A brief, but definitive guide to determining what characteristics your restaurant brand has.

Brand personality is a set of characteristics, often human-like, that are attributed to a brand. A well-defined and developed brand personality gives consumers the ability to relate to the brand and develop a preference for it.

Let’s say you own a sushi restaurant in SoHo. Your customers describe the décor as authentic, the food as delicious, and the storefront modest. Your servers are passionate about providing awesome customer service. It sounds like your restaurant may already have a brand personality defined, but do you know what it is?

Brand Personality Defined

A brand is defined by the way it presents itself, the language it uses, and how it behaves. Just like human beings have different personalities that achieve distinction, so do brands. Imagine that a brand is a living person, named Malcolm. Malcolm is sassy, funny, and very sharp – he has many friends and is liked by others who share his sense of humor – though not everyone appreciates his witty comments. His posts on social media are popular with people in his age group, but most older people don’t see them. Malcolm appeals to a specific audience. Just as Malcolm has characteristics that define him and set him apart, so does your restaurant’s brand. By leveraging advertising, packaging, customer service, and all other aspects that encompass the brand, a personality is expressed that will appeal to a particular crowd.

If done successfully, your restaurant’s brand personality can increase brand value by creating a consistently enjoyable experience for certain consumer segments.

The 5 types of brand personality

The brand personality concept was developed by Jennifer L. Aaker in the 1990’s at Stanford. In advertising and marketing, these categories work as a framework to describe brands, adding depth and complexity and forming a brand personality.

The five types of brand personality are:

Sincerity – being down to earth, wholesome, unpretentious. Just like the sushi restaurant we invented in this intro.

Excitement – spirited, rebellious, imaginative. Dick’s Last Resort is a chain known for its outrageous, surly employees who dish out plenty of sarcasm and insults to their patrons alongside their fare. Feeling sensitive today? Don’t eat there – you may leave in tears.

Ruggedness – tough, wild, untamed, weathered. Dinosaur BBQ, Outback Steakhouse, and Holy Hog come to mind.

Sophistication – glamour, romance, intelligence. You’re a 4-star Michelin restaurant atop a high rise building in Manhattan. Your reservations are booked up months in advance.

Competence – responsible, efficient, reliable. Every time I walk into a Panera Bread, I get the same vibe throughout my experience and I know exactly what to expect.

Brand archetypes

Within brand personality, we have further categories called brand archetypes. Coined by psychologist Carl Jung, archetypes assign specific feelings and ideas to the foundational dimensions mentioned above.

restaurant_brand_personalityOne of the most inspirational brand archetypes is the Explorer, including brands such as Jeep, GoPro, and Patagonia which promote independence, ambition, and self-discovery. Another archetype that has a profound effect on consumers is the Hero archetype. Think of brands like Nike or BMW, which show consumers that they can overcome obstacles, slay dragons, and bring out the best in themselves and others.

How to choose your restaurant brand personality

While you may aspire to have a certain brand personality or archetype, you must first understand your audience and their values. Consider what your restaurant offers that truly distinguishes it from the rest, and how it relates to your audience. Take your restaurant’s atmosphere for example. The dining room is not just a place to buy and eat food, it’s an extension of your restaurant’s brand. So be sure it aligns with your audience and represents your brand personality.

Brand personality is the summation of all consumer experiences. It is unique and long-lasting. To learn more about developing your restaurant brand personality, contact us at Absolute Marketing Solutions and discuss our brand identity and design services. We can help you shape your restaurant’s brand personality to achieve success in the highly competitive hospitality industry.