Using Personal and Online Repertory Grid Methods for the Development of a Luxury Brand Personality pp25-38
Interest has been growing in the brand personality concept, because it offers a systematic approach for developing symbolic benefits, which are becoming more and more essential for brand differentiation. Although they are a distinctive feature of luxury brands and often even exceed their functional benefits, there is still no personality concept designed especially for luxury brands. The aim of this article is therefore to develop and implement an appropriate methodology for developing a luxury brand personality. In contrast to the common quantitative approach, the article proposes a qualitative methodology including the Repertory Grid Method (RGM) and explains its benefits. It was implemented with a survey of 31 German millionaires who can be described as heavy luxury consumers. The content analyses of the data uncovered five personality dimensions including, for example, Modernity, which relates to the temporal perspective of a brand. The study extends the RGM areas of application and demonstrates its applicability in developing brand personality dimensions. The validity of the results improves if they are replicated with other studies and with varying research methodologies. To this end, recent developments in Web 2.0 provide a great source of inspiration. As a result, a complementary study was conducted to exploit these opportunities for online RGM and to allow for a more in‑depth understanding about the personality dimensions. The article builds upon an overview of qualitative online research, common online RGM and the idea of Web 2.0 to expand the methodological toolbox with collaborative RGM that allows respondents to build on the input of previous participants. The procedure was simplified in line with the explorative approach and implemented with a specially programmed online tool. The results support the five personality dimensions and give further insights into adequate brand personality traits. The article concludes with a discussion of the results and benefits of collaborative RGM for researchers and marketers.
Keywords: qualitative online research, Repertory Grid Method, Web 2.0, luxury brand, brand identity, brand personality
© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECRM Special Issue Part 1, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp63 - 162
Luxury consumer behaviour is still a relatively new area of research, one that relies largely on paid surveys and especially on student samples. However, it is questionable whether moderately paid surveys really can attract wealthy heirs or busy managers or if students can imagine themselves in the role of experienced luxury consumers. In addition, many researchers hesitate to target luxury consumers. One reason is the ongoing discussion in the literature as to what constitutes a luxury consumer and as to how luxury consumers can be distinguished from non‑luxury consumers and ultimately, how to identify them for empirical studies. What is more, this particular target group is notoriously hard to access and difficult to persuade to participate in any survey. Despite these problems, no article could be found in the literature, which addressed either the identification or the motivation of respondents for luxury consumer surveys (LCS). Therefore, the objective of this paper is to categorize and to discuss the means of identification and motivation of participants for LCS. Based on a literature analysis of existing LCS, the paper presents a categorization of the major research objectives, target groups, and identification methods for LCS. Subsequently, it provides an overview of common methods of participant motivation and discusses their suitability for LCS, which suggests thinking about some non‑monetary incentives that could convince luxury consumers to participate in a survey in their own interest. As this idea coincides with the notion of viral marketing, it seems promising to adapt this concept for viral participant acquisition (VPA). Consequently, the paper presents a case study detailing the implement‑ation of VPA on a recent LCS and concludes with the lessons learned.
Keywords: luxury products, luxury brands, luxury consumers, survey participant acquisition, survey response, viral marketing