There’s no shame in admitting that you may be confused as to what constitutes a brand persona, especially if you aren’t a branding expert. A brand persona is more than a brand voice, a mascot, or even a “pitch” person, and it’s different than your target market. It pays to develop a brand persona whether you currently purchase advertising or not. It can be a full-realized character appearing in a television or radio ad or it can simply be the “face” of your brand over your blog and social media accounts. A brand persona can be as “big” or as fully-realized as you want it to be! However, before you can develop your own brand persona, it’s important to fully understand what a brand persona is and how it differs from a brand voice, a mascot, or a celebrity endorser.
What Is A Brand Persona?
Simply put, a brand persona is the personification of your brand. If your brand were a person, that would be your brand persona! While this definition and explanation are relatively simple and straightforward, it may still be difficult to fully understand. After all, brands aren’t people; there’s no “Mr. Coca-Cola” or “Ms. Walmart.” If you remember the “Get a Mac”, also known as the “Mac vs. PC” ad campaign by Apple, you witnessed one of the most successful realizations and implementations of brand personas in recent memory!
The “Get A Mac” Campaign
The famous and highly-successful ad campaign “Mac vs. PC”, featuring actors Justin Long and John Hodgman, created human personifications of Macintosh and PC computers. Long and Hodgman weren’t hired as celebrity spokesman, as they were acting and portraying characters (Mac and PC) whose traits were intended to represent the differences between the two competing personal computing platforms. Long’s character represented Apple’s brand persona while Hodgman’s character represented the brand persona of any number of computer manufacturers who utilized the Microsoft Windows operating system, while many believed it also indirectly represented the brand persona of Microsoft itself. An important distinction is that these actors weren’t simply hired to personify each brand’s voice, but to portray characters directly representing each brand. They also weren’t technically brand mascots, which are much broader and entirely fictional representations of a brand, team, or group identity.
The Value Of Developing A Brand Persona
Not every brand, especially brands owned by entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other small businesses, have the resources or even need to hire a top-rated advertising agency or a team of Hollywood actors in order to utilize a brand persona. However, does that mean that you should disregard this vital marketing and advertising tool? Certainly not, especially when it’s not even necessary to fully develop or customize your own brand persona. There are tests and tools available online that can help you identify whether or not a preexisting persona matches your brand. Once you have identified and customized this persona, you can begin using it whenever it is necessary to present a personification of your brand to the public at large, either through a marketing or advertising campaign or through your content marketing and social media presence. If your company or organization is new and you have not finalized the elements of your brand, your persona can be a vital tool in shaping and forming these elements. If your brand is already well established and you feel as though your existing brand elements don’t match or confirm to this persona, a rebranding may be necessary.