If I was to call a random sample of your customer or constituent base and ask them what words come to mind when they see your logo or hear your organisation name … what words do you think they would use?

Brand attributes are the personality characteristics of a brand and are often the same words you use to describe a person – which is important because at the end of the day, your goal is to build a (positive) relationship with your brand, just like you might with a person.

In order to explain the power of brand attributes in brand strategy workshops, I typically share a few iconic brand names/logos and ask what words pop into participants’ minds.


Volvo = almost 100% of my sample size say the same thing.  Can you guess?  Safe.

Apple = yep, innovative

Body Shop = ethical, natural.

This doesn’t happen by accident.

Recently I have worked with a number of organisations to help them define their brand attributes. For one organisation, it was ‘Reliable, Efficient and Local’, for another ‘Progressive, Trustworthy and Approachable’ and for another ‘Professional, Engaged and Regionally-Relevant’ (ok, that last one is technically two words, but you get the drift).

The thing about defining your brand attributes though, is that they need to be in sync with what your customers or constituents value.  Whilst ‘experienced’ might be important to a law firms’ clients, it’s probably not that important to customers of a surf wear retailer.

A proactive approach to determining what’s of value to your customers/constituents, determining what your brand attributes need to be (these could be aspirational) and then ensuring every touch point with your brand is reinforcing these attributes, are each critically important to developing and reinforcing your brand reputation.

So, what do you want to be famous for?