Why Brand Personality Matters:
Aligning Your Brand to Cultural Drivers of Success
For many years, researchers have been using the concept of brand personality to
help describe brands and understand how they relate to consumers. More recently,
using data from WPP’s BrandZ study, we have looked at brand personality from a
cross-cultural perspective and demonstrated that there is a relationship between
the way brands express themselves in different countries and the strength of the
consumer relationships they generate.
By combining key outputs of BrandZ and CharacterZ and examining them in light of Geert
Hofstede’s model of the dimensions of culture, we can identify the brand characteristics
that are most likely to ensure success in different regions. Marketers who hope to achieve
global success for their brands must take heed of these findings and use them to modulate
the tenor of their brands’ communication across local and global campaigns.
What We Mean by Brand Personality
When we speak of a brand’s positioning, we are describing the things that differentiate
one brand from others. When we speak of a brand’s personality, we are describing the
way a brand expresses and represents itself. In BrandZ, we have asked over 500,000
people to describe brands using a set of 24 adjectives chosen to cover a wide range of
personality characteristics. We then assigned each brand to one of 10 archetypes according
to its dominant character. Developed using semiotics and both qualitative and quantitative
research, these archetypes allow us to reduce a vast array of brand personalities to a
manageable number of well-defined and recognizable characters.
Some global brands are characterized
differently in different parts of the
world. For example, in Italy, Spain, and
the UK, the Apple iPhone is viewed
as a Seductress, but in Australia it
is a Joker, and in Japan, a Dreamer.
This discrepancy highlights the many
factors that influence a brand’s
personality. Not only do consumers
experience a brand’s marketing
activities in light of their own values,
traditions, and circumstances, but they
also perceive personality traits through the lens of their cultural conditioning. Therefore it is imperative
that marketers pay attention to the personalities their brands
project; few characters have the power to transcend all cultures.
To continue reading, download Why Brand Personality Matters
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