For every client project I embark on, no matter what the details of the package, it all starts with a Brand Styling Brief. I’ve customized a few different versions to reflect different offerings I have, but I have one section towards the end that includes the same series of lighthearted questions introduced with — “now it’s time for the fun part!”.
Though these questions may seem somewhat trivial (and I do have clients who try to skip them altogether), I learn a lot from the answers given, as they really start to bring the personality of a brand to life.
WHY DEVELOP YOUR BRAND PERSONALITY?
It’s one thing to explain to me what you offer and who your ideal client is in professional, well-crafted “business speak”, but when I ask you to pick a cocktail that represents your brand? It starts to get fun. It gets your mind working in a whole new way, and there are some great insights that can be gathered from the more creative answers that tend to be given for these, serving as building blocks for any visual strategy.
What I’m essentially doing with this series of questions is building a brand profile, and it’s when the brand personality really starts to shine through. After a fairly intense series of questions where you’re attempting to capture the essence of your brand on paper, these “just for fun” questions feel like a breath of fresh air and tend to trigger a different part of your brain that makes for some creative (and revealing!) answers.
They help to identify and embrace the quirks and contradictions that make your brand stand out, as you think more abstractly about your brand and dive deep into the personality of your brand and identify details that may help you to tell your brand story, showcase your brand style and narrow in on your brand voice.
It also helps you to start to paint a clear picture of what the visuals for your brand might look like. Specific colours, textures, patterns, etc. start to emerge, and when it comes to inspiration gathering in the next phases of the brand exploration process, you're one step ahead.
THE QUESTIONS TO ASK
I’ve been tweaking this section in my Brand Styling Brief after realizing how valuable these could be, but I’ve finessed it to a series of 10 questions that I include at the end of each questionnaire now:
Imagine your brand were a person — how would you describe their personality?
If your brand were an outfit, what would it be? Get as detailed as possible — or show me a photo!
If your brand were a cocktail, what would it be and why?
If your brand were a vacation destination, where would it be?
If your brand were a weekend activity, what it would be?
If your brand were a room, what are three items I would find in it?
If your brand was a song, what would it be?
What quote, motto or mantra best represents your brand?
If you had to describe your brand as a contradiction, what would it be? (Ie. Pretty with an edge, Industrial Romance, Modern meets rustic)
If your brand were an era, what would it be and why?
You can see how these questions get you thinking about your brand in a different way, allowing you to identify the details and nuances that really bring your brand to life, especially when it comes to defining that visual strategy.
Go through your answers, and highlight or underline any words or insights that feel especially relevant, making notes about what stands out and what might be an opportunity for further exploration.
I’d recommend starting with these questions for your own brand, and then continue to build out your brand profile from there. Once you've finished that, take it to Pinterest and start building that inspiration board.