Academic journal article IUP Journal of Brand Management

Developing Brand Personality Scales: A Literature Review

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Brand Management

Developing Brand Personality Scales: A Literature Review

Article excerpt

The paper reviews the literature on brand personality with an emphasis on the methodological issues involved in developing measurement scales. Numerous studies on brand personality were sourced from well-known databases such as 'EBSCO host' and 'science direct' and were subjected to a thorough content analysis. The study reviews the personality studies of brand in general and retail brand in particular. The study reveals that the brand personality studies used human personality as a metaphor. The study compares the dimensions of brand personality with human personality dimensions. The study also finds several conceptual and methodological limitations such as the small sample size and lack of rigorous validation associated with developing the brand personality construct. This is the first study to undertake an extensive literature review on brand personality construct development. The outcomes add valuable insights to the present knowledge of brand personality.

Introduction

With brands emerging as the top management's priority (Ailawadi and Keller, 2004), marketing research has focused on the symbolic meaning consumers attribute to brands (Austin et al., 2003). One such symbolic meaning is brand personality (Aaker, 1997; Zentes et al, 2008; and Geuens et al., 2009). Marketers believed that the harder aspects of brand like the functional attributes have more impact on consumer purchase behavior than its softer aspects like personality (Biel, 1993). However, some studies believed that brand personality plays an important role in differentiating similar products, as it is less weighed by physical attributes (Biel, 1993; and Halliday, 1996). Research has established that while a brand's physical attributes like features, price and materials may change, sometimes frequently, brand personality is an enduring quality, resisting change (Biel, 1993). Brand personality serves as a sustainable competitive advantage for the firm (Aaker, 1996) and it has great influence on brand equity (Batra et al., 1993; Biel, 1993; Keller, 1993; and Aaker, 1996). While, Biel (1993) viewed personality as a driver of consumer buying behavior, Plummer (1984) found that it could be used to market a brand across culture. Fournier (1994) and Aaker (1996) found that consumer segmentation and brand strategy of a firm are formed based on brand personality-customer relationship. This helps the firm to attract customers through various marketing mix elements (Fournier, 1994; and Aaker, 1996). Biel (1993) and Aaker (1997) suggested that customers derive more personal meaning from their interpretation of the brand's association. Aaker (1997) argued that consumers find self-expression through the brand personality. Consumers partly express their social self through using products whose cultural meanings are close to what they are or want to become (McCracken, 1989). To achieve this, the brand's personality should be strong enough to matter to the consumers (Aaker, 1996). Researchers found that the relationship between brands and customers could be strengthened through brand personality (Blackston, 1993; and Aaker, 1996) by creating 'feeling' or 'liking' towards the brands (Aaker, 1996). Finally, studies found that brand personality positively influences purchase decision of a product (Biel, 1993; Blackston, 1993; and Aaker, 1996). Despite these obvious importances, the research on brand personality is somewhat limited. Due to lack of consensus regarding what brand personality is, the symbolic use of brands had also remained limited (Aaker, 1997). How is it defined? Does it have a framework or a set of dimensions similar or different from the 'Big Five' dimensions of human personality? (Aaker, 1997). These questions remind that rigorous attention to the concept of brand personality is needed. This would involve a comprehensive review of brand personality studies pertaining to scale development.

Based on this background, the present study undertakes an extensive review of the current state of knowledge regarding brand personality. …

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