Just like human beings, a brand soon assumes a personality. It is a set of characteristics associated with a brand. Drawing analogy with human personality, brand personality is unique, distinctive and enduring and provides the brand a differentiation from competitive offerings. It is built by the overall experience of the consumer with the brand , which inturn is affected by the expected value from the brand. There are many forces that act to construct a brand personality. Just like personality of a person are influenced by multiple forces associated with him like family, friends, education, traditional values, culture, education etc; brand personality is also created by interaction of multiple forces. Fig. 1.1 highlights the primary forces that create brand personality. The various forces working on building brand personality are- 1. Product class: These can be the primary drivers of brand personality. For e.g. athletic shoes tend to be young, lively, adventurous, rugged, outdoorsy etc. 2. Product related characteristics: Product attributes and marketing mix can strongly affect its perception in the minds of the consumer. For e.g. a high priced brand is wealthy, stylish and maybe even snobbish.
3. User Imagery: User imagery in the form of people who use the brand or those portrayed in advertisements can be a powerful driver of brand personality. They can arouse need recognition in the consumer and also lead to certain expectation being formed from the brand. 4. Sponsorships: Activities such as events sponsored by brands influence their personality. Consumer memory could be impacted by the event the brand sponsored and hence can impact brand personality. For e.g. Pond’s is associated with femineity and has been a traditional sponsor of Femina Miss India. 5. Age: How long the brand has been in the market can impact its personality. For e.g. Apple is considered to be a young brand while IBM is considered to be old fashioned and traditional.
6. Symbol: The symbol can have strong external association and could strongly impact recall value of the brand. For e.g. Apple’s bitten apple, Nike’s swoosh. Brand personality is of immense importance for any marketer. It enriches marketer’s understanding of how the consumer perceives the brand and the attitude of the consumer towards the product offering. This inturn can help the marketer to tailor his/her marketing strategy to appeal to the consumer psyche and to provide the consumer with a product in line with consumer’s expectations. All communications about the product offering are structured in line with the brand personality. The marketing campaign, tagline, brand colour, logo, brand ambassador are all designed and conceptualized keeping the brand personality as guideline. Most importantly, brand personality helps a marketer differentiate his/her product offering in the market place and create its own niche. For e.g. while Coke is considered to be a drink for all age groups, Pepsi is associated with youth and Gen X. Brand personality helps create a brand equity which can be leveraged to build a long term relation with the consumer. In consumer Behaviour Literature there exist three models that summarize how brand personality can create brand equity- 1. The Self Expression model- The basic premise of this model for some consumers the brand becomes the vehicle to express a part of their self-identity. This self identity could be their actual self or the ideal self they aspire to be. For e.g. cars, cosmetics, apparels lend themselves to personality expression because their use occurs in social context with relatively high involvement. 2. The Relationship Basis model- Some people may never aspire to have a certain personality trait but may wish to...