Although masculinity and femininity are personality traits relevant to brands, their measurement and contribution to branding theory and practice have not been examined. This article describes the development and validation of a two-dimensional scale measuring masculine and feminine brand personality that is discriminant with regard to existing brand personality dimensions and scales measuring masculinity and femininity as human personality traits. This scale is applied to show that (1) spokespeople in advertising shape masculine and feminine brand personality perceptions; (2) brand personality–self-concept congruence in terms of masculine and feminine brand personality and consumers’ sex role identity positively influences affective, attitudinal, and behavioral brand-related consumer responses; and (3) masculine and feminine brand personality lends itself to the creation of brand fit in a brand extension context, which in turn leads to more positive brand extension evaluations and increased purchase intentions with regard to the extension.
Keywords: brand personality, measurement, brand management, brand evaluation, brand extension
Gender Dimensions of Brand Personality
Positioning strategies frequently aim to associate brands with masculine or feminine personality traits (e.g., “The softer side of Sears”). Although masculinity and femininity are personality traits relevant to brands, their measurement and contribution to branding theory have not been examined. Currently, marketers use human personality scales to measure gender dimensions of brand personality in the evaluation of positioning or repositioning strategies. However, scales measuring masculinity and femininity as human personality traits have not been validated in a brand personality context. Their use in the measurement of brand personality is inappropriate because there is evidence that scales measuring human personality traits do not necessarily lend themselves to the description of personality traits associated with brands (Caprara, Barbaranelli, and Guido 2001). The primary objective of this article is the development and validation of a scale that measures the gender dimensions of brand personality for use in theory tests per*Bianca Grohmann is Associate Professor of Marketing, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University (e-mail: bgrohmann@jmsb. concordia.ca). The author gratefully acknowledges feedback on previous versions of this article provided by Onur Bodur, Joseph Sirgy, and Sandor Czellar. This article benefited tremendously from the constructive comments provided by two anonymous JMR reviewers and Russell Winer. This research was funded by the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC). Chris Janiszewski served as associate editor for this article.
taining to gender dimensions of brands and as a diagnostic tool in the evaluation of positioning strategies. The application of the masculine brand personality (MBP) and feminine brand personality (FBP) scale in this article advances the brand personality literature by addressing the following questions: (1) How is brand personality created? Do spokespeople in advertisements shape consumers’ brand personality perceptions? (2) Does brand personality–self-concept congruence result in positive behavioral consumer responses that go beyond the attitudinal responses reported in the literature (e.g., Aaker 1999)? and (3) Can fit of parent brand personality and extension category perceptions enhance brand extension evaluations and purchase intentions with regard to the brand extension? The remainder of this article is structured as follows: A more detailed discussion of the nature and significance of gender dimensions of brand personality precedes Study 1, which describes the development of the MBP/FBP scale. Masculinity and femininity emerge as two independent personality dimensions that are captured by six items, respectively. Study 2 illustrates...