Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Cognitive, Experiential, and Marketing Factors Mediate the Effect of Brand Personality on Brand Equity

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Cognitive, Experiential, and Marketing Factors Mediate the Effect of Brand Personality on Brand Equity

Article excerpt

Building and managing strong brands is considered one of the most critical tasks in brand management (Batra, Lenk, & Wedel, 2010; Keller, Dekimpe, & Geyskens, 2016). Because loyal customers create an entry barrier that makes it difficult for competitors to enter the market (Kent & Kellaris, 1994), almost all marketing activities are directed toward this goal (He, Li, & Harris, 2012). However, although the issues of brand loyalty and brand equity have been extensively studied, several important aspects regarding the antecedents, mediators, and consequences of brand personality still require further clarification.

First, many scholars (e.g., D. A. Aaker, 1991) have examined the antecedents of brand personality and brand equity from a cognitive perspective. Aaker defined four basic dimensions of brand equity: perceived quality, brand awareness, brand association, and brand loyalty. Hirschman and Holbrook (1982) argued that, in addition to considering attitude change and purchase intention from a cognitive perspective, focusing on consumers' experiential perception may be effective. They further stated that hedonic consumption is related to the multisensory, fantasy, and emotive aspects of one's experience with a product or brand. Sheng and Teo (2012) argued that higher entertainment value could result in a higher level of brand equity, and Schmalz and Orth (2012) suggested that having more aesthetic elements contributes to higher brand loyalty and brand equity.

Second, Taleghani and Almasi (2011) proposed that marketing factor variables, including service quality, store image, brand accessibility, advertising, and perceived brand quality, are antecedents that influence brand equity both directly, and indirectly through brand-related variables. Chen (2010) claimed that private brand strategies, including product quality, price, presentation, promotion, and packaging, affect both brand equity and shopping preference. Therefore, it is essential for marketing specialists to utilize different marketing factors to elicit consumers' cognitive evaluation and experiential perception, as well as focusing marketing effects on promoting brand equity.

Third, we believe that the mediating roles of brand personality deserve scholarly attention. Several researchers (e.g., J. L. Aaker, 1997; Ramaseshan & Stein, 2014) have confirmed that brand personality mediates customer behavior before and after the purchase of a brand. Marketing initiatives have traditionally been aimed at encouraging consumers to view brands in human terms (Tzou & Lu, 2009). In line with this, Guthrie (1993) described animism as a person's desire to instill life into objects when motion from an object is discerned; as such, congruity between self-concept and brand image is an important area for marketing staff to focus on. Such congruity will result in more favorable evaluations with regard to brand performance, which promotes brand loyalty (Sung, Kim, & Jung, 2010; Swaminathan, Stilley, & Ahluwalia, 2009).

Describing brands in terms of human personalities may serve as a key stratagem in generating attachment and promoting word-of-mouth referrals. Especially in an environment of higher trust, the "brand as a person" metaphor can lead customers to believe that a brand is active, friendly, and able to be imitated, which can foster long-term loyalty toward the brand (Taleghani & Almasi, 2011). Brand personality offers consumers a means by which to construct a social identity and provide a mechanism for expressing the actual self, ideal self, and social self (Belk, 1988; Wang & Yang, 2010). Several researchers have concluded that a strong and positive brand personality can result in favorable brand equity evaluation among consumers, which can stimulate word-of-mouth referrals and repurchase intention (Puzakova, Kwok, & Rocereto, 2013). Therefore, we aimed in this study to identify the cognitive, experiential, and marketing factors that may influence brand equity either directly, or indirectly through brand personality. …

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