German international companies in the Portuguese market. The impact of cultural differences on the brand personality

Bachelor Thesis, 2014

64 Pages, Grade: 2,2


Table of Contents
Table of Contents ... I
Table of Figures ... III
List of Tables ... IV
List of Abbreviations ... V
1. Introduction ... 1
2. Theoretical construct of a brand personality ... 4
2.1 Definition ... 4
2.2 Models of brand personality ... 5
2.3 Importance of brand personality for the strategic brand management ... 6
2.4 Structure of the brand personality scale by J. Aaker ... 7
2.4.1 Scope for design ... 8
2.4.2 Measurement of the brand personality ... 9
3. Brand personality and the connection to consumer personality ... 11
3.1 Function of brand personality ... 11
3.2 Congruity theory ... 12
4. About Portugal ... 13
4.1 Economic development and structure ... 13
4.2 Foreign economics ... 14
4.3 Relation Portugal-Germany ... 15
5. About culture ... 18
5.1 Definition ... 18
5.2 Hostede's cultural dimensions ... 21
5.3 The five cultural dimensions on the example of Germany and Portugal ... 24
5.4 Critical acclaim to Hofstede's theory ... 26
6. Combination of brand personality, consumer personality and culture ... 27
7. Empirical Research on the example of HARIBO and Volkswagen ... 29
7.1. Goals of the Research ... 29

7.1.1 Research design ... 29
7.2 Results of the empirical research ... 31
7.2.1 Descriptive Basisevaluation ... 32
7.2.2 Cognition of the brand personality ... 32
7.3 Summary of the findings ... 35
8. Conclusion ... 36
9. Bibliography ... 38
10. Appendix ... 48
10.1 Appendix A: Country statistical profile Portugal 2013 ... 48
10.2 Appendix B: Trompenaars seven cultural dimensions ... 50
10.3 Appendix C: PRA(LTO), ING, IDV, PDI in Germany vs. Portugal ... 51
10.4 Appendix D: About Haribo GmbH & Co. KG ... 52
10.5 Appendix E: About Volkswagen group ... 53
10.6 Appendix F: Questionnaire (German Version) ... 55
10.7 Appendix G: Questionnaire (English Version) ... 57

Table of Figures
Figure 1: Brand Identity Model ... 9
Figure 2: Most Important Import and Export Countries in 2012 in per cent ... 15
Figure 3: Number of Portuguese Meeting Places in Germany by Federal States ... 17
Figure 4: Hofstede's Cultural Onion ... 20
Figure 5: Portugal's Cultural Dimensions ... 24
Figure 6: Germany's Cultural Dimensions ... 25
Figure 7: Awareness of Haribo and VW amgong Genders ... 33
Figure 8: Preference of VW Vehicles ... 34

List of Tables
Table 1: Brand Personality Scale of Aaker ... 8
Table 2: Combination of Aaker and Hofstede's traits ... 28
Table 3: Gender/Age Structure of Interviewees in German Survey ... 32
Table 4: Gender/Age Structure of Interviewees in Portuguese Survey ... 32
Table 5: Preference of Portuguese in Fruit Gum Manufacturer ... 33
Table 6: Preference of Germans in Fruit Gum Manufacturer ... 34
Table 7: Predilection and consumption of Haribo ... 35

List of Abbreviations
BU Business
Central European Time
Association of Portuguese speaking countries
EU European
Gross Domestic Product
German Trade and Invest
Gross National Income
International Business Machines Corporation
Indulgence and Restraint
Individualism and Collectivism
International Monetary Fund
Long- versus short-term Orientation
Masculinity and Femininity
NPO Non-Profit
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
PDI Power
Pragmatic and Normative
UAI Uncertainty
United Nations Organization
VW Volkswagen

1. Introduction
,,True cultural connection is the Holy Grail for brands if they want to create an
enduring emotional relationship with people."
Adam Chmielowski
The analysis of this thesis goes hand in hand with this quote by Adam Chmielowski,
Group Head at Flamingo. In order to find out if his statement concerning the imporante
of brand awareness in branding is true,a suitable research question will be introduced.
The goal is to find out whether international companies are already aware of this fact
and what consequences it has on the brand personality if a company tries to enter a new
market in another country but expulses the cultural aspects.
A recognizable brand name can lead to an increase in sales, and could therefore be one
of the most valuable assets of a company. Especially for companies who offer products
or services which can easily be copied by others or where several substitutes are
available in the market. An example for such an industry is the automotive industry,
because they differentiate themselves through their brand personality. The significant
value of a brand name and personality is not only important due to high competition,
but also because of the increase in emotional wants and needs of the customer, which
need to be met in order to make profit. Potential customers might be more likely to buy
a product from a known brand, that they might have positive associations or feelings
with than from an unknown. Hence, it is important to attach a consumer to stay with the
company and become a loyal customer for this brand, because unlike product attributes,
the ideas of the consumer of this brand do not easily change (Aaker, Batra, Meyers,
1992). The setting up of a brand image is a marketing step and investment for beneficial
in the long-term. In this context the term brand personality stands for profile of a brand
with human characteristics.
Group Head, Cultural Intelligence at Flamingo ­ global insight and brand consultancy

During the last couple of decades the development of the global economy experienced
dramatic changes and the so-called globalization led to an increase in
internationalization and competition. Especially for conglomerates like Volkswagen
(VW) or others, which are already greatly internationalized, this new possibility does
not only offer several opportunities, like offshoring to low-cost countries, but brings
also new challenges for the companies in every Business Unit (BU), which stands for a
autonomous segment of a company with a certain function (Oxford Dictionary, 2014).
By spreading out into new countries and therefore new markets with a different target
group, companies face the challenge to rearrange their assumptions and norms
according to the specific culture in the market they are working in. These assumptions
and norms do not only apply for employees who enter a new market, but also for new
potential customers, and therefore affect the communication strategy of the company
concerning the brand awareness. If a company competes with another on the level of the
brand name, they will gain a competitive advantage because of the associations a
customer has with the brand, which are a reflection of what the brand stands for. Thus,
it is of essential importance and of the companies' interest to align all BU's with the
cultural demand of the foreign host market, even if this means to change the successful
home strategy.
The reasons for comparing Germany and Portugal were not only of personal interest,
but also due to the fact that, according to the German Department for Foreign Affairs,
the German-Portuguese relations already exist for a long time and are of high
importance, not only in the political sector, but also in the economic and cultural sector.
Even though Portugal is affected by the euro crisis since 2011 (Focus Online, 2011)
Germany is still the second most important trade partner of the country (Federal Foreign
Office, 2014). Furthermore, German companies are already present with own
production sites in Portugal over more than 100 years withand therefore anymore under
the top investors.
As described earlier, the brand identity is reflected in the minds of the customers, where
they create an image for the specific brand, and indicates the success of the company
communication. Aligning cultural needs with the brand personality, and therefore with
all marketing and communication steps, will help to meet the needs of the specific target

group in a new market. This leads to an increase in customers and the attraction of loyal
customers through correct Customer Relationship Management and brand
This Bachelor Thesis will try to answer the question to what extent does culture have
an impact on the implementation of a brand personality, especially through right brand
communication efforts of German companies in the Portuguese market.
According to past literature, several factors play an important role in the brand
implementation and customer acceptance, but the expected result should be that culture
is also a major factor.
In order to show that cultural differences can significantly have an effect within a
company, either positive or negative, on the brand personality, the thesis will be
attempted in two stages. In the first stage, some background information and definitions
of important key words are given, in order to gain an accurate overview of the topic.
This includes the overview of the theoretical construct of brand personality, by using
the example of two German international companies, and the importance of brand
personality within the branding theory.
The second stage focuses on building the bridge between brand personality and cultural
aspects, in which the topics are linked by broaching the issue of culture in Germany in
comparison to culture in Portugal and identify their main differences. This is done by
firstly offering an overview about the country, which is going to be entered. In this case
Portugal and analysing the Portuguese culture by using cultural dimensions of Hofstede.
In order to make the whole topic more feasible, two German international companies
are selected as examples and used for empirical research. The research is done in form
of a questionnaire, which is carried out in Portugal and in Germany in order to receive
comparable results. The interpretation of the empirical results derives in a summarized
illustration of the findings. Resultant from that, implications for the brand management
is can be found. Concluding a possible outlook with some recommendations for future
companies who try to enter the Portuguese market is given.

2. Theoretical construct of a brand personality
In order to assess cultural differences in the perception of brand personalities and to
identify how individuals from different cultural backgrounds, in this thesis from
Portuguese and German background, perceive brands and how this is aligned with the
company's brand personality, a well-defined, valid theoretical framework has to be
applied. Bodo Rieger once said that "brands without brand personality lie under a
sentence of death" (Rieger, 1985, p.56). In order to investigate this claim in a detailed
meaningful way and to evaluate the own research, the first challenge is to create a
fundamental construct for the empirical inquiry.
But beforehand it is necessary to understand the term brand itself. According to
Burmann, brand is a created name given to a certain company, product or service. This
name incorporates specific images that the consumer implicates with it. The image is
lead by the company through symbols, logos and signs. A brand is used to differentiate
from others. The creation process of a brand is called branding (Burmann, 2014).
With this knowledge progression in the topic is possible.
2.1 Definition
In the beginning of the 20
century, the theory of animism by George William Gilmore
described that human beings are inclined to enliven objectives, by granting those objects
human characteristics in order to facilitate the interaction with intangibles (Gilmore,
1991). This theory is affiliated in the context of brands.
The term "brand personality" was for the first time used by Pierre Martineau in his
book "The personality of the Retail Store" in order to describe the success of retail
stores in comparison to their competitors (Martineau, 1958). Afterwards, the term
became increasingly popular and nowadays there are several definitions of brand
personality available. Amongst others the definition from Audrey Azoulay and Jean-
Noël Kapferer (2003, 143-155), who define brand personality as "a set of human
personality traits that are both applicable to and relevant for brands", or from Keller

(1993, 2) who defines it as a "reflection of how people feel about a brand, rather than
what they think the brand is or does".
The probably most known definition is from Jennifer Aaker. According to Jennifer L.
Aaker, the pioneer of the research in brand personality, the term is defined as "the set of
human characteristics associated with a brand" (Aaker, 1997, p.347). In other words,
human traits or characteristics, for instance uniqueness, sincerity, excitement,
sophistication or intellectualism, are attributed to a specific brand name. Customers are
more likely to purchase a product or a service from a brand if they identify themselves
with it, which means in most of the cases that their personality is similar to the brand
personality or they try to express his or her own self through the use of a brand (Aaker,
1997, p.347-356).
It is important to differentiate between brand personality and brand image. In
comparison to the brand image, which describes not only the product attributes but also
the original performance of the product, the brand personality focuses only on the
symbolic and intangible features of it (Herrmann, Huber, Braunstein, 2001).
2.2 Models of brand personality
Brand equity, which is defined as "a set of assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its,
name and symbol, that adds to the value provided by a product or service to a firm"
(Aaker,2009, p. 11) can be created through brand personality and by three main models
(Aaker, 1996) The first model is the self-expression model (Aaker, 1996), which
describes the phenomenon of people expressing their own or idealized self, partly by the
brand that they buy and use. A famous example for this in present days is the usage of
Apple products. In the cost/performance ratio these might not be as good as others, but
according to several newspapers (Marketing Minds, 2014) represent the feeling of the
innovative and wealthy people. For this feeling the customers are willing to pay more,
to use this device as a personal statement.
The second model is the relationship basis model (Aaker, 1996), which is based on a
trustworthy and conservative relationship, differentiated into several user segments. For
instance a user segment might be a person who is looking for an athletic, rugged and
outdoor personality, which might fit for Nike. Another segment might be focussed on a

wealthy, condescending personality and might be associated with Mercedes. The people
using this model may never aspire to have a certain personality trait but would like to
have a relationship with a person or product that has certain characteristics
The functional benefit representation model (Aaker, 1996) is the third one. In here a
brand personality is used to represent and cue functional benefits and brand attributes.
An example for this model is the brand manufacturer of tyres, road maps and guide
books Michelin, which is reflected by the Michelin Man who has a strong, enthusiastic,
energetic personality that suggests a tire with strength and energy. If a image exists that
creates a personality, the ability to reinforce brand attributes will be greater, in contrast
it may be ineffective if it lacks a visual image in the customer's mind (Aaker, 2013).
2.3 Importance of brand personality for the strategic brand management
In today's greatly competitive environment, the concept of brand personality becomes a
more prominent tool, as it can create value to the company by creating higher brand
awareness and encourage lasting costumer relationships, the so-called brand loyalty
(Keller, 1998). Brand loyalty is of high importance, since fast improvements in
production technology and quality, consequently increased commoditization, make the
differentiation process between products difficult. This leads to the consumer's ability
to find enough substitute products. Therefore it is not only relevant to gain brand
awareness, but also to find a way to keep the customer. Once a brand personality has
been build, it does not imply to remain in this condition. On the contrary, it can develop
over time. This process can be further divided into levels of progress, which the
company achieves with the aforementioned change (Ghodeswar, 2008).
Practitioners like Jean Halliday (1996), Joseph T. Plummer (2000) and Alexander Biel
(1992) see the usage of brand personality as a crucial tool to differentiate a certain brand
in a large product category or market. But this is not the only reason, the other is to used
it as a key driver of preferences of a customer, as well as a widespread method to enter a
market with a brand across cultures.
Recent studies on the emotional aspects of branding published that the intangible
respectively the emotional aspects of brands may affect the consumer behaviour, thus
the buying decision, more likely than the more tangible brand attributes and benefits,

which serves more as an utilitarian function for consumers, than as a self-expressive
function like brand personality (Biel, 1993; Kirmani and Zeithaml, 1993). This theory
especially applies for products, which may provide a medium for self-expression to the
customer (Aaker, 1996; McCracken, 1989). Such self-expressive and emotional aspects
can be provided by a brand through its own personality.
Based on the aforementioned information, the modern key activity of marketing
departments in big companies who try to build or maintain a certain brand image, is to
create image pictures in the means of the business objectives for the consumer. This is
done with the help of product characteristics, brand name, packaging, distribution
strategies or advertisements (Aaker, 1992). This is not an easy step for the company
because the usage of brand personality requires establishing a brand, though it cannot be
created by the company itself. The only task the company can fulfil on their own in this
process is to create value and according to this value the customer defines the brand
from their point of view (Ind, 2007).
2.4 Structure of the brand personality scale by J. Aaker
The study of Jennifer Aaker (1997) on brand personality is based on a multidimensional
framework for which the concept of the human Big Five ("Neuroticism, extraversion,
openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness") (Costa and McCrae, 1995, p.21-50).
personality dimensions is partly adopted. The concept describes the traits of a brand
with the help of five core dimensions, which are then further divided into a set of facets.
From these Big Fives of human personality, only three are congruent with the brand
personality scale of Aaker, namely sincerity, excitement and competence. The other two
dimensions can only be applied for brands. The Brand Dimensions framework of
Jennifer Aaker can be summarized in the table below (Table 1), with all its five core
dimensions in the second row and the divided facets directly above in the third raw, as
well as the traits belonging to each of the facets in the last row. To each of the five core
dimensions several characteristics are linked.

Table 1: Brand Personality Scale of Aaker
1b. Honest
4a.Upper class
1b. Honest:
Hard Working
4a.Upper class:
Good looking
Source: Own Illustration based on Jennifer L. Aakers Brand Personality Scale, 1997
2.4.1 Scope for design
Brand personality is not only what the company wants to communicate and what is
developed by the them independently. In fact it is also developed coincidentally by the
consumers, as they give products several characteristics. This may not be the one the
company has originally chosen.
Also the company's employees play an important role. To understand why this is the
case, Chernatony's Brand Identity theory is used. According to this, brand personality is
part of the brand identity, next to brand positioning, brand culture, vision and
presentation (De Chernatony, 1999). This brand identity is created partly from the
employees, as they create the brand culture, which hence affects the brand personality
Excerpt out of 64 pages


German international companies in the Portuguese market. The impact of cultural differences on the brand personality
Cologne Business School Köln
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ISBN (Book)
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Marketing Management, Brand Personality, Strategic brand management, Congruity theory, Portugal, Culture, Cultural dimensions, HARIBO, Hofstede, Volkswagen, International companies
Quote paper
Juliane Couto (Author), 2014, German international companies in the Portuguese market. The impact of cultural differences on the brand personality, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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