Dr Karen Miller School of Management and Marketing, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Email: Miller@usq.edu.au
Brand managers are increasingly using brand personality to differentiate and uniquely position their brand without really knowing its effects. This study begins to addresses this gap by examining the effects of brand personality on brand-aroused feelings across the product categories of sport shoes, mobile phones and surf wear. Using SEM to analyse the data from 324 usable surveys, the findings indicate that consumers perceive brand personality and brand-aroused feelings as two separate constructs and that brand personality has a substantial effect on brand-aroused feelings. On the basis of the findings, this study recommends that brand managers consider positioning their brand as original, imaginative, considerate and kind if they want to arouse positive brand feelings. Keywords: brand management; consumer behaviour; positioning strategy; integrated marketing communications INTRODUCTION Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in brand personality from academics and practitioners (e.g., Aaker 1997; Caprara, Barbaranelli & Gianluigi 2001; Freling & Forbes 2005a; Romaniuk 2008; Sweeney & Brandon, 2006), and the intensity of this interest demonstrates the need to advance its development and investigate its effects. Managers perceive brand personality as a way to develop a sustainable uniqueness in a marketplace proliferated by brands where it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with branded products that are truly different in the eyes of consumers (Aaker 2003; Sweeney & Brandon 2006). A lack of perceivable differentiation may be contributing to the reason why an estimated 75% to 85% of new brands will fail (Boyle 2003; Kohli & Thakor 1997) or why brands are being commoditized and losing money (Barron 2003). Increasingly, brand personality is used by brand managers as a strategic tool to provide a unique, consistent, and enduring message to consumers (Matthiesen & Phau 2005) and/or as a positioning tool to differentiate brands (Sweeney & Brandon 2006; Rekom, Jacobs & Verlegh 2006) , or as a symbolic device to sustain a competitive advantage (Aaker 1997); however, the consequences of brand personality haven’t been empirically determined or tested so while much money is going into the development of brand personality its effects aren’t generally known (Freling & Forbes 2005a). 1|Page
Along with brand personality being important to brand managers to endure competition and reduce competitor erosion, increasingly so is developing an emotional brand (Aggarwal 2004; Algesheimer, Dholakia and Herrman 2005; Lynch 2004; Thompson, Rindfleisch & Arsel 2006). Called emotional because consumers may form an intimate bond with a brand, a bond that is passionate, similar to the emotional bond a consumer experiences with a close circle of friends and/or family (Aggarwal 2004) and this emotional bond is believed to be based on positive-aroused feelings. Gradually more being realized, the importance of brand personality and developing positive brand-aroused feelings as research in these areas enable brand managers to better develop positioning strategies, integrated marketing communications and build sustainable competitive advantages in the marketplace.
Each in their own right, brand personality and brand-aroused feelings has had limited investigation, and the effect of one on the other hasn’t been examined. Based on evidence from the psychology literature (e.g., Meyer & Shack 1989; Yik, Russell & Suzuki 2003; Watson & Clark 1992), it is likely that brand personality may have an effect on brand-aroused feelings. Brand-aroused feelings refer to a range of specific conscious affective assessments a consumer experiences when encountering a brand, such as feelings of happiness or sadness (Frijda 1991; Scherer 1996). An...