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Brand Personality & Self-Image and Consumer Behavior


A product personality frequently signifies that the product/brand has a gender or gender-being. To distinguish the apparent gender of manufactured goods or brands, salespersons choose to display images and copy-text for diverse marketing communication (Berry 2000, p.149).

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Problem statement

The problem statement of this proposal is on consumers’ traits that can be grouped as specific personal behavior, concepts, traits, and mannerisms that differentiate a person from other individuals. This proposal reveals individual distinctions. Many individuals may be related to a few personality characteristics, but they are never indistinguishable in all features. Consumers’ demand conduct often changes considerably because the psychological, socio-cultural, environmental, situational factors that control behavior differ. Given that an individual interrelates with different circumstances, he/she is prone to demonstrate different behavioral patterns.

Consequently, this study aims at evaluating whether consumer personality controls the purchasing decision of the consumer.

A brief overview of previous relevant research

Previous research was done by Freud on how the branding approach affects the consumer purchasing actions for products; therefore the focus will be on Freud’s theory of personality, based on the principle that unaware needs or constraints, particularly sexual, and other natural drives are the basic factors of human motivation (Hill & Alexander 2000). Human personality results from a self-motivated interaction between inner physiological drives and social pressures to act by norms, rules, and moral codes. The Freudian theory suggested that the personality of humans consists of three systems, such as identification, the personality, and the super personality (Lantos 358, 2010).

Objectives of the program of research and investigation

This proposal has been designed to achieve the following broad learning objectives:

  • Identify the theoretical approaches and clear (and often sudden) understanding of personality theories. It is based on the premise that there is an emotional close, personal relationship, or congruence between consumer self and brand-self.
  • Define scope and structure of the application of Trait theories and self-image in the context of consumer behavior.
  • Assuming brands are like humans we make a self-contemplation of how consumers assign different feasible meanings or personalities to different recognized brands.

Research methods

The research method of this proposal can be classified as:

  1. Innovativeness: The level to which an individual likes to consume new products or services (e.g., novelty-seeking) (Segui n.d).
  2. Dogmatism: Reflects the level of rigidity a consumer expresses towards strange products as also towards information that is different from his/her established principles.
  3. Social character: Inner or outer directedness in terms of searching for assistance from others.
  4. Need for uniqueness: These individuals try to be unique.
  5. Optimum stimulation level (OSL): The degree or number of novelty or involvements which consumers seek in their personal experiences (OSL 2009).
  6. Variety or novelty-seeking: Consumers can be classed high to low in multiplicity or novelty-seeking.

Research Question

This proposal aims to assess how consumer personality and self-image are affecting consumer purchasing behavior. In assessing the statement, this research tries to answer the following questions:

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  1. Who are the target segments?
  2. Are the personality attributes used for brand personality appropriate in measuring customers’ personalities?
  3. Does brand personality and self-image result in higher levels of overall satisfaction, trust, and ultimately, brand loyalty?
  4. What is the personality of the brand that matches the profile?


As with any consumer-based research, the research proposal was not free of limitations. Due to its exploratory nature, the results of this research cannot be comprehensive.

Definition of key Terminology

  • Brand personality: “set of human characteristics associated with a brand” (Aaker, 1997, p.347).
  • Self-image: “a deeply held commitment to rebuy or patronize a brand” (Oliver 1999, p.34).


The methodology used in this proposal is the variables generated from theoretical and empirical research pilot tested among a pool of respondents and refined.

Background of the research proposal

Ataman and Ulengin (2003) stated that a brand’s personality relates to the insight that the brand forms in the consumers’ minds. Personality gives a different dimension and penetrating knowledge about a brand. It can breathe life into the form of lifeless images. Personality sees the brand as a person and gives the brand such qualities or features to which consumers can relate to. It allows consumers to form a critical opinion of a brand and base their decisions. Personality primarily helps a consumer spot self-image in the brand. A brand’s personality can be similar to that of a consumer, i.e. a brand can also be thought to be egocentric, demonstrative, resourceful, temperate, compassionate, professional, or a combination of all these (Hankinson & Cowking, 1993).

Personality is more stable than mere characters or product characteristics. Consequently, when a brand develops a definite distinct personality, it can excel from the multitude. It helps build a brand’s image and differentiate it from its competitors by bringing out its distinct consumer personality. Furthermore, at times when buying or assessment processes involve an emotional decision, an appealing personality gives a critical connection between the brand and consumer’s self-image (Debra and Aron 2002). It can be the purpose that justifies a product purchase, service delivery, and emotionally relates with consumers. Brand personality ultimately assists brands to gain market share, and command price premium, it also distinguishes or isolates itself from other brands in the product class (Wee 2004; Kotler 2003, p 418).

After the purchase of every product lays the customers’ probability. Let us take a few marketing examples. When consumers are purchasing clothes, they are not on the lookout for just a material to cover their nakedness. Perhaps, a typical consumer will look for something that is fitting, gives an excellent appearance, is comfortable, and promotes a sense of style.

In the same way, a car is not just a means of transportation. It is a comfortable means which, despite the satisfactory performance, gives certain social status. In some countries, a car is still a family product with pride of ownership.

In the case of cellular phone service, many customers mostly look for three factors: (1) connectivity, (2) communication closeness, and (3) cut-rate. While the brand personality of Vodafone is built on the concept of closeness, Airtel aims to touch people on a deeper emotional altitude by portraying itself as a means of talking to loved ones. While on the third factor, i.e. low cost, orange most likely, fit in best. All or some of these elements would be the driver for the customer to opt for an alternative over others. Whenever offered a choice, a customer is likely to select the preferred brand.

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Aaker, JL 1997, Dimensions of brand personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3), 347-356.

Ataman, MB, & Ulengin, B 2003, A note on the Brand Image on sales.” Journal of Product and Brand Management, 12, 4, 237-250.

Berry, L 2000, Relationship marketing of services: Growing interest, emerging perspectives.. In J. N. Sheth, & A. Parvatiyar, (Eds.), Handbook of relationship marketing (pp.149-170). London: Sage Publications.

Debra, G & Aron, O 2002, “Brand associations: looking through the eye of the beholder”, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 5 Iss: 2, pp.96 – 111

Hankinson, G and Cowking, P 1993, Branding in action: cases and strategies for profitable brand management. New York, NY:McGraw-Hill.

Hill, N & Alexander, J 2000, Handbook of customer satisfaction and loyalty measurement (Second ed.). Vermont: Gower.

Kotler, P 2003, Marketing management (Eleventh ed.). Delhi, India: Pearson Education (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

Lantos, GP 2010, Consumer Behavior in Action: Real-Life Applications for Marketing Managers. New York, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Aug 1, 2010.

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Oliver, RL, 1999, Whence consumer loyalty? Journal of Marketing, 63, 33-44.

Optimum stimulation level (OSL), n.d., Design and Marketing Dictionary. 2012. Web.

Segui, A, n.d, Notes on Consumer Behavior n.d., 2012. Web.

Wee, TTT, 2004, Extending human personality to brands: The stability factor. Journal of Brand management, 11 (4), 317-330.

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