Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services ] (]]]]) ]]]–]]]

Profiling consumers of own brands and national brands using human personality
Susan Whelana,Ã, Gary Daviesb

Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland Manchester Business School, Booth Street West, Manchester, SK12 1XT, UK


Abstract Traditional methods of market segmentation based on demographic variables have shown mixed results in differentiating between those who are more likely to buy own brand products and those who prefer national brands. Taking advantage of the emerging convergence in human personality research on the Big Five dimensions, we focus on the potential of human personality as a method of identifying different customer segments. Two types of own brands are considered, those labelled with the retailer’s corporate name and those labelled with a name independent of the retailer. Two product categories are included, cola as an example of a low-involvement product and cosmetics as an example of a high-involvement product. The personality profiles of buyers of these and the leading national brands in each category are compared. Stepwise regression is used to identify those aspects of shopper personality that predict purchase rates of all products. Individuals who are more ‘open to experience’ report higher purchases of corporately named products, while individuals who are more ‘extrovert’ report higher purchases of national brands. Those reporting higher rates of purchase for own brands with independent names tend to be more ‘agreeable’ and ‘extrovert’. The positioning of the three types of brands against the 5 dimensions of human personality is illustrated using correspondence analysis. The clear potential to use human personality to segment and profile markets for own brands and national brands is discussed. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Segmentation; Consumer profiles; Own brands; Personality; Correspondence analysis

1. Introduction Products branded by the retailer now comprise more than half of the transactions in most leading supermarkets in developed retail markets such as the UK (Ritson, 2003). Such ‘own brand’ products can provide a retailer with higher gross margins than national brands (Davies and Brito, 2003). Consequently, there has been considerable academic and managerial interest in retailer’s own brand products (Omar, 1996). Our purpose here is to add to our understanding of the purchasing of own brands and in particular to the literature on the profiling of own brand purchasers. There are many types of retailer branded products, ranging from basic, ‘generic’ lines, simply packaged and
ÃCorresponding author. Tel.: +353 51 30 2438; fax: +353 51 30 2456.

E-mail addresses: (S. Whelan), gdavies@man.mbs. (G. Davies). 0969-6989/$ - see front matter r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jretconser.2006.02.004

presented, to products that are presented as if they were national brands (Bhasin et al., 1995). What constitutes an own brand is open to debate. One definition limits own brands to products sold exclusively through the retailer’s own outlets (Rousell and White, 1970). Here we extend that definition to include ‘any brand name used exclusively by a retail business and controlled by that business’. This encompasses those products that are labelled by the retailer but, because their names are not the same as the store name, can be sold more widely. A choice of different brand names is among the most popular of positioning strategies pursued by some retailers (Blankson, 2004). The choice of the retailer’s name to label a product will seek to benefit from any transfer or spillover of image from the corporate brand (Kapferer, 2000). Many retailers employ two approaches, labelling what may be entry level products with the store name and labelling products positioned closer to national brands with different names. The use of such ‘independent’ own

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branding is then not a random choice by retailers, but an apparent attempt to position certain own brands in different ways. The examples we use in our empirical work are St. Bernard, the name used by Dunnes Stores, a food and clothing multiple store based in Ireland. The St Bernard name is used across all of its own brands. By way of contrast, Boots, the chemist chain based in England, use their corporate name on certain products but a range of independent brand names on other own brands, such as No. 7, a range of cosmetics. Such naming strategies are especially apparent among British retailers where own brand marketing practices are more advanced than elsewhere (Ritson, 2003). The traditional assumption in the literature to date is that the consumer group that buy own brands are different from the group that do not buy them (and who probably prefer national brands) i.e. that there are separate segments of own brand purchasers and national brand purchasers. While this perspective has been criticised (Gordon, 1994) as placing consumers into rigid boxes, rather than recognising that the same individual may buy own brands on one shopping occasion, but not on another, market research evidence suggests that only about half of all shoppers regularly buy own brands. The issue is then to understand why some do and others do not purchase so that retailers and suppliers can better segment and understand their markets. This paper goes further than differentiating between national and own brand buyers to examine whether different segments exist for two different types of own brand. While previous studies have focused on profiling own brand consumers on the basis of demographic (Granzin, 1981), socioeconomic (Frank, 1967) and behavioural dimensions (Baltas and Doyle, 1998), no work to date has investigated the influence of personality as a basis to profile purchasers, despite the recent renewal of interest in personality in the consumer research literature (Baumgartner, 2002) and the acceptance of the ‘‘Big Five’’ taxonomy. Our purpose in this article therefore is to investigate the personality profiles of consumers who regularly purchase different types of own brands and national brands in order to find what types of personalities such brands appeal to and then to discuss the implications our results may have for retail marketing practice. A key issue for retailers is to understand which types of customer they should focus on in their marketing of their own brands. For example, if their naming strategies differ, does this affect the potential core customer? Our paper is structured as follows: the second section examines previous branding studies for own brands while the third section examines consumer personality profiling. The fourth section develops this further by examining the ‘‘Big Five’’ taxonomy measure of human personality. Results and discussion are reported in the sixth section. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for theory and for practice, together with possible avenues for further research.

2. Own brand research Today own brands constitute a brand category in their own right with a wide range of positioning options open to retailers (Johansson and Burt, 2003). However, relatively few studies have investigated own brands; most were conducted in the 1960s and 1970s and examined the relevance of demographic and socio-economic variables to purchase behaviour. According to Baltas and George (1998), four main streams of research can be identified. The first stream focuses on consumer perceptions of own brands. Traditionally, studies indicated that consumers generally perceive private label brands to be of lower quality than national brands (Strang et al., 1979; Granzin, 1981; Bellezi et al., 1981; Cunningham et al., 1982; McEnally and Hawes, 1984; Mogelonsky, 1985). This reduced quality would be traded off by shoppers against a lower purchase price. However, more recently there is evidence that the popularity of private labels has grown because consumers now place trust in the (improved) quality of these products (Richardson et al., 1994; Raju et al., 1995). A second stream examines the relationship between market factors and own brand success (Sethuraman, 1992; Sethuraman and Mittelstaedt, 1992; Hoch and Banerji, 1993). Correlates of own brand proneness are investigated in the third stream. Factors including familiarity with own brands, use of extrinsic cues in product evaluations, perceived quality variations (Bellezi et al., 1981), perceived risk and value for money, income levels and family size (Richardson et al., 1996) are found to correlate with own brand proneness. Other factors included the level of information to be associated with the own brand (Bettman, 1973), the degree of experience with the own brand, differential responses to marketing activities, differences in needs, perceived risk and product importance (Livesey and Lennon, 1978). A common theme in this research stream is perceived risk, an issue that we will return to later; own brands can lack the assurance of a national brand, which is likely to be more trusted by buyers. The last stream focused on developing profiles for consumers who prefer own brands. This provides the primary focus for our current study. Studies in this last mentioned literature stream tend to concentrate on developing profiles of shoppers of own and national brands on the basis of demographic, socio-economic, and attitudinal or behavioural characteristics. Earlier studies of the market for own brands focused primarily on demographics (Granzin, 1981), but more recent studies maintain an ongoing interest in profiling the market for own brand customers using consumer characteristics (Baltas and Papastathopoulou, 2003). A number of studies in the 1960s found the impact of socio-economic variables to be unclear (Coe, 1971; Frank and Boyd, 1965; Murphy, 1978). Consumers who purchased own brands were virtually identical in terms of their socio-economic background (Frank, 1967) and these could influence brand perception

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and choice (Myers, 1967). Some more recent research has found differences between the demographic characteristics of consumers who purchase own brands and those who purchase national brands (e.g. Omar, 1992) while others have found contradictory evidence and that own brand purchasers are spread across all socio-economic groups (e.g. Burger and Schott, 1972). Attitudinal and behavioural characteristics appear to be better predictors of a propensity to buy own brands than demographics (Baltas and George, 1998). In summary, prior research has focussed on demographic and socio-economic measures, but found limited potential to profile own brand customers. While attitudinal and behavioural profiles of own brand purchasers exist, there is relatively little known about consumer psychographic profiles for own brands. Indeed, to the best of our knowledge, no research to date has either examined consumer self-perceptions of their own personalities to gain insights into psychographic profiles for own brands purchasers, nor profiles of purchasers for different types of own brands i.e. retailer or independently named own brands. 3. Consumer personality profiles We tend to buy products that are complementary to the perceptions we hold of ourselves. The purchase of own brands can therefore be a way for shoppers to express one or more aspects of their own persona. Early research by Grubb and Grathwohl (1967) found a relationship between consumer self-concept and market behaviour in terms of the symbolism associated with different brands. The influence of consumers’ needs for social affiliation on behavioural intentions and repeat purchase is well documented (Bloemer and Odekerken-Schroder, 2003). In one study, consumer self-perception was positively related to attitudes towards private labels and to subsequent purchase intentions (Garretson et al., 2002). How consumers’ perceive their own personalities and self-image could then be an important segmentation basis for strategic brand marketing, both for retail and national brand marketers. The study of personality has a long history in consumer research and there are two broad streams of research in the field of consumer personality studies that have important implications for our study. Early studies were used to examine the nature of personality as a segmentation basis, even though this work was never applied to any type of retail own brands. Wells (1975) commented on how personality trait descriptors could be used ‘‘to supplement demographics in very interesting and useful ways’’. A study by Goldberg (1976) showed evidence that psychographic personality measures might be able to predict actual choice behaviour. This represented a breakthrough in consumer research by demonstrating that it was possible to go beyond simple correlations of personality and relative preference to predict more specific patterns of actual behaviour with regard to particular product choices.

Following from this, personality was used as a segmentation basis to examine socially conscious consumer groups (Webster Jr., 1975) and to develop segment profiles of signature goods consumers and avoiders (Jolson et al., 1981). A second stream of consumer personality research, that is equally important for this paper, examines the impact of personality on a range of consumer behaviour outcomes. Conducted mainly during the 1970s and early 1980s studies investigated the impact of consumer personality on consumer choice (McGuire, 1976), information processing (Schaninger, 1976; Schaninger and Sciglimpaglia, 1981; Mizerski and Settle, 1979), experiential consumption (Holbrook et al., 1984), and exploratory consumer behaviour (Joachimsthaler and Lastovicka, 1984). Since then, consumer personality research has been in the doldrums (Baumgartner, 2002). This is somewhat surprising given that the last two decades have been exciting times for research in the mainstream of personality and psychology. A convergence of research using the trait approach to defining human psychology around the ‘‘Big Five’’ taxonomy has rejuvenated the field. In particular, researchers have begun to study the personality of the individual in a motivational context, in terms of what they are trying to accomplish in their daily lives (Cantor, 1990). Consumer researchers have not thus far paid much attention to this purposive element of consumer behaviour and to what consumers attempt to accomplish through purchasing and consuming different products and brands. Baumgartner (2002) suggests that the recent developments in personality psychology research might provide a useful framework for consumer research by relating behaviour to a consumer’s standing on the ‘‘Big Five’’ taxonomy as this aids the development of work investigating whether there are types of consumers with characteristic personality profiles who purchase different types of product. 4. ‘‘Big Five’’ accepted taxonomy Many traditional problems in marketing have implicit assumptions about human nature and more specifically about personality. Personality refers to both a person’s social reputation and his or her inner nature (Hogan, 1991). The first aspect refers to the way in which a person is perceived by those around him or her, including family, friends and colleagues. The second refers to the structures, processes, propensities and dynamics inside a person that explain why he or she behaves in a particular way. This is of clear relevance in explaining why people do or do not purchase different types of brands. Historically, however, critics have suggested that the predictive validity of personality in measuring social behaviour is quite low (Guion and Gottier, 1965). These criticisms arose from studies conducted many decades ago when no accepted taxonomy for classifying personality traits existed. Therefore, it was not possible to find if there were consistent, meaningful relationships between the

4 S. Whelan, G. Davies / Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services ] (]]]]) ]]]–]]] Table 1 The products selected for study Retailers Tesco Dunnes stores Boots Own brands Tesco cola and Tesco cosmetics St. Bernard cola No. 7 cosmetics National brands Coca cola Pepsi cola Maybelline Max factor

personality traits and relevant criteria used in different studies. The recent advances in both personality and consumer research, however, have allowed for a measure of personality that is valid, reliable and generalisable. The ‘‘Big Five’’ is now a widely accepted taxonomy of human personality, where personality dimensions are commonly labelled as Agreeableness, Extroversion, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness and Neuroticism (Goldberg, 1990; Costa and McCrae, 1992; Barrick and Mount, 1991). Agreeableness reflects trust (Costa and McCrae, 1995) and is also associated with likeability, friendliness and social conformity (Barrick and Mount, 1993). Extroversion reflects people that are sociable, outgoing, talkative, assertive and active (Barrick and Mount, 1991). Openness to experience labels people who are imaginative, curious and broadminded (Barrick and Mount, 1991) and who have a need for variety and unconventional values (McCrae and John, 1992). Evidence has been provided in studies by both Digman (1990) and Barrick and Mount (1991) that conscientious people tend to be dependable and, as such, careful, thorough, responsible and organised. Further important traits of conscientiousness are hardworking, achievement oriented and persevering. The final human personality dimension is that of neuroticism which has been interpreted as emotional stability or instability. Traits associated with neuroticism include being ‘‘anxious, depressed, angry, embarrassed, worried and insecure’’ (Barrick and Mount, 1991). Based on such thinking, it is reasonable to propose that people with different perceptions of themselves, in terms of their own personalities, may purchase different brands, which functionally satisfy the same needs but symbolically are quite different. For example, purchasers who view themselves as being ‘‘open to experience’’ may be more willing to try an unfamiliar product or one with a higher level of associated risk. People who view themselves as being highly agreeable may purchase brands that conform to how they view themselves socially, as wanting to please and in seeing the best in others. Extraverts on the other hand may wish to enhance the perception that others hold of them by purchasing brands with the highest level of associated imagery. Our empirical work is then directed to investigate the personality profiles of consumers who regularly purchase different types of own brands and national brands. 5. Research methodolgy To test the effects of different own branding strategies we selected own brands named with the retailer’s corporate name, own brands labelled with independent names and national brands in two-product categories, cola, a lowinvolvement product category and cosmetics, a highinvolvement category. For the purposes of the research design, the two categories were chosen as they have a limited number of leading national brands to measure

within each that have very similar price points. We chose three retailers, Tesco, a food retailer who also sell a wide range of everyday products including cosmetics; Boots a leading retailer of cosmetics, and Dunnes Stores, a retailer of both food and textiles. In cola we chose four brands for study, the leading national brands Coca-Cola and Pepsi cola, and two own brands, Tesco’s Cola (labelled with the retailer’s name) and St. Bernard cola, an own brand from Dunnes, but labelled with the retailer’s independent name, St. Bernard. In cosmetics we chose Maybelline and Max factor as the two leading national brands; Tesco cosmetics as the corporately labelled example and Boots No. 7 as an example of an independently labelled own brand, Table 1. Previous studies of personality effects in marketing have used qualitative approaches including projective techniques and depth interviewing (Guion and Gottier, 1965). More recently there has been a renewal of interest in quantitative methods (Barrick and Mount, 1991; Digman, 1990), following the acceptance of the ‘‘Big Five’’ personality taxonomy. Given the availability of validated measurement scales (McCrae and Costa, 1989; Goldberg, 1990) we felt a large sample would enhance our understanding of own brand consumers using personality profiles and therefore chose a quantitative approach using a structured survey instrument. A pilot study of consumers randomly chosen immediately outside the stores of the three retailers chosen for the study ðn ¼ 30Þ was administered to test and develop the questionnaire instrument. The main survey was conducted outside the stores of the three retailers in the South East of Ireland. The interviewers were students on a third year undergraduate Business Studies degree programme, who were trained in how to approach respondents and how to administer the questionnaire in a face-to-face interview context. The survey method adopted was a mall intercept survey using convenience sampling. This had the advantage of a high response rate (Hair et al., 1995), but means that the data cannot be used to represent the sample population. However, the primary reason for using convenience sampling here is in the interest of data variance (Cramer, 2003). The researchers were not interested in the number of responses of customers in a given age category, for example, but in obtaining different responses to see if relationships exist between variables. Interviewers were thus instructed to approach the next person leaving the store after completing a previous interview to reduce age

S. Whelan, G. Davies / Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services ] (]]]]) ]]]–]]] Table 2 Sample profiles Retailer Survery Tesco Brand Male Female 15–24 25–35 36–49 50+ Tesco cola 87 85 102 33 22 19 Dunnes St. Bernard Cola 87 79 82 25 33 27 Boots No. 7 16 156 88 27 39 20 Tesco Tesco cosmetics 21 148 92 42 20 19 5

than merely identifying an association and the strength of association (Byrne, 2000). Stepwise regression was chosen over ordinary linear regression because it retains only significant variables that predict other variables (Pallant, 2001).

6. Empirical results and discussion Table 3 shows the average scores for each product for each of the 5 personality dimensions for shoppers who reported regular purchase of the product. The own brands were purchased regularly by fewer shoppers and the low-involvement products more frequently than the high involvement examples. We then tested the idea that the purchase of corporately labelled own brands, independently labelled own brands and national brands are made by people with distinctly different human personality profiles. Stepwise regression was used to predict the purchase frequency of each product for all respondents where the independent variables were the five personality dimensions. Table 4 shows the model fit statistics for the dependant purchase variables of the four own brands and four national brands. As can be seen, purchases of different types of brand are predicted significantly by a number of human personality dimensions and the relationship is relatively stronger for the own brands. Purchase of the retail named own brands of Tesco is predicted best by the ‘openness to experience’ dimension. Such people are typically creative and curious, making them willing to try offerings other than manufacturer brands. Openness to experience is frequently associated with people who are imaginative, curious and broadminded (Barrick and Mount, 1991) and who have a need for variety and unconventional values (McCrae and John, 1992). They are also reasonably sophisticated in their judgements, explaining why they might choose an own branded product that they know will satisfy a functional need and being less concerned about the image that this might impart to others. Somewhat in contrast, the personality dimensions of agreeableness and extroversion were retained to predict the purchase of the two other own brands in the study, No. 7 cosmetics and St. Bernard cola. As discussed previously, agreeableness reflects trust (Costa and McCrae, 1995) and is also associated with likeability, friendliness and social conformity (Barrick and Mount, 1993) while extroversion reflects people that are sociable, outgoing, talkative, assertive and active (Barrick and Mount, 1991). Agreeable people are best described as trustful, cooperative and agreeable in that they see the best in others. It would appear that independently named own brands elicit trust, possibly due to their similar physical appearance and imagery to key national in the categories, combined with the name of the retailer. Taken together the purchase of national brands is best predicted by Extroversion, but the

and gender bias but mainly to include a full range of respondents. Exit interviews were specifically chosen so that respondents were customers of the retailer. Table 2 reports the sample profiles of respondents. Respondents were interviewed about three brands: one national brand and one own brand of each type within one category. A filter question was used to identify familiarity with the product category. The scale adopted to measure human personality was Goldberg’s (1990, 1992) human personality scale. Justification for use of this scale over other earlier work (Allport and Odbert, 1936; Cattell, 1943; McCrae and Costa, 1989; John, 1990) lies with its ability to demonstrate the generality of the Big Five representation of personality, within trait terms that were deemed as being far more representative of the total English trait lexicon than were those included in any previous study. To this end, Goldberg (1992) presented findings to demonstrate factor robustness of the five factors: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and open to experience. Respondents are asked to rate themselves on 35 traits. Respondents were requested to ‘‘describe yourself as accurately as possibleyat the present time, not as you wish to be in the future’’ on a each on a 9-point bipolar scale, for example 1 ¼ very unassertive and 9 ¼ very assertive. Itemised Likert rating scales were used to assess the prior purchase on a 1 (very frequently) to 5 (not at all) scale. Responses with excessive missing values were discarded leaving 690 usable cases for the final analysis. Missing values were an issue in the personality scale. A rule was developed to aid the decision on which cases to delete due to missing values and which cases to recode with the neutral point of the personality scale. The rule was that if human personality (with a total of 35 items) had missing values in excess of 5 within any case, then that case was deleted. Stepwise regression analysis was used to identify which dimensions of human personality best predicted purchase rate (Hair et al., 2001) to determine whether a relationship exists between some of the dimensions of customer personality for those who purchase different brands, other

6 S. Whelan, G. Davies / Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services ] (]]]]) ]]]–]]] Table 3 Mean scores of consumer personality dimensions for brands purchased frequently Brand Tesco cola St. Bernard cola No. 7 cosmetics Tesco cosmetics Coca cola Pepsi cola Max factor Maybelline Extroversion 5.57 5.85 6.21 6.53 6.51 6.38 6.31 6.46 Agreeable 6.14 6.53 7.36 7.71 7.25 7.19 7.23 7.23 Conscientious 5.80 6.76 6.67 7.07 6.63 6.68 6.63 6.86 Neurotic 5.47 5.06 4.98 4.14 4.92 4.69 4.98 4.91 Open to experience 6.00 6.39 6.35 6.46 4.66 4.52 5.46 5.44 N 31 48 56 36 211 101 147 155

Table 4 Regression model fit and ANOVA test statistics personality dimensions which drive consumer behaviour of own brands Brand/model drivers of purchase Tesco cola Tesco cosmetics No. 7 cosmetics St. Bernard cola National brands: Max factor, Maybelline, Coca cola and Pepsi
a b


R2 .21a .207b .149c .253d .091e



176 173 174 167 690

40.6 18.85 19.38 56.19 57.98

.01 .015 .047 .004 .016

Predictors: Openness to experience. Predictors: Openness to Experience. c Predictors: Agreeableness, Extroversion. d Predictors: Extroversion, Agreeableness. e Predictors: Extroversion.

Table 5 Regression model fit and ANOVA test statisticspersonality dimensions which drive consumer behaviour of national brands Brand/model drivers of purchase Coca cola Pepsi cola Max factor Maybelline
a b

N 343 343 347 347

R2 .185a .108b .109c .113d

F 12.051 4.034 8.822 4.436

Sig. .001 .045 .035 .036

Predictors: Extraversion. Predictors: Agreeableness. c Predictors: Openness to experience. d Predictors: Extraversion.

significance level is quite low. The results for the four national brands individually are presented in Table 5. Extroversion is relatively important to describe the purchaser of national brands as a group and is important for two of the four individually. It comprises two elements (Barrick and Mount, 1991): Ambition (initiative, surgency, ambition and impetuous) and Sociability (sociable, exhibitionist and expressive). Consumers who view themselves as extroverted may feel the need to purchase national brands (and the quite similarly positioned independently named own brands) due to their need for social affiliation with

other similar people. They may also depend heavily on the symbolism associated with such brands, rather than with the traditional imagery associated with clearly named retailer own brands. Extroversion was important in predicting Coca cola and Maybelline purchases. Agreeableness was more important in predicting purchases of Pepsi cola, the number two brand of cola in this market. Agreeableness, which reflects a trusting personality might have been expected to be more important for all manufacturer brands as building trust is often associated with branding. However, as will be seen later the personality dimensions of Agreeableness and Extroversion are closely associated in this context. Max factor purchases were explained best by the Open to Experience dimension, which is surprising, as the brand is well known. One possible explanation is that the purchase of Max factor in a chain store environment rather than in a department store is an issue for shoppers. While the R2 data indicates that purchase rates are not dominated by the personality of the shopper and that other factors (perceived quality, relative price, preference of the shopper’s family, brand loyalty, the shoppers age and social class) are then collectively more important, our purpose here is to test whether significant differences between the buyers of the three types of brands exist in terms of the personality of the shopper. Fig. 1 uses correspondence analysis to show the relative positioning of products and the personality dimensions of frequent purchasers from the data in Table 3. (This data is then only from regular purchasers of the products.) Correspondence analysis is a technique that displays the rows and columns of a data matrix such as that in Table 3 in ‘low dimensional vector space’ (Greenacre, 1984, p. 54), such that any associations (correspondences) between the rows and columns can be displayed together (Stewart 1981, p. 46). Thus the relative positioning of products against the personalities that distinguish their purchasers can therefore be appraised from the pattern from a correspondence analysis to illuminate the raw data itself. The percentage variance represented is high (65.2% on the horizontal and 31.9% on the vertical, cumulatively 97.1%). The two axes in Fig. 1 have no intrinsic meaning, representing the two dimensions of maximum variance in

S. Whelan, G. Davies / Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services ] (]]]]) ]]]–]]]
2.0 Open to Experience 1.5 1.0 No. 7 Cosmetics 0.5 TescoCosmetics 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 Pepsi Cola -1.5 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 MaxFactor Conscientiousness Maybelline Agreeableness Extraversion Coca Cola Neuroticism St. Bernard Cola Tesco Cola


nearer to the positioning of the four manufacturer brands, particularly No. 7 cosmetics. This product is sold outside of the British Isles by other retailers, much as any national brand. For example it is the best selling cosmetic range in Finland. (Boots have their own manufacturing arm and supply a range of branded products to other retailers.) Correspondence analysis cannot normally display the full complexity of a data set in two dimensions, but Fig. 1 and Tables 3–5 contain a clear message, human personality can provide a useful way of distinguishing between the purchasers of various types of own brands and their competing national brands. As Baumgartner (2002) suggests these results indicate that examining the personality of the customer can be a useful way of understanding one’s market. 7. Managerial implications

Fig. 1. Correspondence analysis.

the data set. However, the horizontal dimension has Neuroticism at one end and Agreeableness at the other suggesting a dimension underpinned by anxiety and trust. Neurotic individuals tend to react strongly to all types of stimuli (Eyesenck and Eyesenck, 1975). The reaction to Tesco cola and the Tesco cosmetics is quite different with purchase of the Cola far more associated with a Neurotic personality. Purchasers of Tesco cosmetics appear to be associated more with trust and with people who are not anxious, in other words confident individuals. Tesco cola on the other hand is associated with an anxious, insecure persona, someone who is also not trusting. Such a person may be cynical about leading brands, preferring instead to buy on price. How important this aspect of personality is in explaining own brand purchase is unclear. Neuroticism did not emerge as important in the stepwise regression analysis of purchases made by the full database. If Neuroticism is important in the purchase of own brands of different type, then one possible explanation may lie in the fact that neurotics are essentially worriers. Worrying about ones looks could discourage purchase of own brand cosmetics and favour more heavily branded national brands. Conversely worrying about prices may discourage the purchase of relatively expensive national brands of cola. More generally, own brand products tend to be more associated in the vertical plane with Openness to Experience, reinforcing the view that the risk averse are less likely to purchase such lines. High involvement products that are nationally branded tend to be closer to Extroversion and Agreeableness, which cluster together with Conscientiousness. The vertical dimension then appears to be anchored by Openness to Experience and Extroversion, with the more self confident (some have argued intelligent) buying own brands regularly, while the more extrovert persona requires the associations that only heavily branded products can offer. The two own brands that were labelled with names different from the retailer’s corporate name (No. 7 cosmetics and St. Bernard cola) were generally

Our empirical results highlight a number of important issues for brand management that have apparent long-term implications for both retail and manufacturing marketing policy. From previous work, own brand purchasers do not comprise a single segment that can be easily represented using demographic or attitudinal bases. The addition of human personality as a distinguishing variable offers a further measure that may help to resolve this problem. Independently named own brands offer a different threat to the national brand compared with that from corporately named own brands. Adjustments in marketing programmes to further distance national brands from the former will require greater effort as they appeal more to extroverts, those who will be seeking high image products and who constitute the main market for supplier brands. Clear, crisp brand positions conveying articulate brand values will need to be communicated to maintain market share (De Chernatony, 2002). However, the positioning of corporately named own brands against those who are more open to experience, that is risk takers, should come as no surprise. The issue of increased perceived risk associated with own brands is well documented in prior research. However it is debatable whether such products will remain forever the preserve of those who are not risk averse. The inexorable rise of own brands’ market share in many categories may be explained by the risk averse seeing the purchases made by any in their social group who are open to experience and perceiving this as an endorsement of such purchases, even as a reason for seeing less risk in making their own purchases. Retailers have more to do to reduce the perceived risk associated with their corporately named products. From a retailer perspective, it is also important not to alienate existing own brand purchase segments through the introduction of independently named own brands. The result of competing with national brands can also lead to increased price points, which may not be suitable for the traditional own brand purchaser. Retailers should then consider providing customers with more information about

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their brands. The more information a consumer has about a brand, the more informed they are and the more conscious the purchase decision they make as a result (Davies and Brito, 2003). Retailers might consider tools at their disposal such as informative advertising, direct communication leveraging the benefits of loyalty programmes, trial packs and free samples. One test for a potential method of market segmentation is whether the approach is actionable, specifically whether the segment can be differentially accessed so that marketing expenditure can be targeted on the segment. While the media provide data on their audiences using demographic and, increasingly psychographic bases, none use personality. How do you target the extrovert or even the neurotic? One answer could be via visual display in store or packaging. Fashion retailers have long relied upon pictures of models representing their target customer or aspirational group. Something similar for retailers of everyday products could be part of the solution here, with, for example, known risk takers (mountaineers, skydivers) associated with corporately named own brands or stereotypical extroverts (actors, models) associated with manufacturer brands. Finally, the findings of the study present an important implication relating to consumer knowledge of brand ownership. In categories such as wines and cosmetics for example, it may well be better for the retailer to minimise its’ association with the own brand/corporate name and some retailers do indeed do this. The implication for the national brand manufacturer appears to be a greater emphasis on communication regarding retailer ownership of certain brands. 8. Directions for further research One limitation of the present study is that we assess only two product categories; another is the small sample size in the analysis of regular purchasers of own brands. We chose products with different levels of involvement (although no startling differences associated with involvement in the data were identified). It would be interesting both to examine a greater number of categories and also categories where purchases are less frequent than soft drinks and cosmetics, even though cosmetics are a relatively important, high involvement category. In this respect, a fruitful avenue for future research is to examine personality profiles of consumers across different contexts of own brand names with different market shares in research that focuses only on own brand purchasers. One intriguing result was the attraction of more neurotic people to own brand cola, but away from own brand cosmetics. The more neurotic appeared to be attracted to own brands in cola but not cosmetics. No compelling explanation can be offered and further research, probably qualitative, would be needed to explore whether this is a function of involvement as suggested earlier. The vertical dimension in Fig. 1 is easier to justify, with those more

Open to Experience being more associated with own brand purchase and extroverts with leading brands. This could be a dimension of relevance to all markets where national and own brands compete. Another important issue arising from this study is the level of consumer knowledge regarding retail ownership of non-retailer, independently named own brands. Is there a relationship between ownership knowledge and purchaser self-perceptions? For example, what are the awareness levels of consumers regarding the ownership of No. 7 cosmetics, given that it is not named after Boots? In other words, do purchasers of this brand realise that it is an own brand they are purchasing? If they did, would they continue to purchase the brand? 9. Concluding comments This empirical study investigated the effects of consumer self-perceptions of their own personalities on own brand purchase behaviour, in an attempt to distinguish psychographic segmentation profiles for different types of own brands based on personality. In this regard, the research is the first to measure psychographic profiles for own brands by using the ‘‘Big Five’’ measure of human personality. Given the strong emergence of own brands in today’s retail market, the findings presented here have practical implications for retail and manufacturer brand marketers alike. Segmentation studies can usefully include measures of customer personality, particularly the dimensions of Extroversion and Openness to Experience. There is also considerable scope for further research, on the relevance or otherwise of Neuroticism but more generally on the relative importance of personality to predict purchasing behaviour in all consumer markets. References
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Further reading
Balachander, S., Ghose, S., 2003. Reciprocal spillover effects: a strategic benefit of brand extensions. Journal of Marketing 67, 4–14. Baltas, G., 1997. Determinants of store brand choice: a behavioural analysis. Journal of Product and Brand Management 6 (5), 315–324. Blackstone, M., 1993. Beyond brand personality: building brand relationships. In: Aaker, D., Biel, A.L. (Eds.), Brand Equity and Advertising: Advertising’s Role in Building. Strong Brands, Lawrence, Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 113–124. Byrne, B.M., 1989. A Premier of LISREL: Basic Applications and Programming for Confirmatory Factor Analytic Models. Springer, New York. Collins-Dodd, C., Lindley, T., 2003. Store brands and retail differentiation: the influence of store image and store brand attitude on store own-brand perceptions. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 10 (3), 345–352. Costa, P.T., 1996. Work and personality: use of the NEO-PI-R in industrial/organisational psychology. Applied Psychology: An International Review 45 (3), 225–241.