Brand personality is insanely important. Competition is fierce, and you have to stand out more than ever. We wanted to make it easy (and fun!) for teams to collaborate and decide on their brand voice. So we designed a card game, “Who the Deck Are You? The Brand Personality Cards.” to take out the guesswork.
How’d we do it? Well… launching a physical product during a pandemic has been an interesting journey, to say the least!
But let’s rewind. At our agency Truly Inc, we often worked with clients to help them uncover their brand personality and use it to communicate with an audience online. We also launched our Phlywheel, our DIY marketing community, and discovered that when it came to branding (oh-so-important), entrepreneurs often struggled with coming up with a brand voice.
We looked at tons of popular “brand personality” exercises out there, and honestly, we were disappointed by how vague they were. (What the heck does being an “experimental” brand mean as a personality trait?)
When it comes to personality, corporate buzzwords like “integrity” and “transparency” aren’t going to cut it. What’s your sense of humor? How do you sound when responding to a customer? What tone do you use on social media? What do you not sound like?
What is a brand personality, anyway?
We’re so glad you asked! First of all, a brand personality is different from a human personality. Humans organically form their personalities as they experience the world around them and grow. Brands, however, aren’t human (sorry!) and require some personality crafting to come alive (so to speak).
We approached designing the Brand Personality Cards with the intent to breathe as much human as we possibly can into your brand.
Here’s what constitutes a brand personality:
Sure, it seems like a lot of work. We know what you’re thinking…
Yes, your brand really does need a personality.
Today’s biggest brands, like Wendy’s, Nike, and Apple, have larger-than-life personalities, and customers eat it up. Unlike dry press releases and corporate brochures, you want your brand to have personality online. Think about the people or brands you follow on Twitter or TikTok or (god forbid) Facebook. Sure, they may have informative content or promos you’re interested in, but they’re probably also funny, interesting, or relevant.
Go strong, or go home. Playing it safe will lead to being ignored and forgotten.
Just look at Miriam Webster. Merriam-Webster came out of nowhere on social media and has now amassed over 800,000 followers on Twitter by having a strong personality. Lauren Naturale, the social media manager of the account, talked to NPR about the thinking behind the tweets:
“Smart people are curious about the world, and smart people are curious about the other people who live in that world,” Naturale told Vox. “Our Twitter reflects that attitude.”
Patagonia is another excellent example. Patagonia has been about standing for something and not backing down from it since day one, and they’ve amassed a lot of brand loyalty because of it.
What do these brands have in common? Strong, unique personalities that stand out on social media and attract their customers.
Blood sweat and tears: Designing a deck!
As an agency working with a new client, we would have a group “kick-off” session. Our team and the client would come together for half a day and use some creative, super valuable exercises to ensure that we were all on the same page. By far, the most engaging way to do this was with visual cues that allowed us to brainstorm.
We needed a product that would make our brainstorming sessions easy — that was clear. But an idea is one thing. Conceptualizing, designing, writing, branding, printing, and promoting this product (a card game, no less!) was quite another!
But we were determined. We already had a spreadsheet version of this game, which we’d made for workshops. We spent the next few months deciding how to gamify our process — choosing the right traits, tones, and types of humor (and writing hilarious descriptions), and designing the cards and box. This methodology comes directly from our decades of experience in creating incredible, unique brands. What you’ll learn (and the brand you’ll hone) using this deck is sourced from hundreds of hours of Truly and Phlywheel webinars, training sessions, case studies, and research.
Part of what makes Phlywheel as a brand so unique is our ability to blend insightful learning with fun and engaging delivery. This card deck is no different. Our playful, yet informative brand was actually created using a prototype version of this very deck! So, not only did we talk the talk, but we also walked the walk. Also, you see that snazzy looking octopus on the box? That’s Humphly. He’s part of our strategy to create likable mascots that signpost different aspects of our business. And guess how we figured out each mascot’s unique personality? That’s right.
On top of all the time, resources, and brainpower that we lovingly poured into this deck, the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard mid-way through our process. Our Chinese production factories shut down indefinitely. We weren’t sure if we could get our passion project off the ground. However, this did reveal an incredible opportunity for us to create a digital version of our brand deck alongside our physical version. Rest assured, this deck is now ready for brands (big and small) worldwide to take their personality to the next level.
In the end, the final deck contains:
- 330 cards with traits, definitions, and examples to help you craft your brand’s personality
- One set of instructions
- One card box to protect your deck
- And guidelines to help put your ideas into actions.
How it works
This is a great tool for workshops with clients and in-house marketing teams. It also helps you provide a framework for your brand, making collaboration between different departments much easier.
- Why did you pick these particular traits – safe, provocative, and the anti-traits? Discuss your choices.
- Do these go together logically? Do they contradict? If they do, how and why? (it’s okay to contradict, but you need to understand why)
- Would your customers want to hang out with a character like yours? How? Why? Why not?
- Are you potentially playing it too safe? Are you too worried about what being liked by everyone?
- Can you take these traits and list out how they would translate into a policy or even a Tweet?
Where can I check out this deck? Support our Kickstarter!
Creating a physical product in the middle of a pandemic was never our intention. But we really believe that this deck can help anyone — solopreneurs or start-ups starting an e-commerce business, entrepreneurs launching a new brand, established brands trying to reach new audiences and agencies who want to impress their clients.