If Starbucks were a person, who would they be? Male or female? Young, old or somewhere in between? What kind of car would they drive? What about their MO?
You can tell a lot about people’s brand perceptions when you ask that they imagine them as a person. Brand personification exercises are great tools for illuminating who consumers feel a brand is for as well what kind of permission they give to shift, alter or expand that audience. It can speak to identification, aspiration and alienation, and is particularly helpful when contrasting brands within a competitive set. For example, would the Gap like the same bands as Old Navy?
Advertisers are no stranger to this technique too. A perfect example is Apple’s ‘I’m a Mac/I’m a PC’ campaign. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review looks at how brands capitalize on our propensity to anthropomorphize just about everything from pets to cars, and discusses how brands use gendered messaging to build equity and affinity.