• Melisa Mete

Student thesis: Phd


There are several approaches to brand image measurement. The main aim of this thesis is to understand which of the two most common approaches, namely the personification and the direct approach, should be preferred. The personification approach adopts the brand = person metaphor (if the brand came to life as a person would s/he be trustworthy?), while the direct approach simply asks ‘Do you think this brand is trustworthy?’. The main method used is to compare their explanations of typical outcomes (dependent variables) in a series of online surveys. Two different dimensions of brand image (warmth and competence) are considered for different types of brand (product, employer and corporate). The thesis uses the ‘journal ready format’ where a series of related papers form the main part of the work. This thesis adopts a quantitative approach and presents the results from four empirical studies. To compare the two approaches to brand image measurement, Study I (Journal Article I) compared two types of brands (product and corporate) and the two types of brand image measurement approach. In Study II and Study III (Journal Article II), the context was shifted to employer branding, when comparing the two approaches. The analysis of the first and the second studies showed no consistent pattern and no systematic advantage for the personified approach. Indeed the two types of measure appeared quite similar in many respects. When trying to explain the results, task difficulty emerged as a possible explanation and was investigated via Study III and Study IV (Journal Article III). Task difficulty was not lower for the personified approach as expected. While there is a rich body of brand image literature using either personification or direct measurement approaches, there is no research comparing them in the same context/setting to understand any differences between these approaches. Two main conclusions emerged from this research to contribute to the market research literature. This research shows that there is no systematic statistical benefit from adopting the personification approach. Task difficulty varied with age and education, but not as expected from the literature, a finding that might be considered in all survey research, not just that involving brand image.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGary Davies (Supervisor)


  • task difficulty
  • competence
  • warmth
  • brand image dimensions
  • brand image measurements
  • Brand image
  • stereotype content model

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