How To Define Brand Attributes [Inc Examples]

Brand Attributes

In the contemporary landscape, brands are evolving to embody more human-like qualities, and brand attributes are gaining significant importance in this transformation. As humans, we naturally assign meaning to various elements in our environment, a primal instinct honed over millions of years for our survival. This instinct helps us quickly assess whether something signifies safety or peril. This tendency to assign meaning isn’t limited to people and creatures but extends to inanimate objects and, yes, brands.

In this discussion, we will explore the growing significance of brand attributes in shaping the relationship between brands and consumers. Understanding how to define these attributes is crucial in attracting and engaging your audience effectively.

What exactly are Brand Attributes?

Brand attributes encompass the qualities, features, behaviors, or nature that we associate with a particular brand. These attributes are not inherent but are assigned by the individuals who interact with the brand. It is the audience’s perception that shapes these characteristics. Over time, these attributes become integral to the brand’s reputation and identity, forming a collective understanding of who the brand is and what it stands for.

Why Are Brand Attributes Important?

Brand attributes are crucial because, despite our advancements, humans still operate from primitive instincts. Our decisions are predominantly made in the ancient part of our brain, the reptilian brain, rather than the logical neo-cortex. This primitive brain, developed over 500 million years, is wired for survival, constantly seeking to keep us alive. Attributes play a vital role in this process.

Our brains function more efficiently when they can easily comprehend something, leading to quicker survival decisions. Neural connections and shortcuts are created as our brains experience consistent attributes. These connections form an image of what the brand represents. Brands can influence this perception by defining the attributes they want to convey, shaping the meaning associated with their identity.

How To Establish Brand Attributes

Defining brand attributes is essential for creating a genuine connection with your audience. To embark on this process effectively, follow this three-step strategy:

Understand Your Audience’s Personality

Connecting with your audience on a human level is at the core of defining brand attributes. Since your audience consists of individuals with unique attributes and personalities, understanding these traits is crucial. The better you comprehend your audience and their personality traits, the more adeptly you can develop brand attributes that resonate with them.

Define the Meaning You Want to Convey

Once you have a clear understanding of your audience and the personalities that attract them, the next step is to determine the image you want to establish in their minds. Ask yourself this question: When our audience thinks of our brand, what do we want them to understand?

By answering this question, you can pinpoint the specific attributes and qualities you wish your brand to be associated with. This clarity sets the foundation for crafting a compelling and authentic brand identity that aligns with your audience’s preferences and values.

Uncovering Attributes Aligned With Your Intended Meaning

With a clear understanding of the image you wish to convey to your audience, the next step becomes more straightforward. Attributes are essentially distinct characteristics that amalgamate to create meaning.

Starting from the desired meaning, you can work backward and ask the question: Which attributes align with the meaning we want to portray? By addressing this question, you’ll identify the specific brand attributes that will shape your brand personality. These attributes serve as the foundational elements that constitute your brand’s identity.

Brand Personality vs Brand Attributes

Brand personality is a key component of modern brand strategy, representing the human aspect of the brand, and making it more relatable. The distinction between personality and attributes lies in the fact that personality is the amalgamation of attributes, traits, characteristics, and behaviors that define a brand. Certain attributes, when combined, create distinct personalities recognized instinctively. Modern brands utilize these personalities, often represented as archetypes, to enhance their human-like and relatable qualities.

Brand attributes are subtle yet powerful elements that influence how we perceive the world’s biggest brands. When we think about certain brands, we often recall their logos or products. However, beneath the surface, these brands are defined by a unique set of characteristics and associations that shape our perception of them.

Examples Of Brand Attributes

Harley Davidson

Consider Harley Davidson, a brand synonymous with motorcycles. For some, it conjures images of impeccably crafted bikes, while for others, it might evoke the image of a tattooed biker with a mustache. These perceptions are crafted by the experiences, direct or indirect, that individuals have had with Harley Davidson. The brand attributes associated with Harley include traits like rebel, outlaw, rugged, gritty, and American, among others. These attributes form a vivid picture in our minds, subtly influencing our view of the brand.


Renowned for its iconic status, Apple epitomizes a lifestyle rather than just a product. The brand’s attributes revolve around imagination, innovation, and creativity, all geared toward fulfilling human needs. Apple’s simplistic yet sleek designs emphasize product focus, eschewing flashy gimmicks in favor of showcasing the technology itself. This approach ensures that Apple products are remembered for their quality, not catchy slogans.


With its iconic slogan “Just Do It,” Nike exudes empowerment and inclusivity. The brand consistently reinforces its attributes through bold statements rather than mere content. Nike thrives on challenges, encouraging its audience to push boundaries and strive for greatness.


Volkswagen is synonymous with reliability and durability, whether evoking images of classic hippie vans or robust modern vehicles. The brand’s attributes emphasize honesty and practicality, eschewing flashy innovations in favor of timeless quality. Volkswagen’s iconic “Think Small” campaign from 1959 remains emblematic of its brand ethos centered on simplicity and trustworthiness.


A bastion of timeless style, Levi’s brand attributes encompass empathy, originality, integrity, and courage. The brand prioritizes shopper-centricity, offering classic designs and repair services to foster a lasting relationship with customers. Levi’s rejects fleeting trends in favor of enduring quality, positioning itself as a beacon of authenticity in a sea of fast fashion.

Final Thoughts on Brand Attributes

It’s now time to define the attributes that will define your brand’s essence. However, remember that these traits and qualities become impactful only when consistently and purposefully integrated into your brand communication. Repetition of these attributes creates neural connections in the minds of your audience, reinforcing the meaning you’ve established for your brand.

Feel free to share your insights on defining brand attributes and the significant role personality plays in shaping a brand. Your comments are valuable contributions to the ongoing conversation on branding strategies.

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