Vaasan yliopiston opinnäytteet

Markkinoinnin ja viestinnän yksikkö, 2018

Asaro, Salvatore Matteo

Drivers of consumers brand personality perceptions. A study of local and international brands in the Italian context

Ohjaaja/Valvoja (DI):
Jorma Larimo
Kauppatieteiden maisteri
Master's Degree Programme in International Business
Tutkielman kieli:
Brands play an extremely important role in modern business and economic environment, providing to customers functional, symbolic and experiential benefits. Building strong brands became a key competitive advantage, especially for global companies, as a consequence of higher degrees of market saturation and competition. Nowadays, marketing strategies increasingly aim at creating, maintaining and enhancing strong brands. Among brand equity components, brand personality has been recognized as one of the most influential aspects, affecting customers’ purchasing decisions. Firms, with solid and unique personality associations, benefit from the higher level of loyalty and trust, creating positive customers’ attitudes, hardly to be replicated by competitors.

The present Master’s Thesis investigates in depth the nature of brand personality dimensions, underlining the impact of brand drivers and testing the consistency of Italian brand personality scale. A sample of sixteen international and local brands is investigated among Italian customers, in order to provide new perspectives and to identify dissimilarities, in terms of personality traits formation. The different nature of personality dimension is analyzed, with the aim to enrich the understanding of how each dimension is formed and which brand drivers can be considered as primary to form specific personality associations, under customer’s point of view. To collect information for this qualitative study, sixteen semi-structured face to face and Skype interviews were conducted among Italian customers.

Findings revealed a highly complex and rich nature of brand personality perceptions. Dissimilarities and discrepancies emerged even considering the country-specific context, aimed at avoiding the insurgence of cross-cultural issues. Italian brand personality scale proved to be a valuable and effective mean to analyze brand personality, even though few brands presented contrasting results and a more cross-dimensional essence. Each personality dimension revealed to be more strongly influenced by a limited set of personality drivers, reflected by peculiar and unique personality associations. Customers recognized the presented set of primary drivers, as effectively playing a fundamental role. However, C.O.O. emerged as a notably factor, despite the lacking of theoretical cues, leaving room for further studies and investigations on its value. Current results offer a new perspective on brand personality and allow practitioners to benefit from a more comprehensive and richer understanding of the construct. Accordingly, tailor made and focused brand strategies, can be adopted in order to develop distinguishing brand personality traits or to readdress current customers’ attitudes.
Brand, brand equity, brand personality, Italian customers, brand personality drivers
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