Negative brand personality
: the construct, its antecedents and outcome variables

  • Iftakar Haji

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


By evolving brands and building on the importance of self-expression, Aaker (1997) developed the brand personality framework as a means to understand brand-consumer relationships. The brand personality framework captures the core values and characteristics described in human personality research in an attempt to humanize brands. Although influential across many streams of brand personality research, the current conceptualization of brand personality only offers a positively-framed approach. To date, no research, both conceptually and empirically, has thoroughly incorporated factors reflective of Negative Brand Personality, despite the fact that almost all researchers in personality are in agreement that factors akin to Extraversion (positive) and Neuroticism (negative) should be in a comprehensive personality scale to accommodate consumers’ expressions. As a result, the study of brand personality is only half complete since the current research trend is to position brand personality under brand image. However, with the brand personality concept being confused with brand identity at the empirical stage, factors reflective of Negative Brand Personality have been neglected. Accordingly, this thesis extends the current conceptualization of brand personality by demarcating the existing typologies of desirable brand personality and incorporating the characteristics reflective of consumers’ discrepant self-meaning to provide a more complete understanding of brand personality. However, it is not enough to interpret negative factors as the absence of positive factors. Negative factors reflect consumers’ anxious and frustrated feelings. Therefore, this thesis contributes to the current conceptualization of brand personality by, firstly, presenting a conceptual definition of Negative Brand Personality in order to provide a theoretical basis for the development of a Negative Brand Personality scale, then, secondly, identifying what constitutes Negative Brand Personality and to what extent consumers’ cognitive dissonance explains the nature of Negative Brand Personality, and, thirdly, ascertaining the impact Negative Brand Personality has on attitudinal constructs, namely: Negative Attitude, Detachment, Brand Loyalty and Satisfaction, which have proven to predict behaviors such as choice and (re-)purchasing. In order to deliver on the three main contributions, two comprehensive studies were conducted to a) develop a valid, parsimonious, yet relatively short measure of Negative Brand Personality, and b) ascertain how the Negative Brand Personality measure behaves within a network of related constructs. The mixed methods approach, grounded in theoretical and empirical development, provides evidence to suggest that there are four factors to Negative Brand Personality and, tested through use of a structural equation modeling technique, that these are influenced by Brand Confusion, Price Unfairness, Self- Incongruence and Corporate Hypocrisy. Negative Brand Personality factors mainly determined Consumers Negative Attitudes and Brand Detachment. The research contributes to the literature on brand personality by improving the consumer-brand relationship by means of engaging in a brandconsumer conversation in order to reduce consumers’ cognitive strain. The study concludes with a discussion on the theoretical and practical implications of the findings, its limitations, and potential directions for future research.
Date of Award2 Apr 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorIan Combe (Supervisor), Andrew Farrell (Supervisor) & Heiner Evanschitzky (Supervisor)


  • brand personality
  • negative
  • antecedents
  • outcome variables

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