Brand personalities are a great way to help define the boundaries of your brand. It helps with coming up and defining just what you say, and how you say it. It creates guardrails of what it looks like when you create content, who it’s for, and the desired outcome for your customers. Brand personalities can help define color options, font choices, and graphic elements that you’d want to use to reinforce your brand.
The 4 Brand Personality Quadrants
There are four major quadrants that all brand personalities fall within: they are Freedom, Ego, Social, and Order. These are the end results that a brand is after. Sometimes that’s not entirely obvious to you, the brand holder, so we’ve created a quiz for you to find your brand personality here.
These quadrants are broken down further into twelve specific brand personalities: The Innocent, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage.
These are the 12 classic archetypes. They cover the spectrum, from those that convey comfort to others to those that create excitement.
Choosing the right archetype for your business is essential. But first, review the classic archetypes and understand their role in creating a deep connection with their target market.
Let’s take a look at the quadrants and the brand personalities that fall into them.
SEEKS FREEDOM & LEARNING: FREEDOM
Exhibits happiness, goodness, optimism, safety, romance, and youth.
- Goal: To be happy
- Traits: Strives to be good, is pure, young, optimistic, simple, moral, romantic, loyal
- Drawback: Could be naïve or boring
- Marketing niche: Companies with strong values, seen as trustworthy, reliable, and honest, associated with morality, good virtues, simplicity, can be nostalgic
- Example brands: Dove, Coca-Cola, Cottonelle
Finds inspiration in travel, risk, discovery, and the thrill of new experiences.
- Goal: Finds fulfillment through discovery and new experiences
- Traits: Restless, adventurous, ambitious, individualistic, independent, pioneering
- Drawback: Might not fit into the mainstream
- Marketing niche: Exciting, risk-taking, authentic
- Example brands: REI, Jeep, Red Bull
Committed to helping the world gain deeper insight and wisdom, the Sage serves as the thoughtful mentor or advisor.
- Goal: To help the world gain wisdom and insight
- Traits: Knowledgeable, trusted source of information, wisdom and intelligence, thoughtful, analytical, mentor, guru, advisor
- Drawback: Could be overly contemplative or too opinionated
- Marketing niche: Help people to better understand the world, provide practical information and analysis
- Example brands: BBC, PBS, Google, Philips
LEAVES A LEGACY: EGO
The Hero: On a mission to make the world a better place, the Hero is courageous, bold, inspirational.
- Goal: Help to improve the world
- Traits: Courageous, bold, honorable, strong, confident, inspirational
- Drawback: Could be arrogant or aloof
- Marketing niche: Make a positive mark on the world, solve major problems, or enable/inspire others to do so
- Example brands: Nike, BMW, Duracell
Wishes to create something special and make dreams a reality, the Magician is seen as visionary and spiritual.
- Goal: Make dreams come true, create something special
- Traits: Visionary, charismatic, imaginative, idealistic, spiritual
- Drawback: Could take risks that lead to bad outcomes
- Marketing niche: Help people transform their world, inspire change, expand consciousness
- Example brands: Disney, Apple, Dyson
The Rebel / The Outlaw:
Questions authority and breaks the rules; the Rebel craves rebellion and revolution.
- Goal: Break the rules and fight authority
- Traits: Rebellious, iconoclastic, wild, paving the way for change
- Drawback: Could take it too far and be seen in a negative way
- Marketing niche: Agent of Change, advocate for the disenfranchised, allow people to vent or break with conventions
- Example brands: Harley-Davidson, Virgin, Diesel
CONNECTS TO OTHERS: SOCIAL
The Everyman/woman, Guy/Gal Next Door:
Seeks connections and belonging; is recognized as supportive, faithful, and down-to-earth.
- Goal: To belong, or connect with others
- Traits: Down to earth, the supportive, faithful, folksy, person next door, connects with others
- Drawback: Could lack a distinctive identity and blend in too much
- Marketing niche: Common touch, solid virtues, gives a sense of belonging
- Example brands: Home Depot, eBay, IKEA
Creates intimate moments, inspires love, passion, romance, and commitment.
- Goal: Create intimacy, inspire love
- Traits: Passionate, sensual, intimate, romantic, warm, committed, idealistic
- Drawback: Could be too selfless or not grounded enough
- Marketing niche: Help people feel appreciated, belong, connect, enjoy intimacy, build relationships
- Example brands: Victoria’s Secret, Godiva Chocolate, Chanel, Häagen Dazs
Brings joy to the world through humor, fun, irreverence, and often likes to make some mischief.
- Goal: To bring joy to the world
- Traits: Fun, sense of humor, light-hearted, mischievous, irreverent
- Drawback: Could be seen as frivolous or disrespectful
- Marketing niche: Help people have a good time or enjoy what they are doing, allow people to be more impulsive and spontaneous
- Example brands: Old Spice, Ben & Jerry’s, M&Ms
PROVIDES STRUCTURE: ORDER
Imaginative, inventive, and driven to build things of enduring meaning and value.
- Goal: Create something with meaning and enduring value
- Traits: Creative, imaginative, artistic, inventive, entrepreneur, non-conformist
- Drawback: Could be perfectionistic or impractical
- Marketing niche: Visionary, help customers express or create, and foster their imagination
- Example brands: Lego, Crayola, Adobe
Creates order from the chaos, the Ruler is typically controlling and stern, yet responsible and organized.
- Goal: Control, create order from chaos
- Traits: Leader, responsible, organized, role model, administrator
- Drawback: Could lack a common connection, or be too authoritative or controlling
- Marketing niche: Help people become more organized, restore order, create more stability and security in a chaotic world
- Example brands: Microsoft, Barclays, Mercedes-Benz, , British Airways
Protects and cares for others, is compassionate, nurturing, and generous.
- Goal: To care for and protect others
- Traits: Caring, maternal, nurturing, selfless, generous, compassionate
- Drawback: Being taken advantage of, taken for granted, or exploited
- Marketing niche: Help people care for themselves, serve the public through health care, education, or aid programs
- Example brands: Johnson & Johnson, Campbell’s Soup, UNICEF
So, have you identified which one your brand might be? It doesn’t have to be complicated. Take our quick 10 question quiz and know how best to define your brand, the first time around.