Chapter 2 - Brand Identity I: Defining Your Business
From looking at character archetypes to picking descriptors from a list, there's no one way to "create" a personality; the only inviolable guideline is that it should come from a genuine place. When asked to describe a friend - or yourself for that matter - your first thought is probably to come up with a few adjectives. These traits - loyal, kind, curious, adventurous, funny - indicate what kind of person your friend is by hinting at values. Likewise, with brands, core attributes or traits are derived from values.
To figure out which attributes are central to your brand, recall your story. When people tell stories, listeners get a glimpse of who they are. It's the same for brands; going back to your business’s origin story and mission should help you pick out brand traits to embody.
A few keywords don't tell you much about a business but combined with your unique positioning and story, these traits guide your business and brand strategy. For example, "innovative" as a descriptor appears overused to the point of meaninglessness, but there is a multitude of expressions for any one trait. If you're "innovative," you can constantly push creative boundaries by changing offerings weekly. You can use ingredients or methods in ways others might not have tried before. You can invent a direct-to-consumer delivery model that introduces unexpected joy to customers. You can also value both tradition and innovation; perhaps you reinterpret an old culinary tradition for the modern age. In fact, seemingly dichotomous traits are powerful - when well-executed - because their unexpectedness makes them more memorable.
Consider not only what you do but also how you explain what you do. A business that holds sustainability at its core can understandably express this value through a regenerative agriculture supply chain and using farm-to-table seasonal produce, but so can a brand that has heritage - including an appreciation for where food comes from and how it's traditionally grown - as a core value. A food business that is "innovative" and "sustainable" can be a pop-up concept working with vertical city farms and urban foragers... or a centuries-old estate where guests pick their own food to be transformed into zero-waste dishes... or something else entirely.
Lastly, your brand personality should be portrayed across all aspects of your business. If you're detail-oriented, does that reflect intentionality across every single element of the production process and customer experience? If you're passionate, what are all the ways you demonstrate this to your audience so they can feel it? If you claim to be fun, do your employees genuinely agree? Chapters 3 and 4 focus on brand expression so that you can bring your brand personality to life visually, verbally, and behaviorally.