Matching brand personalities to customer personalities

For several decades, researchers from the psychology, sociology, management and marketing fields have been examining the area of personality research. At this time, “The Big Five” model from McCrae and Costa is seen as the most reliable and credible theory in the field.

The Big Five model classifies customer personalities on five traits:

  • Neuroticism: Ranging from calm, relaxed, secure (low) to nervous, emotional, insecure (high)
  • Extroversion: Ranging from reserved, aloof, task-oriented, quiet (low) to sociable, talkative, person-oriented, optimistic (high)
  • Openness: Ranging from conventional, narrow interests, unartistic (low) to curious, broad interests, creative, untraditional (high)
  • Agreeableness: Ranging from cynical, suspicious, uncooperative (low) to good-natured, trusting, helpful, straightforward (high)
  • Conscientiousness: Ranging from unreliable, lazy, careless, negligent (low) to organized, reliable, hard-working, punctual (high)

Similarly, Mulyanegara, Tsarenko, and Anderson (2009) have identified four main brand personalities:

  • Trusted: trustful, reliable, and persevering
  • Sociable: friendly, creative, and outgoing
  • Exciting: active, adventurous, and cool
  • Sincere: simple, caring, and helpful

Their research with college age consumers and fashion products showed a strong relationship between high scores in the different customer personality types and brand personalities, as follows:

  • Trusted brand – Conscientiousness personality
  • Sociable brand – Neuroticism, openness and agreeableness personalities
  • Exciting brand – Extroversion personality
  • Sincere brand – Agreeableness personality

Therefore, from a marketing perspective, when customer personas are developed, the customer personality type should be a key factor. These personality types should then drive the type of brand personality (including advertising, imagery, etc.) that will be developed.

References:

Mulyanegara, R., Tsarenko, Y., Anderson, A. (2009). “The Big Five and brand personality: investigating the impact of consumer personality on preferences towards particular brand personality”. Brand Management. 16 (4), pp. 234-247.

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