(‘Happy WAON’ – character for the japanese electronic money service Waon)
In my study of brand characters it is important for me to investigate what difference having a brand character makes for a brand. With my project I would like to be able to answer questions like:
Why is it relevant to have a brand character?
What is the effect of having a brand character?
To find these answers I am reading studies on the matter. And several studies in the field of advertising and marketing is researching and testing hypothesis’ related to my questions.
For example this article by R W Niedrich called: Spokes-Characters: Creating Character Trust and Positive Brand Attitudes (Journal of Advertising 2004)
Characters appear to benefit brands by establishing brand identity and favorable brand associations
And since everybody longs for consumers to perceive their brand in a positive way and to form a strong relation between consumer and brand, it is interesting reading.
What Niedrich concludes after testing 140 people’s relation to brand characters is that an emotional connection and trust is influences by certain characteristics:
A character is an expert
When consumers percieve a character to be an expert – ie. making product claims and repeatedly showing to possess knowledge about the product – the brand character is trustworthy.
Nostalgia is decisive – we long for the past
A nostalgic feeling in the consumer towards a brand character builds trust.
Relevance is of lesser importance when it comes to trust
On the other hand research showed that relevance between the character and it’s brand is of lesser concern. So a connection between the quality and characteristics of the brand does not necessarily affects trust.
New costumers are more affected by brand characters
The more experienced you as a consumer are with a brand the lesser effect the band character has on your attitudes towards the brand. And – of course – the more importance nostalgia has on the relation.