“The question isn’t “what” a brand is as much as the “who” a brand is.  Obviously, to be successful a brand has to function and fill a need or desire in the marketplace.  But that’s just tablestakes. It has to have the ability draw people to itself.

We gravitate towards brands that define and convey human traits. We are prone to form a longer lasting connection with brands that share the same human traits as those people who resonate, fascinate, inspire, or move us.

Brands that project characteristics of real people, resonate with real people.  After all, it’s hard for a brand to resonate with someone if that brand doesn’t have any human traits to resonate.   Think about someone you know.  The first person that comes to mind is holding a memorable place in your psyche.  What would be a one-word description of that person?  Smart? Quirky? Formidable? Sophisticated? Playful? Serious?  Now think about how that person dresses.  What’s his or her style? How does he or she speak, move, and behave?  Chances are you can spot that person from across the street or a crowded room.

Brands that draw us to them have the same types of human characterists as the cultural legends  who fascinated, inspired, and captivated us like Walt Disney,  Michael Jordon, Jackie Kennedy, Gloria Steinam, and Prince.

There’s also those unforgettable fictional movie characters like Vito Corleone, Scarlett O’ Hara, Luke Skywalker, Mrs. Robinson, Randle McMurphy, or Lara Croft. Their unique chemistries are a driving force behind a great story.  However, it doesn’t take an icon to enthrall us .  We also got attached to  characters like Pee Wee Herman, Don Draper, Chandler Bing,  Eleven, and Lucifer Morningstar.   Not only were they magnetic, they also visited us every week and we could depend on who they were to remain unchanged.

The funny thing is, we don’t actually know these people,  in fact many of them have been dead for 50 years or more. Yet their personhood is still alive and kicking in our collective memories. 

Try this:  Think of a brand that first comes to mind.  Now, if that brand was a famous person (living or not) or movie character, who would that person or character be?

See what I mean?