#30 – Brand as A Person

“To understand how a brand would behave, try to imagine it as a person.”

I heard it all so often in every class conveyed by Ms. Pulung, especially on Brand Management. However, it has been the most prominent yet useful advice I’ve noted down in branding.

A brand can have this strong personality, promise, essence, and elements that makes it similar to human being. It thinks and behaves by that foundation, and for following that pattern, a brand’s thought process is deemed similar to that of a human’s.

Try to imagine a brand closest to you as a person. Take UGM, for example. For me, UGM’s wise, caring, yet formal character makes it roughly personified as a middle-aged guy, probably with teaching as his profession. It highly differs from UI, the popular, friendly, yet witty jock or the introverted and ambitious scientist who spends most of his days in labs trying to make a difference.

I can imagine a middle-aged guy wearing checkered shirt tucked in, old-cut pants with black leather belt and silver buckle, thin yet wide-framed glasses, and thinning hair giving out advice to students in a knowingly manner.  

It really does help practicioners in applying a throughout thinking process of the brand. I, for example, would not pitch a youthful-toned proposal to UGM, but rather a slllightly formal and clean in manner.

Personifying a brand means to reflect its previous brand elements into consideration as a logic base for its following actions. The analysis done empirically to understand reasons behind actions. For example, Burger King always communicates while mentioning other brands in a mocking manner—it’s because the brand’s personification is a bully. By using the next-door bully as a standard, people can predict what would most probably be the next course of actions by Burger King following an issue. There’s an art for reading people, and so does with reading brands.

I love reading people, and because of that, brands reading caught me on the hook for quite a while. “What would it do when faced with this kind of problem?” Some of my predictions turned out to be true, while others are still work in progress.

The challenge came when the brand has tried its hardest to rebrand itself. Take Aqua, for example. It was previously known to have a familial feeling, making it the mother children always long to go back to. However, it recently tries to change its character into a hip and trendy teen struggling for popularity. It’s still currently struggling to reestablish itself as a brand targeting youths, yet still carrying several motherly traits it previously dwelled upon. The reading can be a bit tricky for brands in this situation.

For recently struggling brands with no mandatories set upon, similar challenges can also take place. Newly-found brands are usually still struggling to define itself and open to experimenting different approaches.

So what’s the brand you’re most comfortable in being intimate with? 

Lintang Cahyaningsih


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