February 22, 2023
A Dog Trainer’s Guide to Creating a Brand Personality

word cloud around "brand" — blog post on creating a brand personality

Have you ever wondered what it is about your best friend that you love so much? I bet it’s not just because they’re kind, helpful, supportive, and just an all-round good person. Lots of people are like that, but best friends have something a little extra: they have a personality we love. Maybe it’s their quirky sense of humor. Or their ability to empathize with us and make us feel better — they get us and we get them. We have an emotional connection.

And it’s that human connection that is the critical component. People relate to people…

And This is Connected to Branding…How?

In our last blog post, we looked at how a brand is important to help your business stand out from other companies offering similar services to yours. However, the brands that do this the best — the ones that attract and keep loyal fans and customers — also have a strong brand personality. Why? Because they make the brand relatable and forge a human connection. I’ll say it again. People relate to people…not impersonal brands.

Successful brand personalities don’t just work to attract customers and clients that are a good fit for a business, they also repel those who aren’t. And from a business point of view that’s equally important for success. You don’t want to be working with people who are not going to get you!

Still confused? Think of your brand personality as the way your business communicates the core values that form the heart of your brand. Brand personalities don’t have to be bland, stiff, corporate, or boring to be professional. It’s better to be warm, engaging, and personable (or even a bit quirky, if that’s your style!). Your brand personality should give prospective clients an idea of what it would be like to work with you and your business; who you are and how you operate. 

Brand Personality in Action:

Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine what a brand personality might look like. Here are some excellent examples of brands that display great personalities:

Advertising Examples:

1. Old Spice

The sales angle: “the man your man could smell like.”  This video clearly demonstrates humor, tongue-in-cheek sexiness, and a bit of romantic cliché. Although the product is a men’s personal care range, the ad is aimed at female shoppers because women are often household shoppers. 

2. Dollar Shave Club

The sales angle: “stop paying for shave tech you don’t need.” The ad is aimed at male shoppers who just want to get the job done without spending money on bells and whistles, or having to remember to go shopping! It uses a down-to-earth humorous approach that lets the viewer feel they’re seeing right into the heart of the company and the people behind it.

3. Lume and Poo-Pourri

The sales angle: “deal with nature’s stenches with a (tongue-in-cheek) smile on your face.” These Lume and Poo-Pourri videos tackle socially awkward problems with hilarious parodies of sophistication.

Website Examples:

1. Trader Joes

This website uses imagery and copy to exude personality.  If “Trader Joe” was a real person, they’d believe in selling good food with old-fashioned values, no-nonsense straight talking. They’d do it with a side dish of humor while providing personalized service — the sort you used to get at the local grocery store. You can almost imagine them wearing a grocer’s apron. They’d be polishing (gourmet!) apples, answering questions about their merchandise and sharing recipes with their customers — and probably be on first name terms with them too.

2. Plucky

Business management with a twist. Business-to-business service doesn’t get much more corporate than business management and you’d expect this website to be dry, stuffy and, well, dull. This website is anything but. From the striking purple-tinted hero image to the opening copy — “So…how’s work?” — this site screams “we’re different! And working with us will be too.” But the website also projects professionalism. It’s clear, well-designed, informative, and easy to navigate.  

3. Middle Finger Project

Ash Ambirge is a “business guru” for women wanting to reinvent their lives by being entrepreneurs. Her website is LOUD! It pulls no punches — the clue is in the name. From in-your-face fonts and colors to copy that provokes and enlivens, you can’t get away from the message that Ash doesn’t do half measures and won’t back down from challenges. And that’s what she wants for you, too. If you work with Ash, Things. Will. Get. Done. But the site still embodies professionalism. The design is clean and clear, the copy flawless.  

4. The Grumpy Grammarian

Offering copy editing services (and copywriting training), Autumn Tompkins’ website is loaded with personality. Playing on the stereotype of the ‘grammar police’, that often grumpy person who will pick up on every little error of grammar and punctuation, Autumn easily convinces you that she’s the best at what she does — and working with her will turn your cruddy copy into polished prose. She blends wit, sarcasm, and humor to make her site engaging — a tough call for a subject that many people find boring and challenging in equal measure.  

What Does This Mean for Dog Trainers?  

The takeaway for dog trainers is that you don’t have to be stuffy and boring to be professional. Let your personality shine through your brand image and messaging. Emphasize the aspects of your personality that make you great at what you do. What makes you unique in your approach, beliefs, and attitude?

Here are two dog training businesses with almost polar opposite business personalities: Absolute Dogs and Hannah Branigan. Absolute Dogs is loud, in-your-face, “instant gratification” (change your life with 3-minute games) dog training. Hannah Branigan is super nerdy, all about the details and the science — and maybe just a tiny bit reserved. But both are very successful positive dog training businesses. And both will strongly appeal to, and repel, certain people. Most importantly, both are very professional in how they present themselves, with well-designed websites and clear, errorless copy.

How to Create a Brand Personality

Now that you’ve decided you want to add personality to your brand — how might you go about it?

Firstly, who are you as a person? If you do most of the face-to-face client work, it makes sense to blend your own personality into your business branding. After all, you ARE the business if you’re a one-person operation. You need your brand personality to be authentic, which means how you naturally behave needs to mesh with how your brand portrays you. If you’re stuck, ask friends and family to describe how they think of you. Or ask yourself: if your business were a dog, what breed would it be? And why?

Next you need to consider your target audience. Who do you want to attract (or repel)? What are their personality traits? Young, busy, no time for contemplation? Or more mature and thoughtful? Obviously, I’m using exaggerated stereotypes as examples here! But the fact is, keeping the needs, fears and desires of your ideal clients in mind while you create your brand personality will help your brand resonate with your audience. You can also read more about marketing personas — i.e., your target audience — in our blog post here.

Now you’ve got a personality blueprint — a list of descriptive words to help guide you as you create content and marketing material. Start applying those concepts to your imagery and copy. Make sure to be consistent across everything you do. In your written/verbal material your voice should be consistent even if the tone changes depending on the requirements of the piece you’re producing. Nothing comes across as flaky more than inconsistencies in how you present your business.   

(If you’d like a deeper dive on personality in branding, here’s a definitive guide from Brand Master Academy to get you started.)

Want personalized help with your branding? Contact us for custom marketing consulting.


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