So first of all, what is brand personality? Well, brand personality can be defined quite simply as “a set of human characteristics associated with a particular brand” (Steinman, 2012, p. 76). This concept is irrevocably connected to the study of consumer behaviour as it describes the phenomenon of how some consumers identify and relate to specific brands (Schiffman et al, 2014, p. 136). In many instances, brand managers personify their brands by transforming their product or service into a human-like character. Aaker has produced a brand personality framework (see diagram below) that intends to depict the ‘structure and nature’ of a brand’s personality. The framework proposes that there are five personality dimensions of a brand (sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness) and 15 personality traits in accordance with each (Schiffman et al, 2014). This framework covers most of brand attributes that would appeal to a variety of consumers.
When I think of brand personality, I immediately think of Apple Mac computers and their famous Mac vs. PC advertisements. Mac employs the actor Jason Long and personifies itself as a cool, young, hip, fun and creative type and personifies Mac as old, out of date and boring. Take a look at the YouTube video below to refresh your memory!
This falls right under the ‘excitement’ dimension of the brand personality framework and encompasses the four facets that make this up. Apple Mac positions itself as daring, spirited, imaginative and up-to-date and effectively positions its number one competition as old-fashioned and nerdy. This is an example of successful brand personification as consumers are able to relate to Mac’s personality and build a relationship with the brand based on feelings and associations. It also cleverly enables Apple to advertise its latest products and features and edge out its current competition in a humorous and endearing way.
Schiffman, L, O’Cass, A, Paladino, A & Carlson, J 2014, Consumer Behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, Australia
Steinman, RB 2012, ‘Brand personality, Brand Transgression and Consumer Behavior’, International Journal of Business and Commerce, Vol. 2, Iss. 1, pp.76-82