Purpose: This research explores the application of Aaker’s brand personality scale on human brands in surf sports. It investigates the potential for detecting differences in the brand personality profile used on human brands. Aaker (1997) developed a brand personality framework consisting out of five dimensions of brand personality and fifteen brand personality attributes. This framework has been used in several studies; however, it has been criticized by researchers for its lack of applicability as a general scale. This paper addresses this issue by testing all forty-two original brand personality attributes, used by Aaker, on professional surfers as human brands. A second objective was to establish an ultra-short scale for practical reasons since brand personality is often only one of several measures in a questionnaire.
Methodology: In order to determine what attributes were the most appropriate when describing a professional surfer, a web survey with a 7-point Likert scale was conducted, which resulted in a convenience sample of n=219 respondents. In this study, the author conducted principle factor analysis and compared the results of an oblique rotation with Aaker’s results in order to investigate whether Aaker’s brand personality scale provides similar results on human brands as it does on product brands.
Findings: This paper concludes that partially different facets than Aaker’s (1997) brand personality framework apply to human brands in the surf context. The more appropriate facets for human brands in the surf context include: real, wholesome, good-looking, secure, Western, and up-to-date.
Research limitations/Implications: Further research on specific athletes in different contexts is needed. It could incorporate other brand personality scales e.g. Geuens et al. (2009), Braunstein and Ross (2010) and Tsiotsou (2012) scales.
Practical Implications: The findings of this study are useful for sports marketers to better understand athletes as human brands as well as their facets, in order to develop target positioning with specific marketing strategies.
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