How Your Halloween Costume Conveys Your Brand Persona
October 30, 2015
Halloween may be an opportunity to conduct a brand discovery session on yourself. Whether funny, scary or daring – the costume you choose is essentially an outward expression of your brand personality. Your costume allows you to convey a message to your audience and elicit a response. It enables you to show off your creativity and imagination – and even expose your true inner self.
According to Dr. Scott Bea, psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, our real personalities can shine through when we dress up.
“As human beings we’re often inhibited if people can recognize us or know who you are,” he says. “If we put on a mask or an outfit, all of a sudden we can be somebody else, and the range of our behavior gets to expand and we have a little bit more fun.
“They say we can only let about 20 percent of our real personality leak out in our workplace. When you’re being a parent you have to conform to a certain set of standards, but on Halloween we get to play a little bit, so we can expand the range of who we are in a real pleasant and fun way.”
So what brand personas are some of the popular types of costumes channeling? Here’s a Halloween costume analysis from Huffington Post:
Good for you! You are well-read, love academics and favor history to reality TV. Halloween is your time to honor it.
- Obvious Explanation: You really want people to look at you and say, “Aha! Benjamin Franklin!” but most likely people will look at you and say, “Who are you supposed to be?” Prepare yourself.
- Not-So-Obvious Explanation: I think dressing up as a historical person is a lovely way to make a statement on a silly holiday. You educate people (Buzz Aldrin–you know the SECOND guy to land on the moon?), you encourage people to Google the name you mention (I’m Jean-Paul Sartre… that’s Jean-Paul with a dash and spelled S-A-R…) and it gives you an excuse to talk about your favorite conversational topic (So who’s your favorite historical leader, living or dead?).
The Funny Guy (or Gal)
Did you dress up as Barney the purple dinosaur? How about the Kool Aid guy? If your number one goal was to make people laugh with your costume then you are the funny guy (or gal).
- Obvious Explanation: You like to bring joy to the world. Bringing a smile to people’s face is the best part of your day.
- Not-So-Obvious Explanation: You’re proving to people how funny you are. Wearing a funny Halloween costume is a little like when actors read pre-written jokes off a teleprompter during an awards ceremony. You have had all year to come up with your funny costume — so yeah, you get some credit, but it’s not necessarily an indicator of how funny you really are.
The Sex Pot
If you wander the aisles of Halloween stores, you are guaranteed to overhear girls saying something along the lines of “How low is too low?” and “If I show my legs can I also show cleavage?” And you know the guy who takes his shirt off at every (non-Halloween) opportunity? He will DEFINITELY have his shirt off for Halloween (think 300, Michael Phelps or Baywatch).
- Obvious Explanation: Halloween is the one time of year where girls can wear almost nothing in public and not be called a slut (behind her back). And guys with 6-packs can walk around without a shirt.
- Not-So-Obvious Explanation: You work hard for your body. You don’t eat white food, you do lots of sit-ups and you want to show it off. Good for you. If you got it, why not flaunt it?
Something in a Recycled Box
A washing machine. A robot. A rectangular R2D2 . You’ve repurposed a giant box and turned it into a brilliant costume.
- Obvious Explanation: You’re an upcycler — the new recycle. You take something and give it a new purpose and use. It’s cheaper, it’s clever and it saves you from having to breakdown the cardboard and squeeze it into your garbage chute.
- Not-So-Obvious Explanation: I have this theory that people who have any kind of cardboard box costume are really frickin’ awesome. It seems like my favorite people who are super cool have tackled this costume. I think this is because the Box costume takes ingenuity (cutting cardboard isn’t easy), courage (it’s really hard to fit into cars and some doors) and authenticity (let’s be real, a box ain’t so sexy but it’s definitely eye catching).
Anything with fake blood falls into the scary category. So do zombies, grotesque anatomy related makeup and references to frightening characters.
- Obvious Explanation: You love practical jokes, jumping out of closets and playing this Youtube video for your friends:
- Not-So-Obvious Explanation: You secretly like the dark side. Maybe you spent a few months as a goth in high school or maybe you like dark and brooding makeup. Here’s your excuse to take a trip to the darker arts.
It’s too soon for Hitler. It’s too soon for Hurricane Katrina. It’s too soon for Columbine.
- Obvious Explanation: Ok, so you didn’t run this idea by your best friend. I believe you — it was supposed to be funny and fell flat. Turn your shirt inside out and say you’re an obscure reality TV star. People will forgive you.
- Not-So-Obvious Explanation: You hate Halloween and this is a really clever way to make people uncomfortable and be asked to leave the party early. SCORE! An excuse to turn off all the lights and watch Netflix.
The Pair or Group
Are you usually a dynamic duo? Have you been someone’s Ivanka to their Donald? A Minnie to someone’s Mickey? Have you dressed up as a big group of Smurfs?
- Obvious Explanation: Dressing up with someone else makes Halloween a multi-day experience. You get to brainstorm with friends, shop together and get ready all day. It extends the joys of Halloween beyond the night.
- Not-So-Obvious Explanation: You want to go wild, BUT you need a security blanket. Dressing up with friends makes it easier to go crazy and assures that you will not be left alone during the festivities. A duo also helps you claim your partner — you know who you’re going home with.
Some of my favorite clever costumes: An identity crisis (someone with a bunch of different name tags on their shirt), Tropical Depression (someone in a Hawaiian shirt holding a bottle of Prozac) and Judgement Day (someone holding a calendar and a gavel).
- Obvious Explanation: You’re super clever and you want your costume to show it.
- Not-So-Obvious Explanation: You’re tired of having to freeze your bum off dressed in a tiny maid costume or you’re tired of hobbling home after a night in “fireman heels.” You’ve decided to use your brain not your body.
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