Shaping Your Brand’s Personality

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As a manager of a brand, it is important to ensure that the personality of your brand is communicated clearly to your audience.  However, often times the community reacts to and helps define the brand and its identity.  In those cases it is important to understand what values the consumers hold to the brand in order to create a lasting relationship with the audience.

One example of such a strategy is seen in the Applebee’s restaurant brand. Julia Stewart, the CEO of Applebee’s parent company DineEquity, spoke in an interview with Fast Company about how the brand manages it reputation within the community.

As a national brand, Applebee’s is often at the tail end of some joke about generic dining or restaurant chains, which, if handled poorly, can be a nightmare for a company.  But the team behind restaurant work continuously to engage in these types of discussions, rather than put them down. Knowing that there are videos goofing on Applebee’s or that people talk on social media about the brand in certain ways allows the company to understand exactly where they fit in to consumers’ minds.

By acknowledging and having fun with their brand personality, Applebee’s is able to manage the identity that their communities have given them. It works in their favor to adapt to and entertain the notion that they are not a serious company. As Stewart says in her interview, “This isn’t the Cuban missile crisis. It’s dinner.”

This is a lesson that any company can take to heart: Don’t force your brand to be something it isn’t. If you listen to your customers and develop the brand to include the values they see in it, you can be personable, genuine and persuasive without being overbearing or fake.

9 thoughts on “Shaping Your Brand’s Personality

  1. This is a really good way of looking/handling a potentially negative connotation from customers. I think that it really important for companies to embrace what the community is saying about them, even if it doesn’t include morphing your style to match as Applebees did. If you are aware of how customers view your brand, you are able to improve this and move towards obtaining the image that you want your brand to have. However, from a PR standpoint, I think that it may be beneficial to roll with the punches and have fun with the brand rather than trying to convince the customers that you are something that you are not.

  2. the worst thing Applebee’s can do is respond to a negative comment on a social media site. One reason is they will look like they are bullying the person who made the bad comment . Another reason is that fans of Applebee’s will most likely defend them on the social media sites. Also a reason is if the customer has a valid compliant it is best if Applebee’s treat their compliant seriously and react to it accordingly to avid the person from try to get their followers to not go to Applebee’s

  3. I think Applebee’s handle the situation well. It’s much harder to change someones image of a brand then to use the one that already exist. Applebee’s was able to take their preexisting image of “neighborhood restaurant” and improve on this. Applebee’s has currently changed their items offered on their menu and menu design. The menu has slogans such as ” see you next time”. These new changes reiterates the persona of being a generic neighborhood restaurant.

  4. I think this is a great way to handle brand personality. Current consumers believe Applebee’s to provide a certain type of dining, if Applebee’s were to try and fight that steriotype, they would have to make huge changes, internally and externally. It’s much easier to except their brand and build on it. Make it their own.

  5. This is a genius way to handle brand personality. I think that it was a really smart move on Applebee’s part to embrace the negativity individuals connect with and to market it. Its clear that they understand how to target the teenage market and they are doing a good job with it. The important thing I think they did was to keep to true to their brand as a neighborhood dining restaurant experience. I personally have not seen these adds air on TV yet but I imagine that it would in fact get teenagers attention. I wonder if any other restaurants such as their big competition Chili’s will attempt to go down the same route and what the affects of it will be.

  6. I really like the tagline to the article, “…Applebee’s is laughing all the way to the bank.” Because it is too true; the have found a way to mold the way their consumers view them and make it into their brand personality in a positive light. Sure, we may joke about Applebee’s every once in awhile, but when we describe Applebee’s we think of a casual, fun place to have dinner– which is exactly what they want us to think. I think they have also done a pretty good job doing the same thing with IHOP’s brand personality as well.

    I think a lot of the bigger, “more serious” companies out there could learn a lot through Applebee’s method. They (Applebee’s) are listening to their consumers and responding, which a lot of companies lack.

  7. This is something that can be applied to people. “Don’t pretend to be something you are not.” Embracing the brand personality a company possesses gives it more character and more respect. Switching personalities shows that it can’t be trusted because customers won’t know what to expect. Rather than trying to change who Applebee’s is as a brand, they’ve embraced the way community views them.

  8. Those who manage a companies image are a crucial part of the whole company. The managers of Applebee’s have been smart in marketing their brand image or shaping it to what customers think of it. This article truly is great. Once a company tried to be something it’s not, the community might fail to recognize the company and even see it in a negative light. Great article.

  9. Your band personality usually defines what type of business you are as a whole. You want customers to be able to recognize your brand for what it is, and not something that was faked in order to increase sales. Being real with people allows them to develop a trust within the company, which in turn makes them come back again and again.

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