Brand Attributes: The Definitive Guide (+ Best Brand Examples)

Without question, the modern brand is becoming more human and brand attributes are playing a significant role.

As people, we instinctively assign meaning to things.

It’s a primitive survival instinct that has kept us alive for millions of years.

Our brains create shortcuts to help us to quickly understand whether something represents survival or danger.

We assign meaning to people, places, creatures, things and… you guessed it, brands.

In this article, you’ll learn why brand attributes are playing an increasingly important role in the brand-consumer relationship and how you can define attributes to attract your audience.

Without question, the modern brand is becoming more human and brand attributes are playing a significant role.

As people, we instinctively assign meaning to things.

It’s a primitive survival instinct that has kept us alive for millions of years.

Our brains create shortcuts to help us to quickly understand whether something represents survival or danger.

We assign meaning to people, places, creatures, things and… you guessed it, brands.

In this article, you’ll learn why brand attributes are playing an increasingly important role in the brand-consumer relationship and how you can define attributes to attract your audience.

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What Are Brand Attributes? (Top Brand Examples)

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What Are Key Brand Attributes?

Brand attributes are the characteristics we come to understand as being the quality, features, behaviour or nature of a brand.

Attributes are assigned to the brand by those who experience it and it’s this audience that develops a collective understanding of who the brand is and what it represents.

Over time the attributes associated with a brand become part of the it’s reputation and identity.

Why Are Brand Attributes Important?

As I touched on in the intro, as advanced as humans are, we’re still very primitive creatures.

We make most of our decisions in the primitive reptilian brain rather than the analytical neo-cortex which processes logic and reason.

Our primitive brains are 500 million years old. It still doesn’t know that we’re no longer hunting our prey and doing what we can to escape predators.

It’s still in the driving seat and it’s job is to keep us alive and attributes help it do that.

Brand Characteristics Help Us Understand

The easier our brain can understand something, the quicker it can make a survival decision so it’s constantly making neural connections and creating shortcuts.

The more we experience a brand and the more consistently we see the same characteristics, the more neural connections are made and meaning assigned.

In other words, our brains make neural connections through experiences which develop into an image about what that brand means.

When brands define the meaning they want the audience to have, they can define and display the attributes that will achieve that meaning.

Brand Personality vs Brand Attributes

Brand personality has become a cornerstone of modern brand strategy.

It is the human embodiment of the brand that allows the brand to be more human and relatable.

So what’s the difference between personality and attributes then?

Well the personality is the collection of attributes, traits, characteristics and behaviours that all come together to make up the personality.


Certain attributes when combined make up distinct personalities which we all recognise on an instinctive level. These personalities come together as archetypes which modern brands leverage to become more human and relatable.

Brand Attributes Examples

To show you just how effective brand attributes are, let’s uncover the attributes that some of the biggest brands in the world have aligned themselves with in your mind.

When we’re asked about certain brands, we tend to describe the logo or the products. But on a deeper level, that brand exists in your mind as a vivid picture developed by attributes and associations

We’re less likely to speak about these attributes, yet they are there, influencing how you see the brand.

Brand Attributes Of Harley Davidson

When you think of Harley Davidson, no doubt a masterpiece of a bike will spring to mind. Maybe you don’t care too much for bikes and you have an image of a moustache wearing a tattooed biker.

The experiences that you have had with Harley whether direct or indirect will form the attributes that you associate with the brand.

Here are the most commonly associated Harley Brand attributes

Rebel

Outlaw

Rebellious

Rugged

Gritty

Tough

Rough

American

Heritage

Timeless

Bold

Brand Attributes Of Mercedes

Mercedes is another Iconic brand in the automotive space but their image, associations and typical audience differ greatly.

Just like Harley, the neural connection and shortcuts your brand has created in your mind will be developed through your direct or indirect experiences with the brand.

Here are the most commonly associated Mercedes brand attributes.

First Class

Excellence

Superior

Luxury

Precision Engineering

Exclusivity

Status

Success

Sleek

Elegant

Design

How To Define Brand Attributes

So now you know your brand needs attributes to better connect with your human audience right?

But how do you decide what attributes your brand should display that will draw your customers in.

Well, buy following this three-step strategy of course.

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Step 1: Understand Your Audiences Personality

Defining brand attributes and personality is all about making your brand more human.

Because your audience is human, they already have their own attributes and personalities that define who they are as well as what they’re attracted to.

The more you understand about your audience and their personality the more effectively you can develop attributes that will appeal to them.

Step 2: Define The Meaning You Want To Own

Once you know who your audience is and the type of personality that draws them in, you need to define the image you want to create in the mind of your audience.

To do that, answer this question:

When our audience thinks of our brand, what do we want them to understand?

Step 3: Uncover Attributes That Align With That Meaning

Armed with the understanding you want to place in the mind of your audience, the next step becomes much easier.

Attributes are simply individual characteristics that work together for meaning.

Now you have the meaning you simply work backwards and answer the question

What attributes align with the meaning we want to own?

When you answer this question, you will have the brand attributes and raw materials that will become your brand personality.

Over To You

Time to define the attributes that will become what your brand is known for.

But remember, these traits and characteristics you define only become useful when you methodically and consistently use them time and again through your brand communication.

The more you do, the more neural connections you make in the mind of your audience and the more you will own the meaning you’ve defined for your brand.

Comment below to share your thoughts on defining your attributes and the role of personality in branding.