Over the years, there has been some very interesting research related to the “personalities” associated with certain brands, such as excitement, sophistication, or playfulness, and the people who self-identify with and, therefore, prefer these brand personalities (Aaker 1999).
Torelli, Ozsomer, Carvalho, Hean, and Maehle (2009) codified this earlier brand personality work to develop a brand values scale (BVS). They identified ten value dimensions, or personalities, that can be applied to brands: power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security).
Torelli et al. then assessed the relationship between Hofstede‘s cultural dimensions associated with certain countries and the brand personality preferences for that country. Indeed, their results clearly indicated that countries with a higher “individualism” rating preferred brands that projected self-direction, stimulation, hedonism, power, and achievement. Conversely, there was equally strong preference in “collectivist” cultures for brands that projected universalism, benevolence, tradition, conformity, and security.
From a marketer’s standpoint, this research further emphasizes that brand personalities should match the cultural values in the target market in order to develop congruent associations, i.e. individualism or collectivism. This also points to the idea that brand personalities should be adapted when entering a new market if the core cultural values are different from the original market.
Torelli, C., Ozsomer, A., Carvalho, S., Hean, T., Maehle, N. (2009). “A measure of brand values: cross-cultural implications for brand preferences.” Advances in Consumer Research. 36 pp. 41-44.