immediately.

You'll be instantly familiar to them. Remember, familiarity creates trust.

Let's take a quick look at brand archetypes. See which one sounds like you. If your not sure, think about what other people say about you or you brand. These characteristics are usually at the core of who you are. They aren't something that you're working on. It's more likely the way that you can't help being. It's the qualities that you bring under any circumstances.

If you'd like a more in depth read, I highly recommend The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson
So, by now you probably have an idea which of the archetypes your business falls under. If not, try taking this Brand Personality Quiz

So, now you know… and now what? How do you put this into action?

Ultimately, a brand identity is a way to communicate with the world, differentiate yourself from your competition, and create a brand experience that encourages people to engage with you.


Step 1: Audience Research

The tone of your writing communicates your brand personality. The very first thing to do is understand who you are writing for and what they want from you.

You guessed it! Audience research!

  • Use google analytics and social media data to find out everything you can: gender, age, interests—all of the demographics.

  • Then do some detective work. Look at their profiles to see who they are following. You want to know where they're getting their information.

  • And you want to pay attention to how they are talking about it.

Audience research is worthy of it's own post. Something to look forward to for both of us!

Brand Personality Spectrum chart.
Step 2: Message Architecture

Step 2: Messaging Architecture

Message architecture is what you want to communicate, not how. It contains your positioning, value proposition, mission statement, tagline and differentiators all on the same document.

Now look at the Brand Personality Spectrum and mark where your company lies on each row.
The categories where you're on the far left or far right are the ones that you want to focus on. These could be the differentiators on the Message Architecture document.

The Four Dimensions of Tone chart.
Step 3: Final Document

Step 3: Final Document

Now, considering your messaging architecture decide where you want to fall on the four dimensions of tone.

Then, use that as a guide to choose words that describe your business as if it were a person (or come up with your own).
This list is from the Nielsen Norman Group :
click to expand






































Mark all the words that apply. Then group those words together until you have 5 or 6 words that are representative of your brand personality.

Then, write a phrase using the words and then clarify like this:

Rebellious but not rude.

Competent but not condescending.

Concise but not incomplete.

Now take all of the above and put it into the fillable document I made for you. It'll look something like this:

Image of PDF download about Messaging Architecture.
Keith Wilkins for No Tanas no
And, that's pretty much it! You should include all these findings in your brand style guide. Always share your Brand Guidelines with any freelance writers or new employees.
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