Brand personality refers to a set of characteristics or qualities similar to those of human beings that become associated with a brand. In other words, when a brand is expressed in terms of human traits and characteristics, it is known as brand personality. It could relate to age, gender, socioeconomic status, and psychographic, emotional, and socio-graphic characteristics.
Brand Personality is the ultimate step towards the brand connect with the consumer. Brand Personality adds a dimension to enhance the visual communication for a brand. The consumer while making the purchase decision looks at how the brand fits into their personality.
Learn about: 1. Introduction to Brand Personality 2. Meaning and Definitions of Brand Personality 3. How to Create and Develop Brand Personality? 4. Strategic Framework 5. Brand Personality Scales 6. Advantages 7. Disadvantages 8. Future.
Brand Personality: Introduction, Meaning, Definitions, Strategic Framework, Advantages, Disadvantages, Future and More…
Introduction to Brand Personality (With Some Personality Traits and Examples)
Just as individuals have a personal make-up with traits, characteristics, and qualities, products too have human-like characteristics or personalities (including traits and gender). Brand personality refers to a set of characteristics or qualities similar to those of human beings that become associated with a brand. In other words, when a brand is expressed in terms of human traits and characteristics, it is known as brand personality. It could relate to age, gender, socioeconomic status, and psychographic, emotional, and socio-graphic characteristics.
Such characteristics are long term and enduring, and built over a period of time. In the words of Aaker, brand personality is defined as ‘the set of human characteristics associated with a brand’. This attribution of human traits or characteristics to inanimate objects (goods and services and/or brands) is called anthropomorphization.
Marketers attempt to attribute human traits and qualities to a brand, and perceive it as a human being, so that consumers can easily relate to the brand. Consumers also use these brand traits to relate it to themselves, that is, their personality, self-image, and self-concept. Brands possess an identity as well as an image. The brand identity manifests itself in a manner in which it is intended to be (or it aspires to be created), while the brand image represents the manner in which the brand is actually perceived by the consumer. Let us elaborate on brand identity and brand image a little more.
The sum total of a brand expressed in terms of organization, product, person, and symbol forms its identity (called brand identity). Often evident in the form of a unique set of brand associations that the brand stands, it is representative of the promise that a company makes to its customers. In this way, it reflects the company’s perspective and specifies the meaning, aim, and purpose of existence. It has two dimensions, namely the inner-core identity and the outer-core identity.
Core identity refers to the essence of the brand and is quintessential to the brand in terms of the fundamental values and beliefs that it represents as well as its uniqueness and focus. The inner core is the internal spiritual centre which explains the reasons as to why the brand was born, as well as its basic purpose of existence. The outer core is the externally manifested elements (form, attributes, and features) that provide meaningfulness and direction to the inner core.
The manner in which consumers perceive a brand and form associations is referred to as the brand image. It is reflective of what and/or how customers think about a brand. In a way, it is the impact that is created through brand identity. In this way, the brand image reflects the receiver’s (customer’s) perspective and is representative of how consumers perceive the brand. Creating a brand image for a good or service offering allows a company to differentiate its offering from that of the competitors. It also helps develop a bond with the customer, eventually leading to the creation of customer loyalty.
Brand personality is an outcome of brand identity and brand image, which helps us associate attributes of the brand with a living being, be it a person, animal, or any other object, such that the attributes and qualities associated with the latter get translated to the former. The brand personality includes all the tangible (functional) and intangible (symbolic) traits associated with a brand, and this gives it a distinctive character. Consumers always prefer buying brands with which they can relate their own values and characteristics.
Brand personality is different from brand image. While brand image denotes the more tangible, physical, and functional attributes and the resultant benefits of a brand, brand personality not only relates to the functional, but also to the emotional associations of the brand built as a result of the ‘fit’ between the traits and characteristics of a person and the brand.
According to Aaker, there could be five kinds of brand personalities, namely sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Sincerity includes down-to- earth, honesty, wholesomeness, and cheerfulness; excitement includes daring, spiritedness, imaginative, and up to date; competence includes reliability, intelligence, and success; sophistication includes upper class and charming; and ruggedness includes outdoorsy and toughness.
The components used to create brand personality include the company name, brand name, logo and symbols, age of the brand, colour, product features and attributes, product packaging, product performance, price, store and dealer, and advertisement (content and context, including the celebrity). Based on their understanding, consumers begin to ascribe certain characteristics or traits to a brand. This association between the characteristic/trait and the brand gets generated out of the manner in which it is positioned by the marketer.
Consumers desire a congruency between brand image, brand-user associations, and self-image and make purchase decisions accordingly. Thus, consumers match the product and/or brand personalities with their own personalities, self-image, and self-concept, and they buy those brands which they find as a close or perfect match. They always seek a brand that matches or fits in perfectly with his or her self-concept.
Some personality traits with examples of brands are mentioned below:
a. Sophistication – Dove, Titan Raga
b. Ruggedness – Levi’s Jeans, Bajaj Pulsar
c. Power – Surf, Rin, Hero Honda
d. Achievement – Boost, Glucon D
e. Competence – IBM
f. Sincerity – Life Insurance Corporation, Western Union Money Transfer
g. Uniqueness – Parker, Allen Solly
h. Intellectualism – Infosys
i. Excitement: Thums Up
j. Masculinity – Marlboro, Rin Power
k. Feminity – Sunsilk, Fair and Lovely.
Brand personality can help a marketer in several ways; first, it acts as a platform for consumers to express their own identity and image; second, it is representative of the product-related attributes and functional benefits, and the resultant expectations that the consumer has of the brand; third, it acts as a point of differentiation, which explains how the brand is different from the rest; and fourth, it reflects the relationship that a consumer has with the brand.
Brand Personality – Meaning and Definitions
Brand Personality is the ultimate step towards the brand connect with the consumer. Brand Personality adds a dimension to enhance the visual communication for a brand. The consumer while making the purchase decision looks at how the brand fits into their personality.
The smart marketers are those who develop a unique personality fit for the brand, with the consumer, For example, Levis provides a carefree attitude of the youth making it a part and parcel of their everyday life. The personality portrays ruggedness. The brands like Microsoft and Facebook were built on the image of their CEOs who were the ultimate personalities for their brands.
When the brands have to succeed they have to think more than just the functional benefits that their brand can offer to the customer. Thus, brands try to connect with their customers emotionally. The brands can have traits which the customers may like or dislike, which help to develop an image or a personality that rests with the customers.
The brand resonance occurs when the customers like the brand personality. The brand personality is the personification of the brand identity. This personification requires blending of attributes of the brand with human psychological attributes. The way a brand is spoken of and is described shows how the brand would be if it were a person. A brand can be personified with tools like colour, persons, animals, images, etc. All this is done for building a relation with the customer.
Rolls Royce is a symbol of monarchy coupled with luxury and the personality speaks of sophistication. However, some brands use real personalities to connect with their target consumers and may portray their products with these personalities. For example, James Bond series from MGM has a tie up with 6-8 Brands and Bond is the face of brands like Omega watches, BMW bikes, Aston Martin cars, Sony Digital products, etc.
Some brands go a step further and sign up with leading celebrities like film stars, leading sports persons and important icons of the society. At times, individual personality’s social image can have a negative backlash on the brand. For example, Tiger Woods is a classic example of how Nike and Accenture got an image and had to remove him because it diluted the brand image of these brands.
Most of the advertising agencies and the brand owners select the celebrities based on their popularity at that particular period of time. However, it cannot sustain and be consistent forever, For example, the personalities associated with Lux have been various popular and beautiful actresses of their time.
Lux was once advertised by Leela Chitnis, the first known brand personality in Indian context. Later we saw Hema Malini, Sri Devi, Aishwarya, Kareena and lately Katrina Kaif in Lux ads.
The brand personality has been the main focus of advertising since 1970s. A brand usually is given a brand personality to connect with the customers instantly. The brand personality can be symbolic or real.
It can be inferred from the above definition of brand personality that:
1. Brand Personality helps to build brand value and thus in the long run will help increase the equity of the brand.
2. Brand Personality can be created by using both imagery and attitude to create an impact on the minds of the consumer.
How to Create and Develop Brand Personality? (With Examples)
To develop an effective advertisement or market communication channel, the developer of the advertisement should be very clear about the objectives of the communication. Followed by that, there should be a proper selection of the target audience for communication and selection of an appropriate media to reach the audience.
Communication strategy is not complete without a system to receive feedback and scope for modification and change in the media and message according to consumer requirements. The objectives of communication can be many and varied. It may be create awareness of the product, promoting sales, attracting retail business, reducing post purchase — a combination of some of them.
A study by Urwick Orr and Partners, one of the leading management consultants, surveyed UK and Continental companies, to find out the extent of an advertising objective. The survey report concluded that most consumer-product firms have a clear objective, although an elementary one.
The companies selling industrial goods seem to lack in having any objective while services sector like banks were spending more and more on advertising, but, without any clear objective.
Next comes a suitable audience. Audience/group of audience can be many, the target audience, intermediate audience or unintended audience. The potential customer is the target audience. Intermediate audience will be the dealer, distributor, retailer, etc., while unintended audience will be those who receive the communicated message but were not targeted by the communicator.
The target audience is older generation but young people who are interested in old music will also take note of this advertisement. Hence, the older generation is the target audience and younger generation is the unintended audience.
Audience segmentation is necessary on the basis of personality, interests, needs, and environment. A homogeneous group in terms of all the above mentioned traits will enable the advertiser to create group specific message for the target group and broadcast them on specific group favourite media. In today’s complex market space, it is almost impossible to create a universally appealing message and if the advertiser does that he will find very few interested audience.
To get the message transmitted according to the sender’s desire, it is essential to have an effective media plan. This involves placing the advertisements in a specific media to be read, seen or heard by the target audience. The first step in selecting an appropriate media is to develop the target consumer’s profile, giving their choices of media.
Media also develop their own audience profile when advertiser’s consumer profile matches the media’s audience profile. That medium becomes the correct media for the advertisement to be placed. The choice of media will also depend on the product and the specific product attribute that the advertiser wants to communicate.
For example, if an automobile manufacturer wants to speak in detail about the efficiency of the car, print media is the appropriate media while if he wants to show the car in action he will have to choose television as the media. Even in deciding the print media the advertiser should go for putting the advertisement in Times of India, Cosmopolitan, Femina, or only Auto India is a question that has to be answered.
Media strategy is essentially based on four criteria:
(1) Media Type:
Print or electronic or direct mail. In electronic, whether radio or television or both. In print, newspaper or magazine. There are the decision to be taken while deciding on the type of media.
(2) Media Vehicles:
This provides the immediate environment for the advertisement. Here basically which vehicle in the chosen media type has to be adopted as decide. Should one go for the prime time slot or should it be during morning breakfast time, if the chosen media type is electronic. Should one choose the newspaper as the medium, where your target audience is located.
Are they urban based or rural based. Are they in North India, West India, and South India or in East India; accordingly Times of India, Hindustan Times, Hindu or Statesman will be chosen. Is your target audience suave urbanite or simple housewife or yuppy teenager will also decide the media vehicle.
(3) Media Option:
This is in addition to the media vehicle, giving the full detail of putting the advertising like the size (full page, half page, double page, etc.), duration (15 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, etc.), colour (black and white or basic colours), and location (inside cover, front cover, back cover or interior of the magazine). All these aspects are decided in media option.
(4) Scheduling and timing should how media options are scheduled over time.
Among the various alternatives are:
(a) Flighting, which is the period of total inactivity,
(b) Continuous, when the advertisement is evenly spread through time,
(c) Pulsing, a continuous base augmented by intermittent bursts of heavy advertising. Timing decisions include the specific issues (Sunday Times, week-end issues, etc.), or time slots (prime time, day time, etc.).
A basic concern in determining the medium of advertisement is based on cost per 1,000 for print and gross rating point for television, both of which are a measure of total exposure per rupee cost. Cost per 1,000 = Rs. 10 implies it costs Rs. 10 to reach 1,000 newspaper readers, who are the target audience. On the other hand, a gross commercial rating is the percentage of the potential audience who viewed the commercial.
The potential audience can be all teenagers or all girl teenagers, etc. For a ubiquitous product like an air cooler or a water heater, the target audience can be number of households using television. In the modern market, given the level of competition, marketers are more and more engaging into relationship marketing, which includes a ‘human’ touch to the customer.
For example, seller of shampoos gives tips to hair care depending on hair type, seller of cooking oil may give recipes. Such a human touch goes a long way to establish a relation with the target audience.
Yet another new development in media strategy is electronic shopping (e.g., Asian Sky Shop, Home Shopping, etc.) which is although using a mass media but is actually having the effect of direct marketing and helps to develop a relationship marketing.
The message is a thought or an idea or any information that the sender wants to communicate to the receiver. Sender’s responsibility-is to put the message in a form which the audience is able to interpret correctly. Correct interpretation measures the success of any message and is called message strategy.
The actual development of an advertisement should be clear as to what the advertisement is meant to communicate by way of product attributes, is it the feelings (non-verbal communication), brand personality or the action content: Once that is decided how the message will be communicated becomes important. Should the spokesperson be a celebrity or a simplex next door man?
Should there be an element of humour, rejection, fear, etc. in the advertisement or not? Finally, one has to decide the visuals and the layout of the message. Message strategy thus is a three-step process and at each step the creator has to keep in mind the nature and personality of the target audience.
According to Gary Hennerberg, buyers can be categorised into three distinct types — righteous buyer, who is more influenced by independent, unbiased and relevant source of information, like consumer research reports.
The next category of buyer is the social buyer, who will receive the message more enthusiastically from friends, likes to have celebrity endorsement, while the third type of buyer is the pragmatic buyer whose main interest is to get value for money. Table 7.1 gives a detailed description as to how each of these buyers will react to various factors. While creating the message, the creator should keep these factors in mind.
The advertiser should remember the possible outcomes of an advertisement message. Once the buyer receives he decodes the message.
The media message can create awareness about the brand leading to feeling of familiarity. Secondly, message will give information to the buyer about the product attributes. Thirdly, the buyer or consumer may stay associating himself with the brand.
Fourthly, through the choice of the spokesperson and other audio-visual effects, the consumer may develop an image about the brand, this is called brand personality. Finally, the advertisement can create an impression that the brand is chosen by people who have a celebrity status, whom the consumer would like to emulate.
This is how branded products are presented as being fashionable. These are essential five effects a message is likely to create which leads to purchase action via formation of the brand attitude.
Advertisement essentially tells us the role of advertising. A successful ad-message first of all should create attention or attract attention. If it fails here, the advertisement is unable to achieve anything else. Today’s consumer is exposed to huge number of message stimuli simultaneously. Clearly out of this only a small proportion will be paid attention. Attention thus can be viewed as an information filter.
This filter operates at various levels. It can be an active search and active attention where fortunately for the marketer, buyer himself is seeking information. In such a case getting consumer attention is not a challenging job.
But, in case of passive search and attention, when the consumer is not in an immediate need of the product so he is not taking extra effort to search for the information, through exposure to the market stimuli, he assimilates some information about brand and the product. This is called passive attention.
Once the message is paid attention, the message is interpreted in the way the receiver intends to interpret. Here again the advertiser plays a crucial role. The message should be encoded in such a way the advertiser wants him to decode and not the way the buyer himself wants to decode. Interpretation of the message is psychological process.
Certain facts about the processing of information have been found out by consumer psychologists. Firstly, information is interpreted as a whole and not in bits and pieces. When a message is given, the layout, the audiovisual background, everything will be put together and a total image and configuration of the advertisement will be interpreted. Secondly, consumers have a cognitive drive towards an orderly cognitive configuration.
An orderly, configuration is the one which is simple, familiar, meaningful, regular and complete. If these two actions, namely attention and interpretation, are done by the consumer according to the sender’s desire, the role of advertising is successfully completed. To achieve these two effects, advertiser brings in certain ‘elements’ in the advertisements.
(a) Believability in Advertising:
Consumers have a ‘toleration level’, beyond which the advertisement becomes “too unrealistic to believe (although sometimes, non-believability generates curiousness in the consumers which make them pay attentions)”.
However, there is a distinct difference between emphatic disbelief and non-belief. Non-belief contains an element of risk taking attitude. When there is a non-belief, an advertiser can communicate an all-round message, whereby bought only the product attributes are shown but it is supplemented by ‘critical’ arguments given by individuals or organisations, who have no commercial gain from speaking for the product, organisations who conduct independent research.
Such an element will enhance the believability of the product. The message will be — the manufacturer is not saying about the product but ‘others’ are saying, which may not always be 100 per cent in favour of the product, which further increases the believability element in the advertisement.
Comparative advertising is a form of advertising where two or more specifically named or recognisable brands in the same product attributors. Prior to 1970, comparative advertising was considered illegal, but after 1970, it is fully legal to have an element of comparativeness, which is very effective especially when two distinct brands are compared.
But one has to be very clear, while giving comparative figures about the veracity and reliability of the claims. Although large number of firms are going for comparative advertising, there is no clear evidence to prove whether comparative advertisements are more effective than non-comparative ones.
In fact, some researchers feel comparative advertisements are confusing for the consumers especially if the channel of communication is an electronic media. It also agitates people who are biased towards the brand which is shown in negative light. However, research conducted by Sujan and Dekleva have found that comparative advertisements gain in relative effectiveness when aimed at more knowledgeable consumers.
Effectiveness of comparative advertisement also depends on whether it is a one-sided ad or two- sided. Two-sided ad not only advertises the positive attributes but also shows the negative (if any) attributes of the advertised brand, unlike one sided ad which shows only the positive attributes.
Two sided ads are taken as more reliable and honest and hence are more effective. Further, effectiveness will depend on whether the advertiser is drawing the conclusion or is leaving it to the viewer of advertisement to draw conclusion. Generally later option is more effective as it gives a chance to the consumer for cognition which may provoke him to seek further information about the product.
However, to allow the consumers to draw their own conclusion has an element of risk. If there is a significant chance that consumer may not be motivated to draw his own conclusion or to draw wrong conclusion, the effectiveness of the comparative advertisement will be enhanced by projecting the conclusion of the advertisement.
Both believability and comparative advertising are ‘rational’ approaches. These advertisements shows on persuasive power of the arguments and reasons put forward. There is another category of advertisements which rely on ’emotions’ or ‘feelings’ for this effectiveness.
These advertisements evoke emotions like fear, humour, urgency, etc. Emotional advertisements are more suitable for the product where the consumer buys the product because of a ‘feel’ factor where the learning process follows a low involvement peripheral route. But, for products where there-is high involvement and thinking, rational approach is more successful.
Some of the important emotional appeals are:
(i) Humour Appeal:
Humour appeal is used with the belief that humour easily attracts attention. It makes the receiver relaxed, so the comprehensive capabilities sometimes go up. Humour appeal has a generic harmless appeal. As a result all types of consumers like such advertisements. Further, humour doesn’t affect the message in a negative way.
However, humour is more appealing for educated, socially and upwardly mobile people. Sometimes, the marketer is also scared that people will not take the product seriously. Hence, humour should be used for only well-established products when people are already brand aware.
(ii) Fear Appeal:
Anxiety has become part of the modern society. The deteriorating environmental condition, health hazard, all such similar situations make communication of the ‘dire’ state easy as the consumer readily pays attention to the message. This appeal invokes ‘safety need’ in consumers and consumers want to avoid the situation by taking preventive steps.
A landmark study for fear-based communications was done by Janis and Feshback concerning dental hygiene. Individuals in a high school in Connecticut, USA, were exposed to strong, medium and mild fear appeal. The result obtained was medium and mild fear appeal were more effective than strong fear appeal.
Very strong fear builds up hostility and hence the message is not communicated properly. Fear appeal is more appealing when the consumer believes it is coming from an authoritative source. Mild or medium fear brings in a sense of unpleasantness which the consumer wants to avoid or remove. While extreme fear appeal is effective only in cases when the target audience is having high fear appeal is when it is declared there is a direct link between lung cancer and smoking.
If the target audience is not smoking, then the fear appeal is taken as precaution to be remembered as the audience is of low anxiety group. Strong fear appeals are generally used by advertisers of health insurance, life insurance, etc.
(iii) Agony Appeal:
Agony advertisements highlight the discomfort a person might be facing, like a headache, insomnia, acidity, problems which do not have visible signs, hence, do not generate sympathy from others. Hence, if the advertisement shows concern with such problems, it is immediately taken up by the target audience.
Audience member believes to get the sympathy which was missing from the people around him and he starts identifying with the problem. Most of us have sometimes or the other faced sleeping problem. The reason for that may be anything, but an advertisement like this, especially if one faces the problem frequently, will promptly catch the attention of the viewer.
(iv) Reputation Appeal:
Advertisers who use this route of appealing to their target audience are actually highlighting the negative aspect of using a similar product of a different brand, or making the viewer think what they have to face if they are not buying the advertised product.
By highlighting the negative attribute of the competitive product without naming it specifically, the advertiser is assuming the viewer to decode the message as the advertised product is devoid of the mentioned negative attribute and hence, the buyer should go for it.
Research has proved that memory of unpleasant advertisement is remembered by the viewers, but when unpleasantness viewers remember the brand name. Advertisements with repulsion effect are generally persuasive advertisements.
(v) Sex Appeal:
Sensuality, which is on the border of the sex appeal, seems to be very popular with the advertisers. Sex appeal by its very nature catches attention of the viewer, targeted or unintended. Such an appeal can range from blatant sexuality to double meaning phrases and concepts to subtle hints.
Consumer reaction to sex in advertising is very difficult to predict Although there is hardly any other appeal which can match up to the attention value of sex appeal but, the purpose of the advertisement is not solved unless it is interpreted as per the desire of the sender of the message.
Predicting the success of the sex appeal in advertising is yet not proved but, one common finding of all related research is the product, the message, the target audience, all should have a harmonious relation. Irrelevant use of this appeal can have attention value but may not result in a purchase behaviour.
(vi) Celebrity Endorsement:
This is an ad with a well-known film star and the advertiser is highlighting the celebrity status of the model to arouse a desire in the minds of the viewer towards the object.
An endorser is a ‘source’ of the information in the ad. This is a case of persuasive communication. Role of celebrity endorsement and its relation to consumer buying behaviour is a part of social psychology. The receiver of such ads is getting a persuasive message, you can buy or you should, what your ‘hero’ is endorsing.
Viewers generally get two types of messages from such ads. The cognitive message, which includes status, power, prestige associated with the model, and the effective message, which includes, attractiveness, trustworthiness associated with the celebrity status model. Celebrity endorsement is comparatively new in India, but since 1990s celebrity endorsement has really picked up.
The concept has worked extremely successfully abroad, and now ad makers are trying to exploit and encash this opportunity here. Few examples are- Swiss Watch brand ‘Longing’ have taken Ex-Miss World Aishwarya Rai to be their ambassador. Ex-Miss Universe Sushmita Sen endorses all the Epson products.
Other similar trends are seen by companies like, Opel Corsa car (Kashmira Shah), Rado watches (Lisa Ray), De Beers Millennium campaign for diamonds (Urmila Matondkar), Samsung (Tabu), Coke (again Aishwarya Rai), Hyundai and Omega (Shah Rukh Khan), the list is a long one.
Some of these campaigns have been instant success in the country, but going by the market survey result of Indian consumers being price conscious, to what extent the buying behaviour will get affected by only celebrity endorsement, is yet to be seen.
However, since celebrity endorsement is for luxury items like luxury cars, diamonds, expensive watches, such products are price inelastic. The target consumers for these products fall in the rich bracket and hence if the advertisement is really appealing to them. They may develop an attitude for these products.
Strategic Framework for Creating Brand Personality
Brand personality is one aspect that can help the brand grow faster and get success by associating with the customers. The marketers’ role is, to clearly identify what type of brand personality will work for the Brand and how to communicate the brand attitude to the consumers and the target group.
Below is a framework on how to create brand personality and what all should be kept in mind during the entire process:
The brand personality is needed to create an image of the brand and associations related to it. When the product is not a hero; a hero is required to make an impression about the brand. This essentially means that when there is nothing special to talk about the product, we have to use a brand personality to register the brand with the consumers. For example, Lays used Saif Ali Khan and M.S. Dhoni in its advertisement campaigns to register the brand.
A brand can leverage on the personality used; as some qualities or characteristics of the personality are automatically associated to the product. For example, Thumps Up had Akshay Kumar as its brand personality. His reputation of being an action hero also made Thumbs Up a daring, strong and thrilling brand.
a. Brand Ambassadors:
They are associated with a brand for a longer time frame. They have a tie up with the brand which prevents them from endorsing any competing brands. For example, Coke uses Aamir Khan as the Brand Ambassador; L’Oreal has Aishwarya Rai as its Ambassador.
Celebrity endorsement is relatively for a shorter period of time. It may be a tactical move of the company. The celebrity can endorse a brand but is not tied to that brand. Endorsements can be a tactical move by the company to take advantage of a current situation.
Brands may also use virtual personalities for a brand. The famous Marlboro man signified freedom and an extremely masculine image for the brand. In another example, Raymond always uses the ‘Complete Man’ tagline to depict a man who is modern but, has values imbibed in him.
Along with the brand personality marketers can use other elements of visual communications; it is done to create imagery. For example, Tag Heuer shows the biggest and most famous celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Brad Pitt and Anna Kournikova wearing its watches.
Selecting the right personality for the brand is a very critical job. The person’s innate qualities should match with the brand features. Whatever the brand is trying to communicate to the customers it should be correctly understood by the customers. For example, Dharmendra was used once to promote Rajdoot bikes to signify ruggedness and toughness.
The personality should be able to bridge the gap between company and the customer. If the company is entering a new country, then using that country’s celeb will yield good results. For example, when Hyundai entered India, they used Shahrukh Khan. This was a good connect as Shahrukh has a huge fan following in the country. A brand being accepted and used by them transcends trust to the brand.
Using brand personality successfully can generate more revenues for a brand as the top of the mind awareness would lead to recall and eventually brand purchase. This would add incremental returns both to the Company as well as to the consumers. The incremental returns would mean more profit for the company and gratification for the consumer.
If a company can successfully implement this model by conducting their own study and research, Brand can achieve considerable success and would also help in building the other brands from the company’s portfolio. The legendary rebel leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro sold cigars with his own name as a personality.
Even though he is no more people still relish the cigars of his Brand. Dilip Chabbria, the famous automobile expert in designing has branded his company as DC designs and every vehicle modifies at his workshop in Pune, India bears the signature Logo of DC. These two examples bears the testimony that Strong Brands can also be built using Strong personalities.
These personality types are the faces that the customers attach to the brand. All these are human characteristics that the brand may portray.
Brand Personality can be:
1. Sincere- A sincere brand may signify down to earth and economic characteristics for example, Nokia 1100. Cheerful and Sanguine can be associated with Ronald McDonald’s Mascot. Tata as a brand conveys reliability, trust and loyalty, thus is can be a sincere brand.
2. Exciting- Mountain Dew has its positioning as ‘Do the dew’. All the advertisements show daring events and adventure. Mountain Dew is a spirited and daring brand.
3. Competent– The brands are able to maintain their competence by proving their dominance in quality products and world class technology and innovations. For example, Apple is a brand that is respected for its intelligence and reliability. Nike can be associated as a successful brand.
4. Sophisticated- An upper class image to be sophisticated and being class apart has to be one of the premium brands. For example, Mercedes may signify sophisticated brand.
The brand personality comprises of the attributes that are defined by the company and also that are discovered by its customers through their experience with the brand. The customers also provide images, attitudes and beliefs about a brand and thus, can be called market created. As this is the reverse way of information flow. The regular interactions with the brand also help in discovering many uses and facets about the brand which might have eluded the marketers completely.
The brand Personality can be driven by product related attributes or non-product related attributes. The product related attributes can be the protagonists in defining the brand personality. If a brand is trying to be seen as an upper class and sophisticated brand; it will always choose a personality who resonates its essence.
Longines is an expensive brand in women watches so to endorse the brand they have roped in Kate Winslet and Aishwarya Rai.
The brand personality projects the brand’s core values and beliefs by describing how customer can expect to be treated by the brand. The consumer associates his persona with that brand which ultimately induce more loyalty towards the brand. For example, Bacardi exhibits a cool personality with their famous ‘Sun, Sand and Sea’ commercial which changed the way people perceive liquor and build a new category for White Spirits in the world.
If the brand personality is effective. It defines the brand’s ultimate purpose and differentiates it from the competitive set. Marlboro’s famous cowboy advertisement claimed it to be a brand which stands for freedom, being rebellious and masculine.
Image is a permanent spot in the minds of the consumer, sometimes the personality will create images which can be easily recognized by the target group and would associate themselves with the brand. For example, Adidas creates a strong personality by associating itself with the Fifa World Cup and the brand communication revolves around the leading footballers in their brand and reinforces their tagline ‘Impossible is Nothing’.
By putting a celebrity or building an imaginary personality, the brands stands to gain easy recognition in the world of competition and that is what is possible by showing the personality in a 30 second ad film as the whole features of the product cannot be sold in the 30 second commercial. The brands like Pepsi which have a segment of youth as their main target group focus on cricketers to build aspirations in the cricket crazy countries like India, Pakistan, Australia and England.
Using brand personality communicates an arched over tone, style, and attitude about the brand’s experience and customer interactions. It demonstrates a brand’s passion, expertise and connects with the brand users like the Harley Davidson Group (HOG) have their merchandise like jackets, Mugs, T-shirts, key chains, etc., for reinforcing.
Personality creates an affinity and strong associations with targeted customer segments by touching and energizing their motivations. The more they feel the brand represents them the stronger is the connection with the brand and thus, increases recall. For example, Lomani launches perfumes with the celebrity names across the world like Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith, Amitabh Bachchan, etc.
If the consumer wants speed or style in a motorcycle, the effective communication and the brand personality associated with the brand should match the attributes desired by the customer. Yamaha Motorcycles earlier were not successful with Saif Ali Khan as their brand personality but, when they replaced by him with John Abraham after the movie Dhoom, people could relate masculinity, speed and style with the latter.
At times, the marketers are enthused with the idea of using a celeb without thinking of the perfect fit. The space commanded by the celeb is even more than that of brand that they are promoting. In such cases the recall of such an advertisement is of no use to the brand.
At time a famous star may be promoting a number of brands at the same time. This may also not help the brand as it kills the desired effect due to too many associations with the ambassador.
For companies that operate in more than one country, have to be really careful about choosing an ambassador, look or colours of their brand. One personality that is known to one nation may not be known to other parts of the world.
Implementing brand personality decisions would turn scientific in future. The brand consultants are doing meticulous research on identifying the right fit to match with the brand personality any back fire in the process will eventually dilute the brand and would cost dear to the company.
MTV is experimenting with an animated Video Jockey and has created a huge fan following for it, which signifies that the future brand personality would be digitally mastered images and these are created by taking a lot of consumer insights into consideration.
Some brands are putting in a lot of efforts in creating strong brand personalities whom they want to stay with them forever. Oprah Winfrey the highest paid TV anchor in the world is a symbol of a strong personality of the Hispanic population in USA, and brands ranging from grooming products to apparels want her to be their Brand Ambassador.