This is an excerpt from the newly published Craft Beer Branding Guide. CODO Design has spent years working with startup craft breweries on naming, branding and positioning, responsive web design and package design and have gathered their experience into a comprehensive guide to help startup breweries navigate the entire branding process. Check it out and learn how to make your brewery stand out.
After defining your brewery’s values, brand essence and core messages, you can begin transitioning into the visual side of the house. Our next step on this path is to articulate your brand’s personality. We’ve found the best way to tackle this is to think of your brewery as a living, breathing person. Then, you’re simply defining what personality traits that person has. Understanding these attributes will pave the way for your next step — brand identity design.
To kick this off, answer the following questions. If your brewery is a person, is it:
- Male or female?
- Young or old? Middle-aged?
- Blue collar or fancy pants?
From there, list all the character traits you think apply to your brewery. Here’re a few examples:
Fun/Serious / Confident / Introverted / Warm/ Cold / Irreverent / Demanding / Exciting / Hard Working / Innovative / Traditional / Pragmatic / Romantic / Idealistic / Angry / Stoic / Flaky / Flirty(?) / Reflective / Respectful / Feral / Ironic / Ambitious / Dedicated / Honorable / Brilliant / Simple / Big-Hearted / Heroic / Timid / Anxious / Academic / Adventurous / Tacit / Charming / Weird / Bizarre / Uncouth / Vibrant / etc.
While there’s no magic number, we find that three to five personality traits is a good mark to aim for. Many of the words people use to define their brewery can be grouped together (whether they’re pure synonyms or are at least in the same ballpark, messaging-wise). The goal is to whittle down and refine the list into the clearest, most concise statement so your future communication and design work will be crystal clear (and consistent!).
Similar to when you developed your core values: Once you’ve picked three to five personality traits that describe your brewery, take some time to write about what they each mean to you. Write about why they apply to you, and why this matters.
As we’ve mentioned a few times throughout the values and brand essence development process, it’s easy to settle for things that aren’t exactly ownable. Yes, you strive to brew high quality, drinkable beer. But so does every other brewery in the world (hopefully). I don’t say this to be cynical, but rather, to get you to think (and rethink) these personality traits until they’re authentic to your brewery.
Here are a few more questions to help make sure your personality traits are solid and true to you:
1. Is this personality trait true?
What processes do you have in place to back it up? Can you think of any anecdotes that illustrate it in action?
2. Are all of these traits relevant?
A personality trait may be true, but does it matter to your customers? Does this help you better keep the promises you make and fill an important need for them?
3. Do these traits differentiate your brewery?
Are these traits different from what everyone else is putting out there? Look around at your competition — how are other breweries talking about themselves? It’s common to see similar language like, “high quality beer,” “best ingredients,” “local,” etc. in this space.
A lot of companies make the mistake of aligning their personality with what they believe their audience wants. Similar to the politician who’s pro ‘X’ one day and anti ‘X’ the next, it can make your messaging sporadic and perhaps worse, untrustworthy. It’s far better to build off of your core values and messaging to define a set of true, authentic and ownable brand personality traits.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. In the words of Mark Twain, “If you tell the truth, you’ll never have to remember anything.” And no matter what you do, don’t be a damn politician.
This column was provided by the smart folks at CODO Design, a five-man branding firm based in Indianapolis. They’ve spent years working with startup craft breweries on naming, branding and positioning, responsive web design, and package design. They’ve gathered their experience into a comprehensive Craft Beer Branding Guide to help startup breweries navigate the entire branding process. Check it out at www.craftbeerbrandingguide.com.