The strategic importance of brand personality has become apparent in brand management over recent years. Brand personality is defined as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand” (Aaker 1997, p.347).

A distinctive personality can help brands and companies to create a set of unique and favorable associations in the consumers memory and thus build a differentiated offering. Companies that understand their brand personality can effectively use it to enhance their core brand equity.

As a result, brand personality is considered to be a key factor for the success of a brand in terms of consumer preferences and the choices they make.

Indeed, a well-established brand personality can result in consumers having stronger emotional ties to the brand and greater trust and loyalty thus providing an enduring basis for brand differentiation which is difficult to copy by competitors.

From a managerial perspective, brand personality enables firms to communicate with their customers about the brand more effectively and plays a major role in advertising and promotional efforts. As such, marketing practitioners have become increasingly aware of the importance of building “a clear and distinctive brand personality”.

Jenifer Aaker (1997) developed and validated a five-dimension, 42-trait scale of brand personality that has been used by practitioners for a number of years to understand their brand’s personality. All brands can be measured on each of the 5 dimensions which are Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication and Ruggedness.

Practitioners can measure attitudes and perceptions that consumers have of brands. Brands do not have to be high on all dimensions but may desire to be high on a number of them using this profile measure. Practitioners must ensure that brands must maintain consistent, desirable, and enduring personalities to ensure their long-term success.

For example…

Nike are seen as exciting, cool, rugged and innovative. Their brand personality is emphasised by Nike’s long-standing strategy of sponsoring the worlds top athletes and sports people.

They have consistently followed this branding strategy over the last 30 years and portray their personality in all of their marketing communications. Here their personality illustrates their passion for innovation and technology developments and their sponsored athletes endorse the latest ground breaking products.

On the other hand, Coca-Cola is a vibrant brand associated with happiness and excitement. Arguably, many people select the brand for the experience rather than the taste.

McDonalds has a strong personality built based on family values and communicates a hassle-free breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is also recognized as convenient, quick, clean and simple.

Dr Ian Grime

Associate tutor of in>Professional Development