“The term ‘brand personality’ is a metaphor for emotional relationship that exist between a consumer and a brand.”
– Wendy Gorden
A brand personality is a shorthand way of describing the nature and quality of the consumer response to a brand.
CONDITIONS FOR BRAND PERSONALITY
The brand functional performance must inspire feelings of trust and confidence. Example: Dove, can rouse feelings of confidence that it will improve a middle-aged women’s complexion.
The second condition is that all elements of the marketing communications mix mainly advertising have to give the brand a human face, a personality. Example: Titan watches is superlative example of everything surrounding them- from style, design and accuracy to outlets and advertising – has contributed to the brand personality.
The third condition for creating an effective brand personality is that it must be persuasive for the target consumer, he must find it more attractive and relevant compared to similar brands.
The fourth and the most difficult condition for creating successful brand personality is that it must be unique and distinctive – originally; the attractiveness and features of the creative execution are the prerequisites. Example: Nestle Polo – the mint with hole. Some other examples of brand personalities are: Thums Up – taste the thunder, personality: adventurous, excitement seeker. Pepsi – Yeh Maange More, personality: youthful, irreverent.
People’s personalities are determined largely through the values and beliefs they have, and the personality characteristics they develop. An example of a value or belief is honesty. Many people believe in being honest in everything they do and say. An example of a characteristic is confidence. This is not precisely a belief, but more of behavior. Among the many values, beliefs and characteristics that a person may have, there are some that are particularly likeable and to which, people are inevitably attracted. There are about two hundred words that describe personality characteristics.
To illustrate how people think in personality terms while judging brands, listed in the table above are the results of consumer research into how people feel about two companies, when asked the question: ‘If these two companies were people, how would you describe them?’ These two companies are actually competitors in a service industry. If you were asked which company you’d like to be friends with, you’d probably choose Company b, as did 95 percent of other respondents. It is not surprising that the service level of Company b can be a better experience for customers. It is also easy to conclude that if consumers consistently experience these differences between the two companies, then the brand image of Company b will be much better than that of Company A.
A further point of B interest arising out of this research is that people tend to prefer brands that fit in with their self-concept; everyone has views about themselves and how they would like to be seen by others. And they tend to like personalities similar to theirs, or those whom they admire. Thus, creating a brand with a personality similar to that of a certain type of consumer would be an effective strategy. The closer the brand personality is to the consumer personality (or one which they advertising-mire or aspire to), the greater will be the willingness to buy the brand and the deeper the brand loyalty.
The process will be:
Define the target audience.
Find out what they need, want and like.
Build a consumer personality –profile based on the findings. Create the product personality to match that profile.
Companies such as Levi Strauss that research their target audience fastidiously, favour this type of approach. The result is a master-brand personality that is original, masculine, sexy, youthful, rebellious, individual, free and American.
A related product-brand personality (for a specific customer group) such as Levi’s 501 jeans is Roman-tic, sexually attractive, rebellious, physically adept, resource, in-dependent, likes being admired.
Both profiles appeal mostly to the emotional side of people’s mind to their feelings and sensory functions. This profiling approach aims to reinforce the self- concept of the consumer and her aspirations. The approach is ideal for brands that adopt a market-niche strategy, and can be extremely successful if the segment has a high degree of global homogeneity, as is the case with Levi’s.
Companies should periodically conduct analyses of their brand personality. They should match brand attributes with the target-segment attributes. The target could change personality over time. This could be because of various reasons such as:
Change in socio-economic conditions
Media and cultural influences
Change in the immediate external or internal environment of the target.
Change in self-perception of the target (in the 1960s the majority of the youth perceived themselves in the Beatles’ mould, in the 1990s it was Spice Power).
Many brands have fizzled out because their attributes were not able to keep pace with the target group’s, which changed over time (especially in the readymade brand-ed-apparel sector). I wonder how many of us remember brands such as Avis, Apache, Blue Lagoon and Wanted, which were doing fine till just a few years ago. These brands significantly failed to enhance their brand personality with the changing times. To maintain brand loyalty, the companies should monitor their external and internal environment regularly as and when required.
Brand personality is anything and everything that influences how its target constituencies or even the individual consumer perceives a brand or a company. Brand personality may be the best, single marketable investment a company can make. Creating or revitalizing a positive brand personality means reinforcing a pillar on which the company can lay the foundation for its future.
Smart marketers utilize ‘personality’ variables to segment markets. In the late
1950s, Ford and Chevrolets were promoted as having different personalities. The
Ford buyer was identified as independent, impulsive, masculine, alert to change and self-confident. On the other hand, the Chevrolet owner was conservative, thrifty, prestige conscious, less masculine and seeking to avoid extremes.
The consumer generally becomes loyal to a brand, which is closest to her thoughts and beliefs. These are bound to change over time (especially generation to generation), and the brand, which is flexible enough to adapt to those changes with an add-on to its personality, lives the longest.
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