Academic journal article Sport Marketing Quarterly

Brand Personality in Sport: Dimension Analysis and General Scale Development

Academic journal article Sport Marketing Quarterly

Brand Personality in Sport: Dimension Analysis and General Scale Development

Article excerpt


The idea of brand personality in sport (BPS) has become a popular topic of study among academicians in the sport management field. While the conceptualization and operationalization of the construct has been heavily discussed, establishing a valid and reliable assessment tool has yet to be achieved. The current study reexamines the general brand personality (BP) dimensions and looks to apply them to the unique characteristics in sport. The scale developed in the current study establishes a baseline tool in which future research can be conducted. The results provide initial levels of validity and reliability, making suggestions as to the further development of the sport brand personality (BPS) construct. These findings support previous literature, yet provide a number of suggestions for future theoretical development.


Long before Reis and Trout (1969) stressed the importance of positioning in order to solidify the branding process in the mind of one's consumer, marketers focused on specific "character" traits when promoting their products. Whether perceived or developed, brand personality (BP) has been studied regarding its use and effectiveness for decades (e.g., de Chernatony, 2001; Keller, 2003). With its academic exploration stemming from Aaker's (1997) original five dimensions of brand personality (i.e., Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, Ruggedness), this phenomenon has provided marketers with the ability to examine marketing practices, finding that matching the characteristics of a brand with those of its endorsers and consumers tends to be the most effective (e.g., Kamins, 1990, Lynch & Schuler, 1994). Embracing many general marketing practices, sport marketers have begun to question and, in turn, dissect this concept on their own turf (i.e., brand personality in sport - BPS) due to the unique characteristics often associated with sport and sport products. As such, this study proposes to assess BPS and the factors (i.e., characteristics) that may, or may not, define sport brands.

Brand Personality

As a result of advertising campaigns, brands are often portrayed as having human characteristics. Although this concept had been described, it had not been systematically and empirically studied until Aaker's (1997) creation of the Brand Personality Scale (BP). After examining 309 candidate traits based on previous literature (psychology, marketing, and original qualitative research), the author ultimately looked at 114 traits over 37 brands. The final BP scale included 42 items/traits under five factors: Sincerity (e.g., honest, genuine), Excitement (e.g., daring, spirited), Competence (e.g., reliable, responsible), Sophistication (e.g., glamorous, charming), and Ruggedness (e.g., tough, strong). Although Govers and Schoormans' (2005) longitudinal study confirmed Aaker's findings, examining the influence of product personality on a consumer's preference over time, Austin, Siguaw, and Mattila (2003) argued that the BP scale was not generalizable to individual brands, as a result of the method of the study. Agreeing that a measurement study was necessary to fully understand the concept of brand personality, Austin et al. (2003) reexamined Aaker's BP scale to determine the validity of those findings. The authors found that, while the constructs were internally reliable, they did not have construct validity.

Although the operationalization and validity of Aaker's original constructs continues to be questioned, the importance of the concept remains stable, as it continues to be used and examined in general business practices, particularly as the importance of branding has been stressed across a variety of disciplines. This focus on branding, concluding with the perception of a strong image in the mind of one's consumers (Reis & Trout, 1969), is ultimately a producer's nudge towards a potential (or current) customer's consumption. With a goal of developing roots for the eventual use of commercial imagery (i. …

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