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Cultural antecedents and consequences of luxury brand personalities

Balabanis, G. & Karpova, A. (2022). Cultural antecedents and consequences of luxury brand personalities. European Journal of Marketing, 56(8), pp. 2423-2454. doi: 10.1108/ejm-03-2021-0215


This paper aims to examine whether brands derive their personalities from their culture of origin, the stereotypes about their cultures of their origin or the cultures of their buyers. It also examines which of a culture’s personality traits are more transmittable to brand personalities (BPs), as well as the consequences of the BP resemblance to the personalities of the brand’s culture of origin and consumers’ culture on BP’s clarity and consumer attachment to the brand.

Hypotheses were developed and tested on survey data from a sample figure of 1,116 US consumers of luxury brands on 23 luxury brands originating from France, the USA, Britain, Italy and Germany. Trait by trait and personality profile analyses were performed using hierarchical model analysis (linear mixed effects models) and Cattell’s (1969) pattern similarity coefficient.

The culture of a brand’s origin accounts for differences of different brands personalities. The personality profiles of a country’s brands are distinct from the BP profiles of brands from other countries. The conscientiousness trait of a culture is the most transmittable to BPs. BPs derive their characteristics from stereotypes of a culture’s personality than the actual personality of the culture. The assimilation of a brand’s personality to consumer’s culture is not supported. The similarity of a BP to both real and stereotypical personality of the culture of the brand’s origin enhance perceived clarity of the BP.

Research limitations/implications
The study’s focus is limited to established luxury brands coming from countries that are the traditional producers of luxuries. Empirical evidence also comes only from American consumers of luxury brands. New luxury brands from countries that have recently emerged as luxury producers need to be included.

Practical implications
Brands retain a significant space to differentiate their personalities beyond the influence of their culture of origin on BPs. With the exception of conscientiousness, personality traits of culture are not automatically inherited or transmitted to the brands. Cultural stereotypes find their way into BPs easier than real personality traits and managers should focus on them. BP matching with the personality of a culture is a good way for managers to increase the perceived clarity of their brands’ personality.

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to examine the culture’s influence on BP using a compatible to the BP construct cultural framework, McCrae and Terracciano’s (2005a) personality of a culture framework. Three cultural meaning transfer processes are examined (cultural inheritance, cultural stereotyping and acculturation to the consumer’s culture) within the same study from a trait-by-trait and a configurational (i.e. personality profile) perspective. The consequences of BP similarity to the brand’s culture of origin as well as consumer’s culture on the BP’s appeal are also assessed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited. This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher.
Publisher Keywords: Culture, Survey, Brand personality, Stereotyping, Luxury brands, Surface response analysis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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