When building a brand, we often focus on the most elementary aspects: colors, logo, tone, vision, target audience, marketing strategies, etc.

These are indispensable to give our brand a voice. But lately, many brands are taking a more abstract approach to brand identity. Brand personification is a way to connect with your audience and build your brand from a more tangible, or if you will, abstract setting.

Take a deep breath because we’re about to break it down for you…

What’s Brand Personification, Anyway?

Brand personification is a technique that seeks to make people think of brands as if they were people who think and feel. It allows brands to connect with their audience uniquely by endowing their brand with “human” qualities. 

Humanized branding allows brands to start a conversation with customers and establish a bond by showcasing their brand’s personality.

When personifying your brand, the result should be an accurate picture of the values upon which the brand is built. The public will notice if you force personification to be something your brand is not. 

Taking Brand Personification To The Next Level

To establish person-to-person relationships with customers, brands choose imaginary characters or ambassadors that embody their values. 

We know that TikTok has gained a considerable number of users in the last two years, and brands are using the platform to promote what they offer as a marketing strategy. The curious thing about TikTok is that the platform recaptures human connections on social networks, and some brands are leveraging it in their marketing strategy. 

Let’s look at how Duolingo and RyanAir are capitalizing on brand personification.

Duolingo: Thanks to its brand personification technique, the famous language learning app is a TikTok sensation. They’ve brought to life their app mascot, Duo, a green owl that will guilt you when you’re not logged in to do your homework (Don’t make Duo sad).

In TikTok, Duo is a character who defines himself as “just an owl tryna vibe,” and gosh, this owl sure knows how to vibe.

Duolingo TikToks features Duo following several trends to promote Duolingo’s services. Duo makes fun of himself and the app in these videos while singing Taylor Swift songs and posting content dedicated to Dua Lipa. This brand has around 26.7 million views per video and has 4.2 million followers on the app. 

Duolingo’s strategy? Post regularly, use trends to promote its services and reinforce them by incorporating the brand’s message. By prioritizing community engagement, Duolingo has boosted its TikTok account. 

RyanAir: This airline is well known for its affordable flights and operates in 40 countries. It has 1.6 million followers and over 11.4 million views on its posts, and its comments section is a bit controversial, to say the least, every time they post.

RyanAir uses a sassy talking airplane character and trending audios to promote its low-cost flights. “Catch flights, not feelings” is their TikTok account’s bio. 

What is their strategy? Ryan Air focuses on straightforward communication and lots of punchlines—the great thing about comedy is that it is subjective— RyanAir also uses hashtags, short and funny captions, and lots of emojis. They’ve also collaborated with brands like Duolingo! 

These two brands are perfect examples of how brand personification and comedy could increase engagement and reach new audiences to promote your brand. 

Challenges Of Brand Personification

Brand personification has its challenges, and some niches may find it more complicated to give their brands human traits for various reasons.

For example, some sectors would lose credibility if they were to give their brands human traits in an attempt to exploit a trend. It is hard to conceive of a scenario in which a mortgage broker or financial adviser engages with potential clients through videos of a man dancing in a giant pen costume dressed in a suit. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

There is no defined path to exploiting the gold mine that seems to be the personification of your brand. There are several ingenious ways to bring “color” to your brand’s persona, and we invite you to explore what works for your brand. If done correctly, you can increase your brand’s customer engagement, loyalty, and retention.

Do you think you can use this technique for your brand? Tell us about it in the comments!