Brand Personality

Topics: Personality psychology, Brand, Big Five personality traits Pages: 18 (6013 words) Published: March 2, 2012
A brand personality can be defined as the set of human characteristics associated with a given brand. Thus it includes such characteristics as gender, age, and socioeconomic class, as well as such classic personality traits as warmth, concern and sentimentality. Brand Personality like human personality, is both distinctive and enduring. For example, one analysis found Coke to be considered real and authentic whereas Pepsi was young, spirited and exciting. Further, the personalities of both the brands had endured over time, sometimes in spite of efforts to augment or change them. The brand personality concept has considerable face validity (brand strategists and researchers are comfortable with it). Respondents in qualitative and quantitative research studies are routinely asked to profile the personalities if brands. Their responses come easily and generally interpretable and consistent across people. Differences between groups (such as nonusers) are often reasonable and provide useful insights. Frequently for example, users will perceive a brand to have a strong personality, whereas nonusers may not: Oral B may be regarded as a serious, competent brand by the former, whereas the latter may regard it as being bland. Further, customers often interact with brands as if they were people, especially when the brands are attached to such meaningful products as clothes or cars. Even if they do not give their possessions a personal nickname (as many do their cars), it is not uncommon to hear people talk of objects as if they were human: “Sometimes my computer feels better after I let it rest awhile,” or “Sometimes I think my car breaks down just to irritate me.”

The same vocabulary used to describe a person can be used to describe a brand personality. In particular, a brand can be described by demographics (age, gender, social class, and race), lifestyle (activities, interests, and opinions) or human personality traits (such as extroversion, agreeableness, and dependability). A study developed and tested the Brand Personality Scale (BPS), a compact set of traits designed to both measure and structure brand personality. The development of the BPS involved more than 1000 U.S respondents, 60 well –known brands with distinct personalities, and 114 personality traits. Five personality factors (termed the Big Five) - Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness- emerged even when the sample was subdivided by age or gender and when the subsets of the brands were used. The Big Five explain nearly all (93%) of the observed differences between the brands. Figure 2-1 describes the Big Five in terms of an extended set of traits in order to provide an understanding of their scope and richness. Each of the Big Five factors have been divided into facets to provide texture and descriptive insight regarding the nature and structure of the Big Five. The fifteen facets are given descriptive names in the Figure 2-1.Thus Sincerity breaks down to Down –To-Earth, Honest, Wholesome, and Cheerful, while Excitement contains the facets Daring, Spirited, Imaginative, and Up-To-Date. The fifteen facets suggest strategic options. A strong sincerity brand, for example can emphasize Cheerful (sentimental, friendly and warm) instead of Honest (sincere, real and ethical) qualities. Or a brand high in Competence can stress Intelligent (technical, corporate, and serious) rather than Successful (leader, confident, and Influential) characteristics. In each case, the personality objective and the implementation strategy would be very different.

The BPS study also measured the degree of positive or negative attitude towards each brand in comparison to other brands in the product category. Of interest was the fact that personality variables were significantly related to attitude, with specific relationship varying by brand. Overall the...
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