Defining Brand Personality Traits

In the first of this two-part series, we explore Tagboard’s recent brand identity journey and how we discovered our brand personality traits.

In the summer of 2019, Tagboard underwent a brand identity transformation in a true “Nothing Is Sacred” fashion. We wanted to evolve our look-and-feel, and align our brand voice, to not only refresh our materials, but invigorate ourselves and our brand.

We were strategic and creative in how we approached this effort and polled voluntary employees on how to best represent our brand.

The Attributes Exercise

We followed Bruno Bergher’s “A Lightweight Branding Exercise for Startups”, which is akin to the card-sorting techniques that designers often employ. We modified the exercise to follow these three steps:

  1. Brainstorm brand attributes and sort between “wants” & “don’t wants”
  2. Group the “wants” by category
  3. Convert the categories into personality traits

Brainstorming Attributes

For step one, the Tagboard team spent about 10 minutes brainstorming brand attributes on Post-It notes.

We then categorized each attribute into a “yes” or “no” bucket. “Yes” meaning that we wanted to be associated with that attribute and “no” being the opposite.

Brainstorming Attributes

In case you’re curious, some of the “no” attributes included: traditional, passive, flashy, and cheap.

Grouping the “Yeses”

Now that the first step was complete, we brought this pile of sticky notes back to the office, where we categorized similarly-worded attributes.

For example, one Post-It cluster contained the words: stylish, stand out, colorful, & bold.  If we were uncertain how an attribute fit within the cluster, we’d put it aside and go back to it later. At the end, although we had a small set of outliers, we had major groupings.

Grouping the "Yeses"

What’s the Category?

Having essentially performed affinity mapping for the second step, it was now time to specify an umbrella term for each category. For some groups, it was easy to select a representative word from one of the Post-Its. Others required a bit more discussion.

For instance, one of the groups emphasized the significance of being relationship-focused at Tagboard. We want to support and enable our partners in telling their stories. In this case, the key word is simply to be “focused,” in our attention and in our work.

In the end, we defined 12 words that describe Tagboard’s brand personality: bold, dynamic, efficient, expert, fun, innovative, proactive, real, focused, resilient, sleek, & versatile. Each word is chosen to be meaningful and expansive.

Tagboard's Brand Personality words

It took less than two weeks to hold a kickoff and run through all three steps of this branding exercise.

In part two, we share how we involved folks in our organization in fun brand identity discussions like who we’d want as our celebrity spokesperson, which musical artist we represent, and other brands that we admire.

Ultimately, our brand personality and representations helped us create a new visual identity.