January 20, 2017

What is brand personality and how it helps in branding?

Brand personality 2

What are the first things that you look when you buy a new coat? Or when you buy a perfume? Or even a watch? I guess, that besides other things the main factor that you consider before making the actual purchasing is how does it make you feel.  Usually people tend to communicate their own identity by the brand personality of the product they choose. In other words, the personality of the brand indicates the kind of relationship a customer has with its brand.

It is important from the beginning to differentiate the concept of brand personality to brand image, which are two completely different things even though they are most of the times confused. While writing this article, i might have a brand image of an expert, but the personality in your mind, for me as a person might be different. Thus, Brand personality helps to define the brand as a real human being.

Every brand has a personality and it involves how consumers perceive a brand and how the brand differentiates itself from the competition.  Generally speaking, through personality of a brand, we refer to the personification of the brand, thus attributing human characteristics to the brand and it results through all the interactions between the customers’ experiences and the brand.

The basic difference between the brand personality and brand image comes from the fact that while the brand image consists in the tangible and actually physical characteristics of a brand, the brand personality relies on the emotional associations of the brand.  The whole concept is associated with the connections made in the mind of the consumers concerning the respective brand.

Through brand personality, companies can achieve differentiation and competitive advantages depending on how strong is the personality created and also on who exactly is their target market.

Five dimensions of Brand personality

The idea of brand personality comes from around 1961 but it started being more heavily used from the 1980’s. It is deeply connected with The Big Five Personality Traits, from which all human behavior is derived, based on a small set of fundamentals. All human actions is based on a mix of the respective elements included in the Big Five Personality Traits which include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and lastly, neuroticism.  Based on the Big Five Personality Traits, the five dimensions of brand personality are represented by

  • Sincerity
  • Excitement
  • Competence
  • Sophistication
  • Ruggedness

Today’s vibrant, social-network driven brand communities have been created through the development of brand personality.  Due to its increasing importance, successful brands need to establish first their brand personality in order to create successful brand strategies which will finally lead to brand equity.

Once the brand personality is established, it will help with clarity in communication and marketing activities necessary to create awareness.  Understanding brand personality also helps select the most appropriate message and media or more effective and suitable sponsorship or partnerships. Ultimately, understanding a the personality of the brand enables the brand owner to deliver a consistent brand experience that connects with consumers and leaves a deeper and more sustainable impression.

As social psychologist and author, Jennifer L. Aaker notes in her paper, “Dimensions of Brand Personality,” brand personality is a set of human characteristics including gender, age, socioeconomic, psycho-graphical and emotional which are associated with a brand. From a consumer’s point of view, a brand’s personality is the way the brand behaves, what the brand stands for and sometimes what the brand is against.

Example of Brand personality

If you compare a small car like to Volkswagen beetle, against the Lamborghini Diablo, then you will feel that the Beetle is a fragile human being, strong in the inside but like a gentleman or woman on the outside. On the other hand, the Lamborghini is a beastly human being, aggressive and raring to go. Most people would say that the Beetle is on the feminine side whereas Lamborghini is completely Macho. Thus, slowly but surely you are building up a personality for both the brands.

Now you can also do this for any other product or brand. Compare BBC to MTV, or Nickelodeon to Discovery channel, and you will see that the brand personality is changing. Understanding the aspect of these brand personalities, will also help the brand manager in deciding the right media vehicles for the propagation of the brand.

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About Hitesh Bhasin

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