This academic paper shows the consumer preferences towards three brands of Cars (BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Hummer) based on brand personalities. The purpose of my study is to find out the ways in which personality characteristics of brands (human-like characteristics) are established and the ways they can be enhanced. The different model specification and features of these vehicles are studied and an establishment of the source different personality brands arises from. The study shows that customer behavior patterns are based on the perceptions they attach to a particular car brand.
This report found systematic differences regarding the different dimensional measures that customers attach to brands. An analysis of the brands was made and the comparisons were made. The models targeted specific market segments. Keywords: brand personality perceptions, brand personality dimensions, sources of brand personality, brand personality enhancement, Introduction The concept of brand personality is very important in the understanding of complexities in consumer behavior patterns.
This is usually based on symbolism and attached meanings related to brand loyalty (Austin, 2003, p 50). The concept of brand personality has been in existence for a long period of time and it is often linked to product differentiation. The practitioners in the marketing field are still studying the reasons that make consumers to attach self-expression when it comes to choosing a brand of their choice (Freling, 2005, 150). Companies must therefore try their level best in the development of new products and also diversifying the existing portfolio through product differentiation.
This entails designing their products using symbolic values which the consumers can easily associate to themselves for a long time. It is only through the categorization of individuals with their brand personalities that they real behaviors and expectations be studied. The different standards of product and services contribute to the alleviation of brands into the minds of the consumers. A company that does not differentiate its products and services to meet the changing needs of the customers risks getting out business because the purchasing behavior of customers changes according to market trends.
Studies from consumer researches have shown that those brands that exhibit positive and strong personalities tend to produce high performance levels in terms of usage, attached emotions, loyalty and trust from the customers and also helps in the improvement of product differentiation (Freling, 2005, 155). This academic paper has studied the consumer preferences in three car brands (BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Hummer) in the UK based on the concept of brand personality. These car models are trying to establish themselves in the competitive market of luxury and Sports Utility Vehicles.
The manufacturers of these models target the high and middle income class who are looking for luxury and prestige in one package. BMW X6 brands are of German origin and are manufactured by the Bavarian Motor Works which manufactures luxury and sports vehicles; Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML63 is also of German roots and is manufactured by the Mercedes-Benz Group of companies and Hummer H3 SUV is an iconic brand of cars manufactured by the General Motors Corporation. The first brand is manufactured by a company that has been in the manufacturing industry for a long time and enjoys a big market share in the UK.
The second brand is also a household name in the UK and is always competing with the first brand. The last brand is a new entrant in the market and brings a lot of competition in the market for its off-road capabilities. Literature Review For a long period of time, different types of market researches have been undertaken in the hope of establishing the right criteria of determining the meaning and complexity of a brand. Majority of the researches focused on the company as the center of attention as the main player of brand creation.
This was done through the help of mixing the identity of the program and the economics associated (Heding et al, 2008, pp 22-26). This perspective has been subjected to critics who claim that it concentrated a lot on the product and ignored other unseen product aspects such as the essence of the product (Wood, 2000, p 221). According to Heding et al. 2008, the right approach of determining the brand based on the individualistic and humanistic perspectives continued to excel because it concerned itself with the consumer, the associated personality and the relation the consumer attaches to the product.
The most outstanding approach of all times is the personality approach which puts into consideration the different views and thinking perspective of different consumers in the management of brand projects (Aaker, 1997, p. 347-356: De chernatony, 1998, p. 139). Aaker 1995 defined brand personality as the specified set of attached meanings that are used to describe the unseen inner specifications of a product brand and these meanings are obtained by use of consumer behaviors that are brought out through personification of the brand.
This meaning has since been adopted by different schools of thought. The linkages between the brand and the consumers can be studied through different linkages. This are exhibited over a wide range of visible characteristics which includes feelings, attitudes and the different views that consumers have towards a brand (Rajagopal, 2006, p. 546). This view shows that both the consumer and the brand have got different roles to fulfill. Further researches conducted concerning brand personality showed that brand personality can be categorized into three levels.
The first level was based on conceptions which studied the different perceptions individuals have towards brands. In the second level, the brand was examined as being a factor of influencing the relationship of the consumer with the brand. Jennifer Aaker, 1997: 155 constructed the last level by identification of personality through the application of brand traits (Aaker and Fournier, 1995). This led to the formation of the Big Five model that was measured in different dimensions using the Brand Personality Scale (BPS).
Aaker, 1997 found out that high levels of preference and usage are associated with brands that exhibit strong personality levels. Her research was studied using the following personality traits; ruggedness, competence, excitement, sophistication and sincerity. She claimed that these dimensions were universally generic and could be applied in the measurement of brand personality of products from all cultures and categories. This framework has since been used by market researchers to measure brand personality in diverse cultures all over the world.
From the review of literature, it can be seen that the perceptions of individuals towards a brand comes from different diverse origins. The traits are not only formed directly but also through indirect contacts that the customer perceives of the brand (Plummer, 1985). This can be summarized to mean that traits in personality are linked with a brand by using product-related attributes, categorizing products into different associations, establishing a strong brand name and symbol, style of promotion, using different prices, and distribution channels (Batra, Lehmann, and Singh 1993, pp 83-96).
It is therefore upon marketers of brands to understand the diversity of brand personality and apply it the development of the brand personalities of their choices. Analysis of the Car Brands Hummer This model was manufactured with the U. S Army’s Humvee in mind. The original designers of this vehicle intended it to be used for off road adventures. It had to be reduced in size to bring the desired effects to consumers. These led to the manufacture of the H2 and H3 versions which consume less fuel and giving it a wide market appeal.
The design of the vehicle was to fit those of the Sports-Utility Vehicle (SUV). This included using Models (Modernista! ) to promote the brand to remove the notion that the brand was associated with military capabilities but at the same time maintaining it as a ‘serious 4×4 vehicle’. The targeted market was arrived at after conducting market research. Individuality was found out to be the trait that most individuals associate with a typical sports utility vehicle. It identified individuals with an average age of 30 years and average income above $ 150,000.
The title of the marketing campaign represented Hummer as being for rugged individuals, who are adventurers and love actions that raise their adrenaline (Evanoff, 1999, the Indianapolis Star). Currently, the hummer model targets four niches: the adventurous, the discerners, the realists and the conquerors. The adventurous buys the car to use it in off-road conditions, the discerners are always looking for finer things in life and will buy the model for the status it brings to them, the realists are concerned with the practical purposes and the off-road prowess of the hummer satisfies his/her needs.
The conqueror wants to be associated with success and uses the exclusivity of the hummer to grain attention. BMW X6 This model is the latest of the X series models. It is an improvement of the features of the earlier X5 model. It is a customized sports utility vehicle built with a lot of luxury utilities. The controls are also sport automatic. The engine is very powerful and offers high speed. The inside is designed with style and substance to offer the best comfort which includes entertainment gadgets with the latest technology, excellent air conditioning.
The 4×4 design makes it suitable for off-road capabilities. The targeted market consists of the adventurous, the discerners and those individuals who love to be associated with success. The BMW brand is also hard to resist becomes it comes with elegance and prestige. Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML63 Mercedes Benz is a successful player in the automobile industry as seen from their diverse range of car models. This can be associated to the Brand Attitude of Mercedes Benz. This Model is a Sport Utility Vehicle of the M-Class which is associated with a lot of luxury. The M- stands for Mercedes.
This car was designed with luxury in mind. It offers a wide range of comfort and luxury to its consumers as well as the 4×4 off road capabilities. It is low priced and therefore targets the low and middle income consumers. It was lunched in the USA where consumers tend to associate themselves with class and new lifestyles. It is fuel efficient and its performance is excellent. The feeling of luxury and the name Mercedes Benz increases the attitude and attraction individuals perceive in their ownership desires. The low price of the brand also compels individuals to won one.
The success of the Mercedes Benz worldwide also increases the appeal of this car model (Keller. 1998). Summary of the analysis using brand personality theory The car number 1 in the analysis is made for wealthy individuals for love recognition and adventure and at the same time enjoying luxury. The model is very outstanding in terms of the reflection of pride and success of the owners. It shows the individuals as conjurers due to the enormous design of the vehicle and the off-road prowess. The second car is ideal for individuals who love prestige and at the same time luxury and elegance (McCracken, Grant 1989, pp 310-321).
The 4×4 features makes it ideal for off-road capabilities and enhances its competitive edge against other established Sports Utility Vehicle. The control and speed also increases its appeal and the design makes it suitable to all genders and ages. It is also an all wheel drive as compared to other SUVs which are four wheel drives. The last vehicle is elegant in appearance and is exceptionally suited to those individuals who want to be recognized in their businesses and careers. The design of the vehicle also brings attention to the owner.
The manufacturer of the car, Mercedes Benz, creates a picture in the minds of the targeted audience to elicit believes that the amount of money they spend on the car brings the desired outcomes not only in elegance but also for the engineered performance of the Mercedes Brand which is recognized globally in sophistication and technology in the automobile industry (Simonin and Ruth, 1998, pp 30-42). Recommendation and Conclusion It is essential for brand developers to conduct out market researches before designing a brand of a product. This will enable them to know the targeted individuals as well as their specification and perceptions.
This will in essence be used to design the product. A mixture of the situational factors and personality traits can be used to arrive at a very successful brand. The customer’s perceptions influence their choice of product. The study the motives that leads individuals to choose new things must be studied. The environment is always changing and therefore organizations should be ready to react to the ever changing consumer needs in order to enable them to design competitive products. The lifestyle features must then be incorporated into the marketing strategies to help consumers to choose their products. References
Aaker, J, and Fournier, S. , 1995. “A Brand as a Character, A partner and A person: three perspectives on the Question of Brand Personality”, advances in consumer research Aaker J, S. F, 1995. A Brand as a Character, A Partner and A Person: three perspectives on the Question of Brand Personality”, advances in consumer research Aaker, Jennifer (1997), “Dimensions of Brand Personality”, Journal of Marketing Research, 34 (3), 347-356. Austin R, J. A. S. , 2003. A re-examination of the generalizability of the Aaker brand personality measurement framework, journal of strategic marketing Batra, Rajeev, Donald R.
Lehmann and Dipinder Singh (1993), “The Brand Personality Component of Brand Goodwill: Some Antecedents and Consequences” in Brand Equity and Advertising, ed. David A. Aaker, Alexander Biel, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 83-96. De Chernatony L, Et al, 1998. Defining A “Brand”: Beyond the Literature with Experts Interpretations journal of Marketing Management Freling T, L. , 2005. An empirical Analysis of the Brand Personality Effect, Journal of Product & Brand Management Heding T. , et al, 2009. “Brand Management: Research, Theory and Practice. ” Ind. Ed. London and New York: Routledge Press, p 22-26
Keller, K. L. 1993, “Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Managing Customer-Based Brand Equity”, Journal of Marketing, 57 (January), 1-22. Keller, K. L. 1998. Strategic Brand Management. Building, measuring and Managing Brand Equity, New Jersey: Prentice Hall McCracken, Grant 1989, “Who Is the Celebrity Endorser? Cultural Foundations of the Endorsement Process”, Journal of Consumer Research, 16 (3), 310-321. Park, Whan C. 1976, “The Effect of Individual and Situation-Related Factors on Consumer Selection of Judgmental Models”, Journal of Marketing Research, 13 (May), 144-151. Plummer, Joseph T.
, 1985, “Brand Personality: A Strategic Concept for Multinational Advertising,” in Marketing Educators’ Conference, New York: Young & Rubicam, 1- 31. Rajagopal, 2006. Insights from Research Brand Excellence: Measuring the Impact Of Advertisement And Brand Personality On Buying Decisions, measuring Business Excellence. Simonin, B. L. and Ruth, J. A. (1998). “Is a Company Known by the Company It Keeps? Assessing the Spill over Effects of Brand Alliances on Consumer Brand Attitudes”, Journal of Marketing Research, 35 (February), 30-42. Wood, L, 2000. Brands and Brand Equity: Definition And Management, management Decisions
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