Can Brands Make You Break Out In Hives?

Brands are like people, they have personalities. Well not quite, we as consumers tend to attribute human like personalities to brand. If we are allergic to certain human personalities, can we be allergic to brands too? Beach Reads recommends a 2003 novel, Pattern Recognition. It was described as “the most finely observed and entertaining text on branding that’s ever been written”, by the reviewer Karrie Jacobs. Karrie describes the novels heroine Cayce Pollard to be “literally allergic to logos. The Michelin Man for example makes her physically ill”.
While this level of brand sensitivity and reaction reads like hyperbole, there is certain truth to the emotional response. In her 1997 paper in the Journal of Marketing Research, Prof. Jennifer Aaker described five dimensions of brand personalities:
  1. Sincerity
  2. Excitement
  3. Competence
  4. Sophistication
  5. Ruggedness 

If a brand’s personality dimensions are not aligned with those you require of a brand, the brand is bound to cause a negative response.