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Effects of Brand Personality

Ove Oklevik
Sogn and Fjordane University College, Norway

This work (in progress) contributes to the literature on effects of brand personality in the following ways: (1) Investigation about brand personality might have different roles among symbolic vs. utilitarian products. (2) Testing Brand personality as a moderating variable.

Brand personality, the set of human characteristics associated with a brand, has become a central concept within the marketing literature (Aaker 1997; Azoulay and Kapferer 2003; Keller 2003). Especially since 1997, when Jennifer Aaker published her Brand Personality article, the literature about the topic has been growing. Aaker (1997) has been the standard reference in this stream of research. A quick search on papers citing Aakers (1997) work or on the key word ‘brand personality’ in standard literature databases as The Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), reveals a large amount of hits. However, Brand Personality is an old construct (Azoulay & Kapferer 2003; Aaker 1997). Marketing practitioners has used the construct for several decades (Plummer 1984). For instance, former U.S. president Ronald Reagan was a celebrity endorser for different products and brands during his acting days. The rationale behind this strategy is that a famous person can draw attention to a brand and shape the perceptions of the brand based on the knowledge consumers have about the famous person (Keller 2003). Brand Personality is an important antecedent inn formation of brand attitude; see (Aaker 1999; Chen & Wells 1999; Helgeson & Supphellen 2004; Batra & Homer 2004). But the effect of brand personality on other variables as brand loyalty (Kim, Han & Park 2001), new product evaluation (Madrigal 2000), relationship strength indicators (Aaker, Fournier & Brasel 2004), evaluation of brand extensions (Hem & Iversen 2002) and brand preference (Grimm 2005) has also been investigated. The results indicate that brand personality often has

strong effects on brand attitude, brand preference, brand loyalty, and brand relationship strength. Previous research on brand personality has mainly focused on brands within symbolic categories, e.g. stereo, sneakers, camera, fragrance, beer, wine, cellular phone, and car (Batra, Lehmann et al. 1993; Aaker 1999; Kim, Han et al. 2001). Some contributions argues with that Brand Personality should not have any effect among products and brands that are bought and used primary to solve problems (Batra, Myers et al. 1996; Aaker 1997). According to Aaker (1997), the brand personality approach can enable researchers to understand the symbolic use of brands at the same level as multi-attribute models (e.g. Fishbein and Ajzen 1975) shed insights into why consumers by brands for utilitarian reasons. However, most attitudes serve several functions (Shavitt 1990; Shavitt, Lowrey, and Han 1992). On this background, it is interesting that products that solely have a problem solving meaning exist in the pool of studied products which indicate significant effects of brand personality (Batra, Lehmann et al. 1993; Aaker 1999). It has not yet been studied what role Brand Personality might have among problem solving product. It is important to note that many products serve multiple purposes (Shavitt, Lowrey et al. 1992). For example, sunglasses serve both the problem solving purpose of providing protection from the sun as well as the symbolic purpose of selfexpression. In addition, we do have products that mainly are product solving by nature, as air conditioners, paper towel, soap and so on. Such products have been labelled as utilitarian products in literature (Shavitt 1990; Shavitt and Lowrey 1992). An understanding about how Brand Personality might function for utilitarian products, will give some additional insight into how the construct can function for the broader class of products that are both symbolic and utilitarian by nature. If it figures out that brand personality can function as an antecedent of brand attitude also for utilitarian products, the brand personality approach should have a broader range of use than what is known today. The literature on effects of Brand Personality shows that the construct is an important antecedent of brand attitude. However, no empirical contributions has used the construct as moderating variable, and only one as mediating variable (Kim, Han et al. 2001). Thus, it seems clear that the role of Brand Personality is not fully understood. According to Chaiken (1980) information can be processed in two ways, systematically and as heuristic. Brand personality is studied several times as an independent variable. This means that associations about brand personality are processed systematically and that this process is well documented and understood. On the other hand, the possibility that Brand Personality can be processed as heuristic has been overlooked.

This research project contributes to the literature about Brand Personality in two ways: (1) Investigation about brand personality might have different roles among symbolic vs. utilitarian products. (2) Testing Brand personality as a moderating variable.

Dependent measure – Brand attitude
Brand attitudes are defined as consumers’ overall evaluations of a brand (Wilkie 1986; Keller 1993). Brand attitudes are important because they often form the basis for consumer behaviour. This is probably the reason for why brand attitude so frequently is used as a dependent variable in symbolic brand research (Graeff 1997; Helgeson and Supphellen 2004). One widely accepted model of brand attitudes is the multiattribute model of (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975), which propose that attitude leads to intentions and intentions lead to actual behaviour. Keller (1993) writes that this model probably has been the most influential multiattribute model to marketing. According to the multiattribute model, brand attitudes are a function of the associated attributes and benefits that are salient for the brand. One of these benefits will be functional benefits and another will be symbolic benefits (Park, Jaworski et al. 1986; Keller 1993). Functional benefits are the more intrinsic advantages of product or service consumption. Intrinsic advantages correspond to product related attributes, for example quality of the product (Szybillo and Jacoby 1974; Riezebos, Kist et al. 2003). On the other hand, symbolic benefits are the more extrinsic advantages of product consumption (Park, Jaworski et al. 1986; Keller 1993). Extrinsic adventages are product-related but not part of the physical product itself. Price, brand name, and level of advertising are examples of extrinsic adventages (Szybillo and Jacoby 1974; Zeithaml 1988; Riezebos, Kist et al. 2003). Symbolic benefits relate to underlying needs for social approval or personal expression. According to Keller (1993) should symbolic benefits be especially relevant for symbolic products.

Independent measures
Utilitarian product attribute Quality of a product is important in consumer evaluations. Unfortunately, from a consumer’s point of view, the quality of a product might be difficult to establish before purchase. Therefore, consumers have to use different heuristics to guess the quality of a product. Szybillo and Jacoby (1974) distinguishes between intrinsic and extrinsic (attribute) heuristics. Intrinsic cues involve the physical composition of the product. Intrinsic attributes can not be

changed without altering the nature of the product itself (Szybillo and Jacoby 1974; Zeithaml 1988; Riezebos, Kist et al. 2003). Extrinsic cues are product-related but not part of the physical product itself. Price, brand name, level of advertising are examples of extrinsic heuristics to quality (Szybillo and Jacoby 1974; Zeithaml 1988; Riezebos, Kist et al. 2003). Other examples of quality heuristics used in empirical studies are country of origin (Ahmed, Johnson et al. 2002) and warranty (Erevelles, Roy et al. 2001). The important role of product quality in consumer evaluations can also be seen through studies of effects of advertising. Literature shows that there exist two main strategies in marketing communication as advertising. These are labelled the soft-sell and hard sell approach. The first one relates to image oriented ads and the latter one to quality oriented ads, (see Snyder and DeBono 1985). The effects of appeals that either are image- or quality oriented have been extensively studied (Snyder and Debono 1985; Debono 1987; Debono and Packer 1991; Shavitt, Lowrey et al. 1992). The fact that advertising focusing on quality of the product itself is an effective strategy to improve consumer evaluations indicates that quality is an important aspect in consumer judgement about products. Three possible alternatives to capture the construct of quality have been found in literature: perceived quality (Zeithaml 1988), functional product performance (Keller 2003), and utilitarian product attribute (Dhar and Wertenbroch 2000). In this research, the utilitarian product attribute approach will be chosen. This is done because the two other candidates suffer of some limitations. The functional product performance approach has not been used in any empirical research paper as far as I can see and the construct is not defined precisely. Further, the perceived quality construct has been interpreted as an overall judgement akin to attitude by several researchers (Zeithaml 1988). The utilitarian product attribute approach has been used in an experimental setting (Dhar and Wertenbroch 2000). The respondent were exposed to an apartment as stimuli, were the utilitarian product attribute was described as the distance from the apartment to work. Subjects were instructed to imagine themselves as consuming an alternative with either superior or inferior values: half of the subjects consuming 10 minutes drive to work and the other half 45 minutes. In both conditions they were told that they had to switch to another alternative, which was either better or worse according to the level of the utilitarian product attribute. When consumers are provided with a reference point, they may evaluate alternatives with respect to that reference point (Dhar and Wertenbroch 2000). The same pattern will

occur in consumer evaluations of products. Consumers do have expectations about how well products should function. When consumers evaluate different brands in the given product category, they compare the alternatives with a minimum level of quality or product performance (Keller 2003). Hence: H1: Utilitarian product attribute has a positive effect on brand attitude

Brand personality One argument for why Brand Personality should have any effect, relates to congruence, see (Aaker 1999; Hem and Iversen 2002; Helgeson and Supphellen 2004; Grimm 2005). The idea is that consumers are more likely to prefer brands with image similar to their own selfconcept. Self-concept can be interpret as the present self-concept, the ideal self-concept, the self-concept as perceived by significant others and, the self concept as ideally perceived by significant others (Sirgy 1982; Helgeson and Supphellen 2004). One person may want to drive his VW-car because the down-to-earth image of the brand fit with the consumers understanding of him self. Other products or brands are bought and used mainly on the reason of impression management. A man driving his Harley Davidson may which to signalise a rugged image. Some of the papers on effects of Brand Personality use the argument of congruence indirectly, exemplified through constructs as impression (Batra et. al 2004), selfmonitoring (Aaker 1999) and self expression (Kim et. al. 2001). Congruence seems to be especially important when products are used to emphasize any symbolic meaning for the consumer (Batra, Myers et al. 1996; Aaker 1997; Aaker 1999; Hem and Iversen 2002). Such products have been categorized as Social identity products in literature (Shavitt 1990; Shavitt and Lowrey 1992). It is reasonable that consumers are high involved in social identity products because the use of them are close related to self-expression. The study of Shavitt et. al (1994) showed that in the condition of high involvement the attractiveness of an endorser is very important and is scrutinized in consumer evaluations of the product. This indicates that the information processing appears in a systematic way. The attractiveness of an endorser does not function as heuristics, but is treated as direct source of information that is evaluated. Brand personality may play the same role as endorsers attractiveness because endorsement is one of the main sources in creation of brand personality (McCracken 1989; Aaker 1997). In addition, results from research on communication shows that image – based appeals (advertising) tend to be

more effective than quality-based appeals for social identity products. One such image variable that are used in advertising is brand personality (Batra, Lehmann et al. 1993). This indicates that brand personality is important as antecedent in attitude formation for social identity products. Hence:

H2: Brand personality has a positive effect on brand attitude for social identity products Some authors argue with that Brand Personality should not have any effect among products and brands that are bought and used only to solve problems (Batra, Myers et al. 1996; Aaker 1997). Such products has been categorized as utilitarian products in literature (Shavitt 1990; Shavitt and Lowrey 1992). Attitudes toward utilitarian products tend to be based on beliefs about product attributes and the rewards and punishments intrinsically associated with them. The motivation for buying an air conditioner is obtaining comfort and relief from heat. For utilitarian products, quality-based appeals (advertising) tend to be more effective than image – based appeals (Shavitt & Lowrey 1992; Shavitt 1989). This pattern might indicate that the level on utilitarian product attribute is more important than image variables (such as brand personality) as antecedent to attitude for utilitarian products. This view can be supported by findings in functional theory. According to Shavitt & Nelson (2000) consumers are less likely to associate users of utilitarian products with words that described personality traits than users of social identity products. It seems reasonable that personality associations then should be less important in evaluation for utilitarian products related to social identity products. Prior research has shown that differences between products are consequential in that they predict the content of the cognitive representation underlying an attitude (Shavitt 1990; Shavitt and Nelson 2000). For utilitarian products, the utilitarian product attribute should be most important in evaluation because such product are bought and consumed to solve or avoid problems. The attitude towards an air conditioner that effectively brings down the temperature (a high level of utilitarian product attributes) should be higher than a less effective one (a low level of utilitarian product attributes). Therefore, for utilitarian products it is reasonably to believe that the products ability to solve problems (and then the utilitarian product attribute) is the main driving force in the formation of attitude towards the product or brand. On the other hand, brand personality, which is strong related to the symbolic meanings of a brand, should not play a direct role in the formation of attitude. Hence:

H3: For utilitarian products, brand personality has no direct effect on brand attitude.

The moderating effect of Brand Personality
The literature mentions several ways a brand personality might be created. Two sources of interest are the brand’s user imagery (McCracken 1989; Aaker 1997), and product category associations (Batra, Lehmann et al. 1993; Aaker 1997). Viewed against this background, the finding of Shavitt and Nelson (2000) is particularly interesting. If personality traits associated with the user of a product become more salient for the user of a social identity product compared to the user of a utilitarian product, it is also reasonable that associations about brand’s personality follow the same pattern. Therefore, a brand in the class of social identity products should be more and stronger associated with personality traits than a brand in the class of utilitarian products. A message element which has been studied is the attractiveness of an endorser (Shavitt and Nelson 2002). Shavitt et al (1994)demonstrated that the attractiveness of endorses in an ad is used as shortcut or heuristic to product evaluation when utilitarian goals are made salient and the respondents involvement is low. One of the main sources in the creation of brand personality is endorsement (McCracken 1989; Aaker 1997). If the attractiveness of an endorser in an ad is used as shortcut or cue in consumer evaluations about utilitarian products, it is likely that brand personality can have the same role among this type of products. These findings indicate that brand personality may function as a moderating variable in the formation of attitude.

H4: For utilitarian products, brand personality has a moderating effect on brand attitude.

Theoretical model
In figure 1 abow, the conceptual model is outlined. The model incorporates Brand attitude as the dependent variable. Two independent variables are incorporated, (1) ‘utilitarian product attribute’ and (2) ‘brand personality’ (Aaker 1997; Aaker 1999). Further, the variable ‘brand personality’ is also modelled as a moderating variable. Moreover, one additional variable is included as a moderating variable. This is ‘product category’, which is the distinction between utilitarian and social identity products (Shavitt 1990).

Brand personality

Product category

Utilitarian product attribute
Figure 1. The conceptual model

Attitude towards the brand

Procedures In the first stage of this research, product stimuli were tested. 101 adults filled out a questionnaire about fifteen different products. Four clearly social identity products and four clearly utilitarian products were identified. For each product category a well known international brand was selected. In the second stage, Brand Personality characteristics of the eight selected brands were elicited by means of both open-ended questions and questionnaires. 294 subjects participated at this stage. The Brand Personality characteristics obtained from the second stage were used in the third stage. In the third stage of the study, 49 subjects filled out a questionnaire with measures of Brand Attitude, Brand Personality and Utilitarian Product Attribute was used. Data from the third stage was used to test the hypotheses. The fourth stage extends the study in stage three with more variables and a larger sample. Stage four is not yet conducted.

The first stage The main purpose of stage one was to identify products that are either clearly utilitarian or social identity. 101 adults filled out a questionnaire. 35 of these were employed in the administration of Sogn and Fjordane University College, 37 adults recruited in their own home and 29 travellers with an express boat. 15 products were tested, and 8 of them were selected for the main study after the test. The 15 products were: Luxury car, pick up truck,

snowboard, headache pill, jeans, perfume, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, beer, sunglasses, refrigerator, mobile telephone, watch and laptop. The sample was spitted in three, each respondent were exposed to five products. Subjects first read a cover sheet that gave the thought-listing instructions (Caccioppo and Petty 1981):
We are now interested in what you are thinking about the product Luxury car. The next page contains the form we have prepared for you to use to record your thoughts and ideas. Simply write down the first idea you have about Luxury Car in the first box, the second idea in your second box, etc. Ignore spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We have deliberately provided plenty of room to write down your ideas. So don’t worry if you don’t fill every space.

Product Refrigerator Toothpaste Headache pill Pick up truck Soap Watch Shampoo Laptop Mobile telephone Sunglasses Jeans Beer Perfume Snowboard Luxury car

# # social utilitarian identity Differences thoughts thoughts 3,3 0,15 -3,15 (1,15) (0,51) 3,61 0,27 -3,33 (1,27) (0,45) 2,57 0,06 -2,51 (1,63) (0,23) 3,67 0,12 -3,55 (1,85) (0,33) 2,83 0,09 -2,74 (1,77) (0,28) 3,33 1,03 -2,3 (1,29) (1,24) 3,15 0,42 -2,73 (1,72) (0,66) 2,83 0,63 -2,2 (1,48) (1,00) 3,82 0,42 -3,39 (1,51) (0,75) 2,3 1,48 -0,82 (1,38) (1,18) 2,39 1,58 -0,82 (1,49) (1,41) 1,51 1,86 0,34 (1,04) (1,22) 2,27 1,85 -0,42 (1,04) (0,97) 1,64 2,48 0,85 (1,60) (1,73) 0,77 2,57 1,8 (1,21) (1,69)

Table 1: Mean number of utilitarian and social identity thoughts for the 15 tested products, standard deviations in brackets.

Subjects described their thoughts on standard thought-listing forms Caccioppo and Petty (1981) on which six boxes were printed. The numbers of utilitarian and social identity thoughts were counted by the author for each of the fifteen products. The results are shown in table 1. The difference between number of social identity thoughts and utilitarian thoughts for each product are also reported. A high positive value on this measure indicates a high social identity score. A high negative value on this measure indicates a high utilitarian score. This might be informative because many products will have high scores on both utilitarian social identity thoughts, which in fact will be the case for most products (Shavitt 1990). The four products that yielded most social identity thoughts and the four products that yielded most utilitarian thoughts were selected as stimuli, with one exception. Jeans was selected instead of perfume because the market of perfume in Norway exists of many of different brands. The existing perfume brands are linked to specific segment of sex, age and so on. On the other hand, the jeans market exists of some well known big brands as Levis and Diesel, which are accepted and used across sex and age. Since the social identity score of both perfume and jeans are quite close, jeans are selected as stimuli instead of perfume. For each product category a well known international brand was selected. The selected utilitarian product categories were: refrigerator, toothpaste, pickup truck and headache pill. The selected social identity products were: jeans, beer, luxury cars and snowboard, see table 3 below. The mean number of utilitarian thoughts for the four selected utilitarian and four selected social identity products are ( M Utilitarian = 3.28, M Socialidentity =1.56). Utilitarian products have a significant higher number of utilitarian thoughts than social identity products F(2,268)=87,25; p<0,001.

Product Brand Luxury car Mercedes Snowboard Burton Jeans Levis Beer Guiness Refrigerator Electrolux Toothpaste Colgate Headache pill Paracet Pickup truck Toyota Hiace Table 2: Selected products and brands

The mean number of social identity thoughts for the four selected utilitarian and four selected social identity products are ( M Utilitarian = 0.15, M Socialidentity =2.13). Social identity products have a significant higher number of social identity thoughts than utilitarian products F(2,268) = 200.66; p<0.001.

The respondents were also instructed to fill out a two items questionnaire, to measure utilitarian and social identity aspect of the products. Both items were measured by a 7 points scale, 1=completely disagree and 7= completely agree. The utilitarian item was; ‘This type of products contribute to solve problems/challenges for the user’. The mean scores for the two categories of product are M Utilitarian = 5.98, M Socialidentity = 2.44, F(2,261) = 338.45; p<0.001. The social identity item was; ’Such products tell a lot about the personality of the user’. The mean scores for the two categories of product on this item are M Utilitarian = 3.03, M Socialidentity = 4.72, F(2,261) = 56.25; p<0.001.

The second stage
The purpose of the second stage in this study was to identity important Brand Personality traits to each of the eight selected brands. 294 subjects (average age 38.2, range16-65) were interviewed by 72 methodology students at Sogn and Fjordane University College as part of the student’s course requirement. Each respondent were asked about 4 brands, two utilitarian products and two social identity products. The questionnaire was spitted in two. First a standard free association task (Caccioppo and Petty 1981; Shavitt 1990), then a 42-items questionnaire (Aaker 1997). The instructions to the free association task were as follow:
Most of the following questions are about four brands. We would like you to think of each brand as if it were a person. This may sound unusual, but think of the set of human characteristics associated with each brand. For example, you might think about Harley Davidson as rugged or tough. We are interested in finding out which personality traits or human characteristics come to mind when you think about a particular brand. Think about the luxury car Mercedes. Below you will find six boxes. Please write down the first personality trait you have about Mercedes in the first box, the second personality trait in your second box, etc. Ignore spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We have deliberately provided plenty of room to write down your ideas. So don’t worry if you don’t fill every space.

According to Aaker (1997), can brand’s personalities be measured through a five dimensions scale; Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophisticated and Rugged. On the background of the free association task, the numbers of relevant associations within each brand personality dimension were counted by the author. Relevant associations were predetermined to be those which fit with the 42 traits in Aaker’s (1997) scale. Table 3 shows the results.

Brand Guiness Electrolux Mercedes Paracet Levis Colgate Burton Toyota Hiace

Brand personality dimension Sincerity Exitement Competence 0,18 0,10 0,02 0,09 0,20 0,31 0,04 0,15 0,19 0,18 0,03 0,57 0,12 0,61 0,09 0,04 0,15 0,62 0,07 0,03 0,94 0,20 0,06 0,49

Sophistication Ruggedness 0,05 0,39 0,13 0,02 0,22 0,95 0,06 0,01 0,26 0,49 0,15 0,03 0,11 0,64 0,01 0,18

Table 3: The mean number of trait associations for each brand and brand personality dimension, the free association task.
On the background of the free association task, the most relevant Brand Personality dimension was identified for each brand. Colgate was then identified as Sincerity, Burton as

Excitement, Electrolux, Paracet and Toyota Hiace as Competence, Mercedes as Sophistication
and Guinness and Levis as Rugged. In addition, each subject was asked to fill out the 42 item’s questionnaires of Aaker (1997), for the four brands they were exposed to. Using a five-point Likert scale (1=not at all descriptive, 5= extremely descriptive), subjects were asked to rate the extent to which the 42 personality traits describe a specific brand (Aaker 1997). The scale was translated into Norwegians by one bilingual person and translated back to English by another bilingual person. No serious deviations were discovered between the original wordings and the back translated version. On the background of the results of the 42 items questionnaires, the most relevant traits within the selected dimension were identified. Items with a score higher than the mean in the chosen dimension were selected to the main study. The rationale for doing this is that the all the original items of the aaker scale, do not fit in the Norwegian context. For instance, the dimension ‘sophisticated’ contains six items in the original scale. But only three of them seem to be relevant to Norwegians. The items ‘charming’, ‘feminine’ and ‘smooth’ have very low score at the 5 points scale, because Norwegians don’t use these words about

brands. But at the other hand, items as ‘upper class’, glamorous’ and ‘good looking’ have very high scores. The consequence of this phenomenon is that a clearly sophisticated brand (on the background of the open ended task) as Mercedes has a very low score on this dimension when using aaker’s six items.

The third stage
The purpose of the third stage was to test the main ideas and hypotheses. The sample for this study consisted of 49 students (average age =30.7, range 21-56). 30 of the students were undergraduates and 19 were postgraduate students. The first section of the questionnaires contained the utilitarian product attribute measure. This was a four-item own developed measure, with a 5 point Likert scale. ‘Products with such a brand function as they should’, ‘this brand solves very well the primary needs that such products should solve’, ‘ I associate this brand with products that function very well’, and ‘this brand is characterized by products which function very well’. The next section contained the brand attitude measure. This was a standard three-item measure with a seven point Likert scale (Helgeson and Supphellen 2004). Finally, the measure on Brand Personality contained between 3 and 6 items, dependent of which Brand it is questioned about.

The two independent variables, Utilitarian Product Attribute and Brand Personality are significantly correlated for all the eight brands in this study, see table 4 below.

Social identity products
Guiness 0,366** Levis 0,391** Mercedes 0,537** Burton 0,493**

Utilitarian products
Electrolux Paracet 0,769** 0,643** Colgate 0,461** Toyota Hiace 0,637**

Table 4. Correlation for Brand Personality versus Utilitarian Product Attribute for the eight brands in the study. **p<0,001.

Because the two independent variables were significantly inter-correlated, and the regression equation also included interaction terms, multi-collinearity was a potential problem. To minimize potential collineraity problems, the two independent/moderating variables were centered (Marquardt 1980). This means that each observation on a variable was subtracted by the mean of that variable. The variance inflation factors (VIF) was calculated. The VIFs signal how much variance in an independent variable is explained by other independent variables, and range from zero to infinity. In the preset analysis, VIF values varied from 1.01 to 2.49, which is well below the cut-off of 10 recommended by Neter et al. (1989, p.409). Thus, multi-collinearity does not seriously bias the regression coefficients and is not a threat to the substantive conclusions drawn from the analysis.

H1 In H1 it was hypothesised that Utilitarian Product Attribute would have a positive effect on Brand Attitude. The regression analysis presented in table 5 was used to test H1. The analysis was performed across eight brands. Since the Brand Personality variable has been measured different for each of these eight brands, the analysis is reported for each brand.

Utilitarian products Variables Utilitarian Product Attribute Brand Personality Utilitarian Product Attribute × Brand Personality Electrolux 0,535*** 0,372** 0,083 Paracet 0,469*** 0,275* -0,093 Colgate 0,460*** 0,312** 0,075 Toyota Hiace 0,523*** 0,413*** 0,147

Utilitarian Product Attribute Brand Personality Utilitarian Product Attribute × Brand Personality

Social identity products Guinnes Mercedes 0,368** 0,669*** 0,17 0,378*** 0,004 0,199*

Levis 0,457*** 0,320** -0,028

Burton 0,644*** 0,169 -0,12

*** p<0,01. ** p<0,05. * p<0,1. Table 5: Effects on Brand attitudes: standardised regression coefficients The regression coefficients show how the effects of an independent variable when the other independent/moderator variables are held constant. Thus, any significant coefficient reflects an independent effect of the variable in question. As can be seen in Table 5, Utilitarian Product Attribute has a significant positive effect on Brand Attitude for all brands (β range

from 0,368 to 0,669. Seven of the p-values < 0,01 and one p-value < 0,05). These findings provide support for the effect of utilitarian products attribute on brand attitude proposed in H1.

H2 and H3 H2 and H3 dealt with the direct effect of Brand Personality on brand Attitude. In H2, Brand Personality was hypothesised to have a positive effect on Brand Attitude for Social Identity Products. The results are also reported in table 5. Brand Personality was positive related to brand attitude for two of the four brands in the social identity product category. The effect of brand personality was significant for Mercedes ( β BP =0.378; p<0.01) and Levis ( β BP =0.320; p<0.05), but not for Guinness ( β BP =0.170; n.s.) and Burton ( β BP =0.169; n.s.). Thus, some support for H2 is found in the data. Further, in H3 it was hypothesized that Brand Personality should not have any effect on brand attitude for utilitarian products. Interestingly, Brand personality has a positive effect for all the four brands in the utilitarian product category; Electrolux ( β BP =0.372; p<0.05), Paracet ( β BP =0,275; p<0,1), Colgate ( β BP =0.312; p<0.05), Toyota Hiace ( β BP =0.413; p<0.01) . Therefore, H3 is not supported at all.

H4 H4 dealt with the moderating effect of Brand Personality. It was hypothesized that Brand Personality should have a moderating effect on Brand Attitude among utilitarian products. Table 5 shows the relevant coefficients. No moderating effect of Brand Personality has been found among the utilitarian products. Surprisingly, the only moderating effect is found for Mercedes, which is categorized as a social identity product. However, the effect is modest and at a low significance level ( β BPΧUPA =0.199; p<0.1). Thus, no support for H4 is found in the data.

Discussion Earlier studies have shown that Brand Personality can be an important antecedent to Brand Attitude for social identity products (Aaker 1999; Supphellen and Grønhaug 2003; Helgeson and Supphellen 2004). The results from this study partly support this tradition, because Brand Personality has a positive effect for only two of the four social identity products. Moreover, no moderating effects of Brand Personality have been found among utilitarian products. The only moderating effect of Brand Personality that was found, be about a social identity

product; Mercedes. This is a surprising result, which indicates that Brand Personality do not function as heuristics. Even more surprisingly, Brand Personality had a significant direct effect on Brand Attitude for all the four utilitarian Brands. These findings indicate that Brand Personality is scrutinized in consumer evaluations, not only for social identity products but also for utilitarian products. This might signify that Brand Personality is far more important in formation of Brand Attitude than what is known so far. However, the sample is very small with only 49 respondents. Therefore, these findings have to be verified in a larger sample. Further, some explanations about the surprising results have to be investigated. This is the agenda in stage four of this research project. Stage four is still not yet conducted.

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