Critique on Aaker’s (1997) paper- “Dimensions of Brand Personality”

Brand personality is a set of human characteristics associated with a brand. It is a key way to differentiate a brand in a product category(Holiday 1996). The objective set out by Aaker was to develop a reliable and generalizable scale to measure brand personality dimensions. In this critique we will analyze to what extent Aaker’s objective was achieved.

One might argue that the research by Aaker is not generalizable across cultures, because the respondents were solely residing in the US. Other cultures probably won’t have the same associations with the personality traits. So the objective to make a generalizable scale was not completely met. This is a very important missing link in the research, especially when looking at the globalized market we are experiencing today.

Since generalizing was one of the outlined objectives, having a survey with in the end only 631 returned questionnaires is not representative to generalize the results to an entire population. This might sound a bit far-fetched as a point of critique, but the implications on the research could be significantly.

Furthermore one might argue that a paper of 1997 is not the most up-to-date basis for a Brand Personality scale. Given the fast-evolving consumer preferences and customs, the five dimensions of Brand Personality might have lost a bit of their credibility and applicability. It would not be a surprise that the customers of 2015 have different perceptions of brands and connotations of the dimensions than the 1997 customer. Therefor it would be advisable to regularly perform a new market research to keep the dimensions spot-on and up-to-date.

By Ben Deglinne


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