What is Brand Personality?

Brand identity and brand image are typically conceptualized as multi-dimensional constructs of which brand personality is an important component.

The early use of brand personality by practitioners referred to virtually "any non-physical attributes associated with a brand" (Azoulay and Kapferer, 2003; Sung et al., 2015). Over the course of several decades, the term ‘brand personality’ has become widely used and accepted (Plummer, 2000). Aaker (1997, p. 347) limited its scope by defining brand personality as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand.” This understanding of ‘personality’ in branding corresponds to the ‘self-concept’ in psychology (Belk, 1988). Brand managers and consumers are inclined to use personality traits, but also age, gender, fashion style and various other types of characteristics to describe a brand`s personality (MacInnis and Folkes, 2017). Therefore, differing from its specific meaning in psychology, brand personality should not be limited to personality traits.



The process of developing a brand personality can help you to better understand what your brand is about and what and whom it should represent.



What’s the basic Idea?

Brands have to ‘stand for something’, otherwise they are just meaningless. Relying on a few brand associations such as ‘luxury’, ‘performance’ or ‘innovation’ is not enough, because that’s too general to make a brand stand out.
If you create a brand, you need to think carefully about its symbolic meaning (the ‘brand identity’). But how can you come up with what your brand should stand for?

First of all, imagine your brand as a person!
Instead of thinking about an object, describing a brand as a person is easier, more fun, and can be a success driver for your business.




Why should you develop a Brand Personality?

Creating a brand personality is one of the most promising strategies for brand differentiation: Humanized brands provide a source of symbolic meaning, which can be used by consumers to express themselves or improve their self-worth. Consumers perceive humanized brands as more plausible relationship partners, tend to evaluate them more favorably, and are more likely to perceive such brands as similar or connected to them, which, in turn, encourages them to engage in relationships with these brands. In comparison with objects, people tend to build closer bonds with other humans. Therefore, to achieve ‘brand love’ among your target customers, your brand should be human, too.






Aaker, J. (1997) Dimensions of Brand Personality, Journal of Marketing Research. 34(3): 347-356.
Azoulay, A., & Kapferer, J. N. (2003). Do brand personality scales really measure brand personality? Journal of Brand Management, 11(2): 143-155.
Belk, R.W. (1988) Possessions and the Extended Self. Journal of Consumer Research, 15(2): 139-168
MacInnis, D.J. & Folkes, V.S. (2017) Humanizing Brands: When Brands Seem to Be Like Me, Part of Me, and in a Relationship with Me, Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming.
Plummer, J. T. (2000). How personality makes a difference. Journal of Advertising Research, 40(6), 79-84.
Sung, Y., Choi, S.M., Ahn, H., and Song, Y.-A. (2015) Dimensions of Luxury Brand Personality: Scale Development and Validation. Psychology and Marketing, Vol. 32(1): 121-132.