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Why Your Print Shop Needs a Brand Personality and How to Create One

13 July 2017
Marketing & Selling Print

Why Your Print Shop Needs a Brand Personality and How to Create One

Did you think that brand personalities were only for large, well-known companies? Think again. The simple truth of the matter is that your company already has a personality, whether you want one or not. The choice is whether you are the one in charge of developing that personality or whether your customers and competitors are.

What is a Brand Personality?

Your brand personality is all to do with the emotional connection your customers have with your business. It is communicated in every aspect of how you present your business; your logo, the colours you use, your choice of typography, the style of imagery you tend to use, your tone of voice and communication style. Typically, your brand personality is a reflection of your customer base so that you are more relatable to the type of people you would like to attract.

Take a look at the long-term ad campaign by Apple for Mac computers from 2006 to 2009. In this campaign, Apple personified Mac and PC computers so that you could clearly see the difference between their brand personalities. PCs were represented by middle-aged John Hodgman wearing a suit, not a very stylish suit at that either. Whereas Macs were represented by youthful Justin Long in a hoody and jeans. This instantly poses Macs as the cooler, more exciting option compared to boring old PCs. In fact, this ad campaign, based entirely around brand personalities, won best campaign of the decade in the Adweek advertising awards!

Like we mentioned earlier though, it’s not just the big brands that can have a definite personality. Ranked #1 for tea and coffee in Sheffield on Trip Advisor, Cocoa Wonderland is a great example of a small, local business competing with the big players because of their personality. For Cocoa Wonderland, their personality is all about vintage luxury – their logo is a combination of two vintage style typefaces, they offer rich chocolates and cakes, their china tea sets make you feel as if you’re part of the Victorian upper class. Everything about their store has been chosen to help customers feel like they’ve left their mundane life behind.

Why Your Print Shop Needs One

Obviously you don’t have to make your print store feel like a vintage fantasy land but Tthere are a number of ways a small business can gain from having a clearly defined brand personality. For one, it gives your customers an emotional connection to your store which can increase loyalty. Your customers will want to have a personal relationship with their print supplier because they are depending on them to make their brand look good. If you can compete on personality and trust, customers will likely keep coming to you even if a local competitor offers cheaper prices.

Plus, having a clear personality makes your business appear bigger than it actually is. Customers are likely to research print shops before deciding which one to go to and if they see you as inconsistent and unorganised then they’re probably going to think that you don’t really know what you’re doing and go elsewhere. However, if they see that you are unified and deliberate about what you do, they’ll know that you can handle their order with professionalism.

It also gives a sense of stability to your company. Customers will know that you are invested in your business and that yours is a business that’s going to last. They can be confident that they are going to receive the same level of service every time they go to you and from that they can start to build up a loyalty to you and your business.

Finally, having a well-developed brand personality extends the company beyond just you. This is important if you want your company to grow in the future. You can employ other members of staff without your customers worrying that the service will change because the brand is still consistent.

How to Establish Your Brand Personality

1. Know Who You Are

A brand personality cannot be created from thin air and you cannot convincingly portray yourself as something you’re not. A brand personality needs to expand upon and define what’s already there. Ask yourself where your company fits between a number of contrasting positions; funny or formal? Reserved or lively? Classic or modern? Bargain value or premium?

One framework that could be useful to you is Aaker’s five dimensions of brand personality. This framework identifies five core personality types which are further broken down into facets. Take a look at the diagram below and see which personality type your business matches the most.

Brand Personality Aaker's Diagram

2. Know Who Your Customers Are

People are attracted to those who are similar to them so you want your brand personality to be a mirror of the type of customers you want coming to your shop. You need to figure out what they would find relatable, what traits and behaviours they share, what cultural messages they would understand, what their motivations are, how and why they relate to your service.

Ask yourself all these questions and then think about what kind of person would get on with these people and base your brand personality on this person you’ve imagined. Would they be pretty easy going? Would they use jargon and technical terms? Would they use much imagery in their communications?

3. Be Consistent

Now that you have an idea of what your brand personality is going to be like, you need to establish clear guidelines and boundaries for all your future communications. Create a brand colour scheme, decide whether you use cartoons or photographic images, set up a typography hierarchy etc…
If you’re ever unsure as to whether a decision fits with your new brand personality, you can refer back to these guidelines. This is especially important if there is more than one person in charge of your customer communications. If you disagree on your brand’s tone of voice, you could cause confusion for your customers and the benefits of establishing your personality will be lost.

Now that you understand the importance of a brand personality, take a look at our 20 Local Marketing Tactics to find out how to make your print shop the favourite in your area.


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