The importance of media brand personality fit between audience and channel brands

Authors: Chapleo, C.

Conference: European Media Management Association

Dates: 27-29 May 2015


The importance of media brand personality fit between audience and channel brands; an exploration.

Media Branding research has become increasingly prominent and is now a distinct evolving discipline (Ots, 2008; Chan-Olmsted and Kim, 2010; Chan-Olmsted 2006). A media brand may be conceptualised as a construct carrying the audience’s associations in terms of cognitive, emotional, stylistic, conscious and unconscious significations ( Forster, 2015) and a good media brand adds thoughts and feelings that enhance the value of a product beyond its product category and functional values (Chan-Olmsted, 2006) .

This paper proposes that it is important for media organisations’ development and sustainability to consider the specific personality traits of customers e.g., their brand values or brands personalities. Specifically, the audience’s traits should be reflected in the media brand personality in order to maximise audience figures. The aim is to establish to what extent is there a direct relationship between audience personality traits and the media brand personality, and if this can influence brand performance? The specific context is that of broadcast channel brands. A broadcast channel brand would for example, be BBC4, whereas BBC is the network brand and e.g. ‘Doctor Who’ the programme brand.

Brand image plays an important role in consumers’ decision making (Keller, 2001). Branding writers argue that brands can be associated with personality traits that provide “self-expressive or symbolic benefits for the consumer” (Aaker, 1999, p.45). Consumers choose the product they perceive as having a desirable (brand) personality (Aaker, 1999; Ahuvia, 2005; Belk, 1988) to embody and validate their identity (Aaker, 1997; Berger, Heath 2007). Therefore a self-congruent brand reflects who the consumer actually is or would like to be (Mälar, Krohmer, Hoyer, Nyffenegger, 2011). Media brands therefore act as important tools for self- identification as audiences reaffirm their perceptions of self-concepts by choosing compatible media brands (Forster, 2015). Brands are endowed with humanistic personality traits that are collectively termed ‘brand personality’(De Chernatony et al., 2011). There is a significant body of opinion that the work on brand personality scales has been empirically tested to the point where it is now a solid theoretical base for exploration of the concept (Venable. et al., 2005; Voeth and Herbst, 2008; ). Aaker’s (1997) paper is widely employed and it is suggested that is valuable for a media organisation to be identified in these five dimensions and to establish a link between these traits and audience personality (Matzler et al., 2011) . What is essentially under consideration is how consumers’ self-concept influence brand selection. There are, however, two types of self-concept; the real self and the ideal self (Alex and Joseph, 2012) and the extent to which each of these should be targeted by brand owners is an important consideration (Malar et al., 2011).

The nature of the brand itself is also a determinant of the degree of self-congruence and ensuring brand attachment; more specifically, self-congruence is argued to be more important for hedonistic/ symbolic brands (aesthetic, experiential and enjoyment related benefits) than for utilitarian brands (functional and practical benefits) in creating emotional brand attachment. There are therefore a number of interesting variables at play in consideration of brand personality, individual personality and the degree to which self-congruence between the two is important in building brand preference and ultimately brand loyalty for organisations. There has been a reasonable amount of research that explores this although empirical rules and models are not necessarily universal or proven. Given the extent to which the media sector has embraced branding over the last decade and that modern media organisations have often developed sophisticated brands (Chan-Olmsted and Kim, 2010; Chan-Olmsted & Park, 2000), exploration of the relationship between a broadcast media channel’s brand personality and the personality traits of individual audiences is appropriate. In particular the self-congruence between TV audiences and the brands which they choose is an important relationship, as audiences are increasingly following content rather than networks. The measurement of the relationship between brand personality and audience personality fit has not been fully explored, and this work is a first step to measures to allow media organisations to analyse their brand fit with audience personality. Therefore, in summary, symbolic brands may be better suited to maximising ‘brand fit’ between audiences and media brand personality and therefore maximising viewing figures. This work so far is based on exploration of current literature but the next stage is to devlop clear objectives and test this empirically. This paper is therefore the first stage in modelling the value of brand personality between media brands and their audiences.

Source: Manual

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