How brands become people: A study on the impact of brand personality on brand value

Barbara Lückerath

Student thesis: Master thesis


In today’s affluent society the function of consumption has changed. Consumers do not primarily purchase products to satisfy their basic physiological and safety needs anymore but to reach higher-order goals. Social needs, self-esteem needs and the need for self-actualisation come to the fore and play a more important role in the purchase of products. Thus, brands are increasingly positioned within the emotional- and experiential world of the consumers and non-functional product attributes such as the symbolic meaning gain in importance. Within this frame, a personality-directed brand management has found its way into the business world. The understanding of brands as personalities enables a company to better exploit the emotional benefits of a brand and to build up long-term customer-brand relationships and therewith also brand equity. This thesis analyses the impact that brand personality has on brand value and therewith also its role for a company’s existence. Thereby it becomes apparent that even though the essential role which brand as well as consumer personalities play for the creation and maintenance of brand equity seems to be long recognised, self-concept research as well as research about the relationships between consumer and brand personalities is still in its infancy. A multitude of different frameworks and approaches exist, however, with little or no common theoretical basis. Therefore, brand personality research is complex and intransparent. In view of this fact, it is concluded that further research is needed with regard to theory generation and model construction in order to successfully incorporate the brand personality construct into the brand management process. Thereby, much work is particularly needed with regard to the relationship between brand personality and brand value since this is the research area least examined. Following from the few research studies that exist, a positive relationship between brand personality and brand value is derived. Thereby, self-congruence seems to have an even stronger impact than brand personality per se. Furthermore, it is concluded that brand personality only indirectly influences brand value through its effect on the consumer’s mind-set (brand equity). However, due to the insufficient testing, it is not possible to clearly answer the question about a brand personality’s impact on brand value. Thus, further research is needed in order to develop a consistent, universally valid framework which incorporates the different relationships between brand personality and brand equity and thereby allows for an effective, goal-oriented management of brand personalities.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages85