An examination of brand personality through methodological triangulation
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- Freling, T. & Forbes, L. J Brand Manag (2005) 13: 148. doi:10.1057/palgrave.bm.2540254
Because the brand now occupies a cornerstone position in marketing strategy, the concept of brand personality and its influence on consumer behaviour has emerged as a critically important research topic. Although a few initial explorations in this area document the effects of brand personality, questions about how and why it occurs remain. This paper attempts to replace this void with a cognitive theoretical perspective that borrows from associative memory formulations and anthropomorphism theory. A multi-method qualitative approach is used to triangulate the construct and explore this perspective in the consumer domain. Data provide support for the cognitive account of brand personality and suggest that: (1) brand personality is connected to many other brand associations in consumer memory and accessed through spreading activation; and (2) consumers embrace brands with strong, positive personalities because of a natural human tendency to anthropomorphise nonhuman objects. A discussion describes implications for brand managers generated by this research, and highlights additional complexities of brand personality that warrant further examination.