personal character

Congratulations! You’ve just landed the leading role… in your brand. As the founder/CEO/creator/influencer, you are the star of your show. Whether you’re an extrovert or not, you’ll be in the spotlight. Even if you’re not showing your face often, your ideas, your interests, and your shortcomings will be.


One of our favorite tools for clarifying a brand is the Character Diamond. David Freeman is a Hollywood screenwriter and teacher. He’s been called a “script guru.” He’s also the creator of Beyond Structure, a seminar that helps writers create more emotionally riveting characters and dialogue.


He came up with this concept of the Character Diamond.


But in recent years, marketers have started to understand the power of this Hollywood tool in crafting a dynamic and interesting brand. 


Basically, the idea is to create a character for yourself or the persona of your company the same way writers create one for characters. It clarifies the energy you represent and makes you more believable, authentic, and easier to connect with.


The character diamond is a tool for articulating your public persona. It’s an acknowledgment of your best and worst attributes as well as an exercise in personal awareness. 


Use this exercise to identify what pieces of you will be a part of your brand.



Primary Character Trait


Start your inner exploration off by first establishing your Primary Character Trait. This is your North Star, your mission statement, your core, and the driving force of your being. It’s a tall order, but being sure you know EXACTLY what your main motivation is (aka your why) should happen before you even make your first branding move, if possible. 


To identify this trait, ask yourself a few questions:


  • Why do/did I want to start this brand?
  • Who am I doing this for?
  • What am I seeking to change in the world?


Identifying your primary character trait gives you the basis for all future creations in your business. Every piece of content, marketing maneuver, and product development plan should connect directly with this. 



As important as it is to know your why, it’s equally important to know where you draw the lines. This is “the hill you die on…”


For some, this a sort of “Do no harm” oath. Here are a couple of examples:


If you have a protein bar company where you use only natural ingredients, your primary might be to provide the healthiest source of on-the-go protein possible. Your non-negotiable might be the use of any synthetic ingredients or preservatives. 


If you’re a doula who shares about natural and home births, your why might be to offer educated information to expectant mothers on these topics. Your Non-negotiable might be avoiding the spread of misinformation, where you never share content that you haven’t experienced or researched yourself. 


A non-negotiable is at its core, a boundary. It’s a helpful reminder of what you do and don’t stand for to keep you in check with your values. 


Secondary Character Trait


This is the yin to the Primary Character Trait’s yang. It’s what holds you back or what creates conflict within your brand. It isn’t always a shortcoming, but it can have a negative impact (on you or your audience). 


Are you something of a pushover? Do you hold a strong, but controversial viewpoint? Is tough love your top method for motivating? 


Your secondary trait is likely to be something about your brand that isn’t for everyone. Your true fans may not mind it, but it could repel others. Being mindful of this second trait helps you brace for the reaction to it as well as curb it when the occasion calls for it. 




Finally, it’s the thing we all have that we try to hide. Mostly from ourselves. Everyone has a true blue imperfection that creeps its way into our brand. Maybe you’ve got a potty mouth even though you run in fairly clean-cut circles. Or perhaps you’ve been known to disappear from your online platforms for stretches without warning. Could even be that you just have zero patience so everything you release jumps the gun a bit. 


Point to that, call it by its name and come to terms with how it might affect you and your business. 


Get to know yourself like an author gets to know their characters. Not just on the surface, but deep down into all the gears that move you. It doesn’t mean you have to change a thing. It just means you’re prepared for YOU and what your personality brings to the table. 


If you’re interested in learning more about the Character Diamond and how we can help you leverage it for your own brand, get in touch here. 


CEO + Creative Director at Elly and Nora Creative
Sara Chambers is a brand strategist and the CEO of Elly and Nora Creative, a full-service creative agency focused on building and activating brave, bold, and brag-worthy brands.