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Brand anthropomorphism: Conceptualization, measurement, and impact on brand personality and loyalty

Abstract

In this research, we conceptualized brand anthropomorphism as a property of branded products in regards to the extent to which these objects are perceived as if they were actual human beings. Then, we developed a scale of brand anthropomorphism that captures the multidimensional nature of the construct. The proposed scale is composed of three dimensions, two of which assess the extent to which the external appearance of a branded product resembles the lineaments of a human body and the physiognomy of a human face, and a third dimension, which assesses the extent to which such a product reflects how consumers perceive themselves. Results across two empirical studies showed that the scale is robust, as it passed several validity tests, and demonstrated its predictive power over brand personality and brand loyalty. Our scale is the first proposed in brand anthropomorphism research to receive empirical validation, thus offering theoretical and operational implications.

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Notes

  1. The present research investigates consumers’ anthropomorphic perceptions of branded products, that is, products combined with their brands (for example, Epson printers). Yet, for the sake of readability, we use the terms ‘branded product(s)’ and ‘brand(s)’ interchangeably.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Pankaj Aggarwal, Claudio Barbaranelli, Simona Botti, and Alessandro Martino for their insightful comments on previous drafts of this manuscript.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gianluigi Guido.

Additional information

1He is Full Professor of Marketing and Director of the Social Science Department of the Istituto Superiore Universitario per la Formazione Interdisciplinare (ISUFI) at the University of Salento, Lecce, Italy. He has published more than 150 articles in international scholarly journals, such as International Journal of Market Research, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Journal of Economic Psychology, Long Range Planning, Psychology and Marketing, Research Policy, and twelve monographs on consumer marketing topics.

2He is Assistant Professor of Business Management and Adjunct Professor of Place Marketing at the University of Salento, Lecce, Italy, and Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the LUISS University of Rome. He has published two research monographs and several articles in international scholarly journals, such as International Journal of Market Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Psychology and Marketing, and Research Policy.

Appendix

Appendix

The brand anthropomorphism scale

Introductory instructions

This scale is designed to assess brand anthropomorphism, that is, the extent to which branded products can be perceived as actual human beings. Please concentrate on thinking of ___________ (SPECIFY THE BRANDED PRODUCT) and indicate your agreement with each of the statements reported in the following items, using a seven-point scale where 1 corresponds to ‘completely disagree’ and 7 to ‘completely agree’.

Items

HBL1: This branded product looks like a person.

HBL2: This branded product seems to have a human neck.

HBL3: This branded product seems to have a human trunk.

HFP1: This branded product seems to have a human face.

HFP2: This branded product seems to have a nose.

HFP3: This branded product seems to have eyes.

HFP4: This branded product seems to have a mouth.

HFP5: This branded product seems to have ears.

SBC1: This branded product is congruent with the image I hold of myself.

SBC2: This branded product is congruent with the image I would like to hold of myself.

SBC3: This branded product is congruent with the image others hold of myself.

SBC4: This branded product is congruent with the image I would like others to hold of myself.

Note

HBL=Human Body Lineaments Dimension; HFP=Human Facial Physiognomy Dimension; SBC=Self-Brand Congruity Dimension.

Scoring

Mean Human Body Lineaments Score=(∑ HBL i )/3; Mean Human Facial Physiognomy Score=(∑ HFP i )/5; Mean Self-Brand Congruity Score=(∑ SBC i )/4.

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Guido, G., Peluso, A. Brand anthropomorphism: Conceptualization, measurement, and impact on brand personality and loyalty. J Brand Manag 22, 1–19 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1057/bm.2014.40

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Keywords

  • brand anthropomorphism
  • brand personality
  • brand loyalty
  • scale development