The importance of personality and word of mouth for a brand

Julia Rondelli - October 7, 2020
consumer behavior marketing personalità

The importance of personality and word of mouth for a brand

Word of mouth - PXR Italy

Have you ever wondered why it is so important for a brand to have a clear and defined personality? Also, did you know why word of mouth is considered the most persuasive communication channel?

"Like it or not": when the brand meets the consumer

The brands (or trademarks) we choose when we buy some products help us to express our personality, and this is possible precisely because the brands themselves have one.

People tend to prefer one brand over another because it espouses their values; like friends, the more similar they are, the more likely they are to get along. For example, people who choose Apple do so because they value simplicity and efficiency in their lives, values that Apple itself places at the forefront. A loyal Samsung consumer, on the other hand, will tend to put more emphasis on values such as innovation and durability.

Let us now, however, take a step back. According to Higgins (1987), we define ourselves, or rather our 'self', from three 'perspectives':

  • real self (how we perceive ourselves);
  • ideal self (how we would like to be);
  • normative self (what we think we should be, referring to the norms of the society in which I am embedded).

Therefore a brand, based on its personality, can help the consumer to define one of these three selves. (source: APA PsychNet)

For example, Virgin Active recently launched a new campaign targeting the 'Unstoppable', i.e. all those customers who identify themselves as people who don't let the Covid-19 situation stop them from exercising; thus leveraging their real selves (how they perceive themselves in reality). (source: YouTube)

Instead, an ideal example of the ideal self is Maybelline NY's new campaign for 'Age Clear' concealer. The advertisement promises a product capable of giving an instantly brighter and more rested look by minimising the signs of ageing and making the skin more relaxed and even; thus leveraging on how consumers would like to look (ideal self). (source: YouTube)

The power of reviews and word of mouth

In a society where it is virtually impossible to escape the exposure of advertising, word of mouth has become more important than ever. Just as we trust influencers because we think that what they say is without ulterior motive, we tend to think that what our friends, family or colleagues say is the result of real experience.

It is important to keep in mind that negative word of mouth is much more powerful than positive word of mouth. Every person affected by a positive word of mouth allows 10 more to be affected by a negative word of mouth, because people tend to complain more than they tend to compliment or thank. For example, if a train arrives late, even if it is only 15 or 30 minutes, this could be enough to generate negative word of mouth, but if it arrives on time, this would not be enough to generate positive word of mouth. To generate positive word-of-mouth, it is necessary to create an exceptional experience, such as having the train arrive early at the destination.

Today, the Internet has amplified the difficulty of generating positive word of mouth. Indeed, one only has to think of sites such as Tripadvisor or Booking, where consumer comments carry much more weight than the number of stars a hotel can have.

PXR Italy is an expert in the field of brand analysis

PXR Italy analyses how effectively a brand is able to communicate its personality through innovative and digital methods.

Through the semantic analysis of the conversations of consumers who mention the brand (or product) of reference, PXR Italy investigates how positive or negative the sentiment of consumers (and non-consumers) is about that specific brand (or product).

Thanks to qualitative and quantitative methodologies, PXR Italy is able to give indications to improve the products of companies, institutions and organisations.

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