Humanlike brands and metaphor: applications and consequences
Brand personality and brand relationships have both become important concepts in the branding literature, but there are some fundamental problems with the theory and research that supports the concepts. As such, the question that the thesis seeks to answer is whether the brand personality and brand relationship concepts have utility, or are cognitively successful theory, for understanding consumer perceptions. As a primarily conceptual thesis, this work examines the brand personality and relationship concepts, and finds several problems in the literature; a grey area regarding whether the concepts are metaphoric or descriptive of a perceptual reality for consumers (they actually think of brands as humanlike), ambiguous conceptualisation, the blurring of the concepts with other concepts, as well as limited empirical support. For the latter point, research is used to examine whether consumers perceive brands as humanlike, and the validity of the foundational scale for most brand personality research is examined. As a result of the reviews and research, the thesis concludes that the concepts of brand personality and brand relationships present a poor direction for the development of brand research and theory. The paper concludes with two directions that may better serve to understand the perceptions of consumers; user imagery, and the concept of the firm. As such the thesis contributes to brand theory through clarification of important brand concepts, and uses the clarification as a basis for proposing new directions for research and theory.
Advisor: Aitken, Robert; Ferguson, Shelagh
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Marketing
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Brand Personality; Brand Relationships; Branding; Anthropomorphism; Anthropomorphizm; Animism; Metaphor; Brand
Research Type: Thesis