From Marketing Theory
The concept of brand personality (BP) dates back to the 1950s but it was not until Aaker’s (1997) article that BP developed into a significant branch of academic research. Formally defining BP as ‘the set of human characteristics associated with the brand’. Aaker adapted the human five-factor model of personality to develop a brand personality five-factor model (BPFFM). Rock images share no obviously comparable antecedents to BP formation, but nevertheless authors found rock pictures had distinct personalities when using the BPFFM methodology. This article considers the possibility that, rather than measure pre-existing BP perceptions, the BPFF methodology ‘creates’ the perceptions of personality. The findings raise questions about its conceptualisation and emphasises the importance of critical examination of the methods used to measure marketing concepts.
Aaker’s (1997) brand personality (BP) scale is widely used in research and is an important foundation for the theory of BP. Building on extant critiques of the scale, this article considers the possibility that Aaker’s (1997) scale methodology ‘creates’ the BP that it measures. Using pictures of rocks as stimuli, this article applies the principles of Aaker’s methodology to examine the BP of rocks. Rocks are the chosen stimuli as they do not have any obvious commonalities with brands, or have antecedents to BP formation. Findings revealed that each of the rock stimuli has a distinct BP and that the personality is developed from sometimes surprisingly detailed personifications. In consideration of the importance of Aaker’s scale in the development of the BP concept, the findings raise questions about its conceptualisation and emphasises the importance of critical examination of the methods used to measure marketing concepts.
Mark Avis, Sarah Forbes, and Shelagh Ferguson
The brand personality of rocks: A critical evaluation of a brand personality scale
Marketing Theory December 2014 14: 451-475, first published on December 6, 2013 doi:10.1177/1470593113512323