‘INFP’ ‘INFJ’ ENFP’ ‘ENFJ’. We see these Myer-Brigss Type Indicator labels plastered on people’s bios more than ever before. Maybe it’s just riding on the bandwagon, or perhaps it’s a deeply rooted feeling of wanting to connect with one another. So, whether we believe in these personality indicators or not, it’s hard to deny that we do subconsciously seek to find those with common personality traits.
This presents a unique opportunity for brands to humanise themselves in order to resonate better with their consumers. With marketing strategies evolving to a more two-way communication style today, a well-cultivated personality and voice can encourage deeper and more robust engagement with consumers, making it a worthwhile investment for any brand.
What is Brand Personality?
Brand personality is a set of human traits that you would associate with your brand. Think of it as creating a Sims character—What are their likes and dislikes; how do they talk, and what do they stand for? All these characteristics are what will help to build a connection with your consumer. It’s what made them choose to buy a product from you, rather than your competitors.
Types of Brand Personality
Back in 1997, marketer, Jennifer Aaker published ‘The Five Dimensions of Brand Personality’ which later became the most popular brand personality scale in the management literature² (Think the Myer-Brigss Personality Test, but for brands). The paper revealed a framework that measures the “personality” of a brand in five core dimensions.
Analysis of Brand Persona
Now that we have been acquainted with all the different types of brand personalities, let us take a closer look at a few international and local brands’ personas for inspiration.
1) Chanel (Sophistication)
Adopting a sophisticated brand persona, Chanel’s exclusivity energy is even consistent in the manner in which they only follow 3 brands on Instagram.³ The brand is very selective in the people it allows in its circle, working with only influencers that portray a certain type of aspirational lifestyle. This proved to be a great move as the luxury brand achieved a resounding success of one million likes in a month through its influencer campaign to promote No.5 L’Eau perfume.⁴
Naturally, fashion translates best into visuals and Chanel understands this well. They conjure up images of opulence—minimalistic yet artful that are consistent as you browse through their official social media accounts with Instagram boasting a hefty 54.6 million followers, one of the highest among luxury brands.⁵
Chanel carries an air of affluence by having a no-nonsense approach with very straightforward language. All the captions used throughout all their social media platforms have a classy feel with little to no room for emoji at the risk of looking unprofessional and unsophisticated.
2) Duolingo (Excitement)
To stand out from the competition, brands must create authentic content that sets them apart—and authentic is exactly what Duolingo went for. The language-learning app builds its Excitement persona around a humourous guilt-tripping green bird. While it can be a double-edged sword, Duolingo however remarked that the guilt trips were actually found to be 5 to 8% more effective at getting users re-engaged than other methods⁶, proving that focusing too much on a noble image online can be unnatural and deter consumers.
Their controversial personality online is given a face through its brand mascot, Duo. The cheeky green bird often trend jacks onto controversial topics. When the entertainment industry was shocked by the cheating scandal of Shakira’s ex-husband Picque, Duolingo certainly did not hold back⁷ from giving its own take on the issue. The brand did not shy away by creating its own spin-off⁸ of Adam Levine’s leaked DMs with an Instagram model too.
Keep in mind that reports show that only 33% of consumers⁹ want brands to be snarky, while 83% prefer⁹ brands to be friendly. However, with Duolingo’s audience trending younger, with 60% of US users under age 30¹⁰, their snarky replies¹¹ online are found to be humorous and generally well-accepted. Regardless, the brand still keeps a good balance of snarkiness and kindness to avoid an excess of negative sentiment on its pages.
Since the founder, Tuan Mydin Mohamed’s demise, the supermarket chain’s legacy has been continued by his son, Datuk Wira Ameer Ali, who currently holds the Managing Director position and also acts as the face of the brand. With his image, the brand appears to be more honest, genuine, and altogether radiates a kind fatherly figure.
The brand doesn’t necessarily maintain consistency in terms of visuals, however, Datuk Wira Ameer Ali is seen as a recurring figure in their online presence, creating young and trendy content that one wouldn’t assume someone of his stature and age would be interested in. This, in turn, tremendously aid in humanising the brand as it portrays Mydin as a fatherly figure that is just happy to make someone’s day. Mydin Malaysia at present has 386.9k followers¹² on TikTok and remains the only local supermarket giant to see the potential of the platform.
As with every social media account, there is an admin on the back end replying to inquiries and comments. Staying true to the brand’s efforts to humanise its presence online, the brand’s admin identifies itself as ‘Min’¹³ (Perhaps a truncated version of the word ‘Admin’) in the captions and replies. This small effort helps the followers to feel closer to the brand in what would otherwise be a very cold and automated experience.
4) KyoChon Malaysia (Sincerity)
View this post on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
KyoChon understands that the key to adapting to local culture is to amalgamate. Back home, their fried chicken is served sans side dishes and is mainly enjoyed with beer. But here, rice and soup are added to relate to Malaysians and their culture.¹⁴ The same can be said for KyoChon Malaysia’s social media, they managed to merge Korean culture with Malaysian culture through a wholesome persona simply called ‘K’. This character seeks to present the best of what South Korea has to offer while earnestly taking Malaysians’ preferences into account.
On Instagram, KyoChon Malaysia utilises two or more talents in order to capture the feeling of togetherness that is close to the hearts of Malaysians. This is further strengthened by creating a hashtag #Kyommunity which serves as a platform for their followers to join in on the camaraderie too. Additionally, the brand often jumps onto trending Korean entertainment topics by featuring images of Korean artists in memeable formats¹⁵ for a touch of humour. To date, KyoChon Malaysia’s official Instagram has the highest number of followers at 69.9k followers¹⁶ in comparison with its close competitors (Kfry Malaysia at 65.5k¹⁷, 4Fingers Malaysia at 38.4k¹⁸)
KyoChon Malaysia’s approach to its language on social media is also a big factor in gaining a strong presence online. Asides from humanising itself by identifying as ‘K’ in the captions and calling its followers #KyoChingu (Chingu means friend) to foster a strong relationship, the brand also incorporates Korean terms in its captions and visual copy to hint at their Korean origin. Nevertheless the brand still very much speaks the language of Malaysians for instance when the brand created a contest named #AyamBigWinner¹⁹ with ‘Ayam’ (Malay for the word chicken) being a wordplay of ‘I am’. On Twitter, the brand maintains this synergy too by replying to inquiries²⁰ in Malay while using GIFs that feature Korean artists.
‘The Five Dimensions of Brand Personality’ is a great way to start when it comes to aligning what persona your brand represents but taking your time to build something that’s uniquely your own—from visuals, and language all the way to the overall energy your brand is trying to convey, is what ultimately will set your brand apart from competitors. In the end, whether big or small, a unique brand persona not only strengthens customer loyalty but more importantly, helps foster relationships that can go a long way with the audience.
Need help building a personality for your brand like how we developed one for KyoChon Malaysia? (Yes, we’re the brains behind that.)
Get in touch with us today.
- 1 Brand Personality: Definition, Examples, and How to Define Yours
- 2 Brand Personality: Understanding Aaker’s 5 Dimension Model
- 3 Chanel Official Instagram
- 4 Why Chanel is the most influential luxury brand on social
- 5 List of Top Brands Ranking
- 6 Duolingo’s $6-Billion Growth Marketing Case Study: Using Guilt & Memes to Get Engagement
- 7 Duolingo Official Instagram: Picque
- 8 Duolingo Official Instagram: Adam Levine
- 9 The Sprout Social Index: Edition XI: Social Personality
- 10 Dear Duolingo: How does language learning differ between generations?
- 11 Duolingo Official Twitter
- 12 Mydin Malaysia Official TikTok
- 13 Mydin Malaysia Official Instagram
- 14 Korean Fried Chicken: The Crunch That Changed The World
- 15 KyoChon Malaysia Official Instagram: Korean artists
- 16 KyoChon Malaysia Official Instagram
- 17 KFry Malaysia Official Instagram
- 18 4Fingers Malaysia Official Instagram
- 19 KyoChon Malaysia Official Instagram
- 20 KyoChon Malaysia Official Twitter