Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Consistency between Consumer Personality and Brand Personality Influences Brand Attachment

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Consistency between Consumer Personality and Brand Personality Influences Brand Attachment

Article excerpt

Brand personality is "the set of human characteristics or traits associated with a brand based on the consumer's perception of that brand" (Aaker, 1997, p. 347). Increasingly, marketers are trying their best to create strong personalities for their brands. For example, Pepsi has communicated for years to consumers that drinking Pepsi Cola will enable them to restore their vitality (Keller, 1999). In 2003, China Mobile introduced a nationwide communication service, M-zone, with a brand personality of being fun, fashionable, and innovative. M-zone became very popular among young people in the age group from 15 to 25 years and this was widely considered to be one of the most successful branding campaigns in China as it attracted more than 10 million users in the first year, and as of 2011 has had more than 140 million users (http://it.sohu.com/20110114/ n278857058.shtml). Thus, China Mobile used a marketing strategy that was effective in attracting numerous consumers, leading those consumers to develop a strong emotional bond with the brand. This leads to the question of how brand personality affects consumer reactions to a brand.

A key notion for exploring this question is the concept of self-consistency, which involves matching the consumer's self-identity with the brand's personality (Rojas-Méndez, Papadopoulos, & Alwan, 2015). Previous researchers have indicated that self-consistency has a significant positive impact on consumers' purchase intention, brand satisfaction, and brand loyalty (e.g., Freling & Forbes, 2005; Sirgy, Grewal, & Mangleburg, 2000). However, as yet, no researchers have thoroughly examined the underlying psychological process of how self-consistency affects consumers' reactions to the brand. Moreover, previous researchers of consumer-brand relationships have focused on the consumer's self-concept rather than on personality (Malär, Krohmer, Hoyer, & Nyffenegger, 2011). However, researchers have found that self-concept can only partly represent personality (Pervin & John, 2001). With this in mind, we had two research objectives in the current study: a) to understand the roles played by consumer personality and brand personality in the connection between consumer and brand, and b) to gain insight into the consumer's psychological process when he/she reacts to a brand that he/she has found matches his or her self-identity. It has been found that the consumer's self may play a significant role in the establishment of brand attachment, which is a powerful predictor of the individual's response to the brand (Park et al., 2010). In light of this finding, we examined the effect of the consistency between consumer personality and brand personality on brand attachment.

Literature Review and Hypotheses Development

Brand Personality

From the psychological point of view, personality is formed under the influence of both the congenital gene and the living environment (e.g., McCrae et al., 2000). With stability and consistency, personality is manifested in many aspects, such as character, interests, and abilities. Thus, personality can have an important impact on the individual's cognitive and affective activities (Aaker, 1997).

Brand personality is the ascribing of human characteristics to a brand (Aaker, 1997; Geuens, Weijters, & De Wulf, 2009). Brand personality arises because people link to brands as they would to friends (Fournier, 1998), because they view brands as extensions of themselves (Chaplin & John, 2005), or because marketers claim that their brands have certain features (e.g., the sincerity claim of Kodak). Brand personality can create a feeling of comfort for consumers who find a brand that fits their self-concept and, thus, serves as an important means of expressing self (Khan, Misra, & Singh, 2013; Park & John, 2010). Therefore, brand personality is one of the core dimensions of brand equity, which is defined as the differential effect of brand knowledge on consumer response to the marketing of the brand (Keller, 1993). …

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