Brand personality structure in Korea and the United States : implications for global marketing strategy
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This paper investigates the generalizability of Aaker’s theoretical framework of the dimensions of brand personality (the five factors of Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness) across two cultures. In Study 1, which examines U.S. brand personality dimensions, 320 subjects evaluated 13 global brands by using 80 brand personality traits. The results of the Study 1 (U.S.) reveal that observed factor and facet structure is largely consistent with Aaker’s framework, with the exception of a separate Tradition dimension. This suggests that these so-called "Big Five" dimensions seem not be exhaustive for some populations within the U.S. culture. Study 2 extends this set of findings to Korea, 337 subjects rated the same global brands on the same brand personality traits. The results of Study 2 reveal that Korean consumers have eight brand personality dimensions: Sincerity/Competence, Excitement1, Excitement2, Peacefulness, Sophistication, Dominance, Tradition, and Ruggedness. The emergence of two new dimensions (Peacefulness and Dominance), which appear to carry culture specific meaning, suggests that Korean brand personality structure is quite discrepant from U.S. structure even for familiar global brands, in terms of number of dimensions, trait markers within dimensions and facets, and basic symbolic meaning. Results of the study indicate that consumer goods (commercial brands) have the ability to carry and communicate not only utilitarian characteristics and value but also cultural meaning.