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What is a Brand Avatar? The Key to Consistent & Impactful Branding

You have a product, not a business, and for that reason, I’m out.

You’ve probably heard one of the “sharks” on Shark Tank say something like this, and it makes a ton of sense.

They’re making a distinction between having a single successful item and having a fully developed, scalable, and sustainable business model. Further, when they can’t see the business beyond the product, they don’t invest (usually).

The reason they avoid investing is simple: if you want a business that can support you, your family, and your dreams, you need a business, not a product.

A “business” is a systematic process of that involves production, marketing, and sales, all coordinated to efficiently reach and serve a target market. A business has a systematic approach that ensures a continuous cycle of revenue generation, fueled by customer demand, market strategies, and the effective management of resources and operations.

While this definition clearly defines a “business,” we all know that success requires more than a system, it needs to be recognized as well. That’s what “branding” means… the recognition of a business or entity.

The problem is that starting a business is easy… turning it into a “brand” is much more difficult.

A Good Business Isn’t Enough, You Need a Good Brand

A good brand effectively communicates its core values, mission, and unique selling points, establishing a recognizable, strong, and positive connection with its target audience. It engenders trust and loyalty, leading to increased customer retention and advocacy.

It differentiates itself in the marketplace, providing a competitive edge and enabling more effective marketing. It can achieve sustainable growth, higher market share, and improved financial performance, ultimately contributing to the long-term success and resilience of the business.

A “good brand” is hard to visualize and even harder to achieve… we need to relate it to something that we can easily understand first.

Can you think of something that sticks around for a long time, say 50-100 years? Something that changes constantly but maintains a core set of features the entire time? Something that rides the waves of growth and failure, major and minor events, non-stop evolutions and changes, all while maintaining an undeniable consistency the entire time?

It’s people. People do all of these things.

They are born, they learn and grow, they progress and regress, all while following a linear path that displays the development of a single, recognizable entity.

We all have a “brand” whether we acknowledge it or not. Internally you can it your “soul.” Externally, we usually call it your “personality.”

The truth is, your brand evolves just like people do.

It grows and changes with the times. It sets goals and tries to progress. It establishes relationships and community. It builds reputation and authority. It’s born and it will die.

With all of these similarities, why not simply imagine your business as a person, then use it to drive a consistent, progressive image for your brand?

That’s where the Brand Avatar comes into play.

The Brand Avatar: Your Business as a Person

A “Brand Avatar” refers to the conceptual embodiment or personification of a brand’s identity and values. It is a tool used by businesses to create a more relatable and human-like representation of their brand.

Just as a “Customer Avatar” represents a target market or ideal customer, the “Brand Avatar” symbolizes the brand itself. It encompasses all aspects of the brand’s personality, ethos, and style, guiding branding strategies, style guides, advertising, and content creation.

This personification makes it easier for both the company and its customers to understand and relate to the brand, ensuring consistency and coherence in all marketing and communication efforts.

The Brand Avatar serves as a central character or persona that embodies the brand’s mission, vision, values, and attributes, providing a clear and consistent image that represents the company across all platforms and interactions.

Better yet, the Brand Avatar can be used internally for improved decision making, management efficiency, and ideation, and externally for improved recognition, consistency, and understanding.

Here are just a few of the benefits your business can gain through the establishment of a Brand Avatar:

  • Brand Consistency: A Brand Avatar provides a clear and consistent image of what the brand stands for. This consistency is crucial across all platforms and marketing materials, helping to build recognition and trust among consumers.
  • Efficiency in Decision Making: With a well-defined Brand Avatar, businesses can make quicker and more consistent decisions regarding marketing strategies, design choices, and other brand-related decisions, as they have a clear reference point.
  • Enhanced Brand Loyalty: A relatable and well-crafted Brand Avatar can foster a stronger emotional connection with customers, leading to increased brand loyalty. Customers are more likely to stay loyal to a brand that they feel understands them and shares their values.
  • Facilitates Brand Evolution: As market trends and consumer preferences change, a Brand Avatar can evolve while maintaining the core essence of the brand. This evolution helps the brand stay relevant and appealing to its audience.
  • Flexibility with Market Conditions & Product Offerings: A Brand Avatar can adapt to changing market conditions and shifts in product offerings, ensuring the brand remains cohesive and recognizable even as it grows or pivots.
  • Improved Targeting & Personalization: Understanding the brand’s personality and values through the Brand Avatar helps in crafting more targeted and personalized marketing campaigns, which are more effective in engaging the intended audience.
  • Streamlined Communication & Messaging: A Brand Avatar serves as a guide for how the brand communicates, ensuring messaging is consistent, clear, and reflective of the brand’s values and personality.
  • Competitive Differentiation: A unique Brand Avatar can set a business apart from competitors, highlighting its unique qualities and providing a distinct market position.
  • Easier Internal Alignment: Having a Brand Avatar helps ensure that everyone within the organization understands the brand’s identity, leading to better alignment and cohesion in internal and external communications.
  • Increased Brand Value & Equity: Consistency, recognition, and emotional connection built through a Brand Avatar contribute to increased brand value and equity over time.
  • Enhanced Customer Understanding: By personifying the brand, businesses can better understand and anticipate customer needs and preferences, leading to more effective product development and customer service strategies.
  • More Effective Advertising & Marketing: With a clearly defined Brand Avatar, advertising and marketing efforts can be more precisely tailored, leading to higher engagement and better ROI.

You might be wondering, “If Brand Avatars are so useful, why don’t more businesses have them?” The truth is, they do, and some are extremely successful.

Successful Businesses Driven By Brand Avatars

There are many businesses, both large and small, that have effectively used the concept of the Brand Avatar to become successful and stay that way.

The Big Ones

The success of some businesses is significantly influenced by the popularity of their founders or leaders. These individuals or characters, which I call Brand Avatars, often become synonymous with the brand, enhancing its appeal and recognition.

Apple Inc.

Co-founded by Steve Jobs, whose charisma and innovative vision became central to Apple’s brand identity, greatly influencing its success. Even now, current leaders maintain Steve’s appearance and mentality.

Amazon

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has become a well-known public figure, with his entrepreneurial success story contributing to the brand’s image and growth.

Martha Stewart Living

Martha Stewart’s expertise and personality in home making and lifestyle significantly contributed to the success of her brand.

Telsa, Inc.

Elon Musk, known for his ambitious and sometimes controversial persona, has become closely associated with Tesla’s brand, impacting its popularity and customer loyalty.

The Smaller Ones

Brand Avatars aren’t just for big businesses; in fact, small businesses can benefit even more. The following are businesses that I’ve personally worked with over the years that have built successful brands.

Vintage Soul TX (https://vintagesoultx.com/)

The owner of Vintage Soul, Julie, has established and maintains a successful and growing women’s clothing boutique near Austin, Texas. Her personality shines through all of her branding and product selections, and her contributions on her social media channels are directly connected to her success.

The Art of Anti-Aging (https://artofantiagingatx.com/)

The Art of Anti-Aging is owned by Corina Corbeille, and her content, imagery, services, and marketing accurately reflect her passion and skill for aesthetic facial treatments.

Indigo Healing Acupuncture & Massage (https://indigohealingacupuncture.com/)

Dr. Michelle Wendt, owner of Indigo Healing Acupuncture & Massage, is another living example of the impact of a Brand Avatar on a business. Her personal dedication to healing is reflected in her graphics, website, content, services, and social media presence.

Do Brand Avatars Have To Be a Person?

Whether the Brand Avatar represents an actual person or a fictional one, it doesn’t really matter.

It can be an entirely fictional entity (like a hired or created mascot) or it can simply represent the owner or other key member of the business itself. It can also be used privately, publicly, or both.

The key is to define the Brand Avatar, then use the definition to drive decision making. It should be constantly referenced as a person to guide content creation, as well as make decisions regarding anything that may impact branding.

How Do You Build a Brand Avatar?

Building a REAL brand avatar requires a comprehensive set of style guides (I recommend these 5 Style Guides if you want to check them out).

If you want to learn how to do the 5 style guides and create a brand avatar using AI, I recommend attending my AI-Branding Bootcamp starting in February 2024.