Brand Personality: Article Analysis Essay
If I am a brand, how would you get to know me? How would you get to like me? How might you develop real feelings for me? Brands today are just like human personality, it is both distinctive and enduring. Imagine a Harley- Davidson tattoo on your arm; would you perceive yourself to be more muscular or less muscular than before? In the article, the authors revealed that brand personality do “rub off” onto some consumer who hold certain beliefs about their personality- entity theorist in particular.
In this paper, I will be discussing the research topic and the methods used and explore the practicability of the article. Park and John investigated how consumers respond to brand personality and introduce implicit self- theories (entity theory and incremental theory) as an important factor in understanding consumers’ response to brand personality. In addition, they conducted experiments to provide support for the rationale underlying their predictions. Four studies are conducted to test their predictions.
For the purpose of this paper, I will elaborate the independent and dependent variables as well as the findings according to the experiments conducted. Incremental theorists view their personal qualities as malleable, which they can improve through their own efforts and seek opportunities for self- improvement and growth. In contrast, entity theorists believe that their personal qualities are fixed, which they cannot improve through their own direct efforts and seek for opportunities to signal their positive qualities to the self or others.
Study 1 aims to investigate the impact of implicit self- theories on Victoria’s Secret’s (VS) brand personality. Three personality traits (good-looking, feminine, and glamorous) which most strongly associated with the brand are used to measure self- perceptions. The self- perceptions after carrying the shopping bag is used as the dependent variable, with implicit self- theory, experimental condition and the interaction between implicit self-theory and experimental condition as independent variables.
The results show that only entity theorists perceived themselves to be more good-looking, feminine and glamorous after using a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag. Incremental theorists were not affected by the shopping bag they carried. Study 2 is conducted to test for consistency with the view that entity theorists respond to brand experiences that provide opportunities in portraying their positive qualities. In comparison, brand’s personality traits in study 2 are less malleable than the ones associated with Victoria’s Secret.
Similar to study 1, the self- perceptions after using the pen is used as the dependent measure, with implicity self theory, experimental condition and the interaction between implicit self- theory and experimental condition as independent variables. Consistent to the results in study 1, entity theorists who used the MIT pen perceived themselves to be more intelligent, harder working, and more of a leader than entity theorists who used the regular pen. Among incremental theorists, the type of pen used did not affect their self- perceptions on these traits.
Study 3 examines how brand experience differs in a less public setting. Self- implicit theories were manipulated prior to the treasure using article presenting views consistent with entity theory or incremental theory. Self- perceptions, brand signaling and psychological discomfort after using the shopping bag are measured as the dependent variable with the evaluation of the shopping bag and self-perceptions prior to bag usage as the independent variable. Findings were replicated as the first and second study.
Participants who read an article promoting entity theory perceived themselves to posses the personality traits of Victoria’s Secret. Conversely, participants who read an article promoting incremental theory were not influenced by the bag they used. Lastly, study 4 tests whether entity theorists respond to the signaling value of brands in a private setting. A threat to participants’ perception of themselves in terms of intelligence, hardworking, and leadership is introduced.
Study 4 measures the impact of self-threat condition, implicit self- theory and the interaction between self- threat condition and implicit self-theory (independent variables) on self- perceptions (dependent variable). Faced with a self- threat, entity theorists embrace the opportunity by using an MIT pen to portray themselves as more intelligent, hardworking and a leader as compared to those who used a regular pen. In conclusion, the findings of this article were consistent over the four experiments conducted.
Brand personalities do rub off on consumers- entity theorists, resulting in more positive perceptions of themselves on personality traits associated with the brands they used. The article gave me a better understanding towards the impact of brand personality towards consumers of different beliefs. Furthermore, it uncovers the underlying reason to such behavior. The ANCOVA method enables me to realize the main effect and interaction between the dependent and independent variables. However, I find that the sample selected for the experiments conducted may pose as a potential bias in the results.
For instance, participants in study 2 were selected from two marketing classes. Participants may not answer truthfully when they were asked how well the traits (intelligence, hardworking and leader) represent them. Both entity and incremental theorists will perceive themselves to be comparably intelligent as they are from the same class. Hence, effect of self-perception may not necessarily be due to the usage of the MIT pen. Also, the article does not indicate the possibility in purchasing the brand despite having an increased self-perception value (for entity theorist only).
As mentioned by Park and John, findings only represent brands with appealing brand personalities. Therefore, the results may not be applicable to brands with non-appealing brand personality. For example, “Eng Wah” is associated with being old and unpopular. Negative traits like these will not be rubbed off onto consumers. Both entity and incremental theorists will not feel worse off if given the opportunity to watch a movie at Eng Wah. The findings of this article can be extended to a wide range of product categories as long as the brand has a personality attached.
A brand manager can focus on developing the brand’s personality knowing that it does have an impact on some consumers. For example, Nike is associated with excellence performance in sports. Perhaps, consumers might feel more athletic using Nike Shoes. The brand manager can use that as a differentiating factor and makes Nike distinct from other competitive offerings. A change in marketing plan could include sponsorships in brand- related events or by promoting sports- related characteristics. In the long run, consumers may appreciate the personality of the brand and help increase brand loyalty.