Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

The Effect of Brand Personality on Brand Relationship, Attitude and Purchase Intention with a Focus on Brand Community

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

The Effect of Brand Personality on Brand Relationship, Attitude and Purchase Intention with a Focus on Brand Community

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

It is well established idea that brands have personalities or even human characteristics. The brand personality is a means of expressing consumer identity and a different aspect of the consumer's self (Aaker 1997; Belk 1988; Escalas and Bettman 2005; Johar, Sengupta, and Aaker 2005). Humanizing a brand allows the brand to play a more central role in customers' lives and allows them to project their selves to create the desirable relationships they seek (Aaker 1997; Wallendorf and Arnould 1988). Moreover, people feel comfort when they sense that the brand "fits" with their self-concept (Aaker 1999; Swaminathan, Page, and Gurhan-Canli 2007). In order to identify the potential of brand personality, it is meaningful to understand how the underlying mechanisms influence the consumer-brand relationship and the brand attitude as well as which brand personality traits affect consumers more positively. Therefore, in this study, we investigate the influences of brand personality traits on consumer-brand relationships and brand attitudes.

Many companies have made efforts to distribute resources to build long-term relationships with their customers (Johnson and Selnes, 2004). As company-customer relationships grow stronger, customers' repurchase and WOM (word-of-mouth) intentions also increase (Maxham and Netemeyer, 2002). Recently in the marketing area, it has been an important issue for brand managers to maintain strong consumer-brand relationships (Gummesson 2002). As a result, many studies have investigated consumer-brand relationships (Marketing Science Institute 2002). Keller (2001) suggested that the consumer-brand relationship was the last step in the building of brand equity. At the same time, marketers have invoked brand attitude as an important concept related to consumer behavior. Prior studies have suggested that brand attitude predicts brand considerations, intentions to purchase and purchase behaviors (Fazio and Petty 2007; Petty, Haugtvedt, and Smith 1995; Priester et al. 2004).

A brand community is a relationship structure in which consumers are situated (McAlexander et al. 2002). With the internet and information technology, virtual brand communities have been effective marketing tools and communication channels for brand building activities (McWilliam, 2000). Brand communities are a better fit for certain types of relationships as compared to consumption communities. Anderson (2005) suggested that a virtual brand community is a communication tool for relationship marketing.

No attempt has been made to link the effect of brand personality traits with community activities of the brand. Also, research that considers whether brand relationships and brand attitudes influence consumers' purchase intentions is rare (Xie & Heung, 2009). Therefore, our study suggests that brand personality traits affects consumer-brand relationships and brand attitudes, but not equally. Also, we investigate whether the effect of a brand personality on brand attitudes and relationships can be affected by consumer participation in the brand community. This study can help brand managers seek strategic ways to build brand personalities and create relationships with consumers.

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND AND PROPOSITION

Brand Personality

A brand personality is formally defined as "a set of human characteristics associated with a brand" (Aaker 1997, p347). Brand personality, which is not separate from brand image, considers human characteristics. However, brand personality and human personality are not identical. Instead, brand personality is a hypothetical concept created by the consumer.

Although human and brand personality traits may be conceptualized similarly (Epstein 1977), Aaker (1997) reported that brand personalities differ from implicit human personality traits in terms of how they are created. Human personality traits are deduced from an individual's behavior, physical characteristics, attitudes and beliefs, and demographic characteristics (Park 1986). …

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