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Brand Personification: Introduction and Overview


  • Ronald Jay Cohen

    Corresponding author
    1. R.J. Cohen Consulting
    • Correspondence concerning this introduction and overview should be addressed to: Ronald Jay Cohen, Ph.D., ABPP, R.J. Cohen Consulting, 8927 Hypoluxo Road, Bldg A-4, #224, Lake Worth, FL 33467 (

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This introduction to the Special Issue on Brand Personification was designed to provide background and perspective on the topic. Definitions of brand personification and related terminology were presented for discussion, as were two sample taxonomies of brand personification strategies. The first taxonomy entailed categorization on the basis of the personified character's relationship to the brand; five overlapping categories (including, for example, “the brand personification is a character who personifies the brand” and “the brand personification is a character who is a spokesperson for the brand”) were distinguished and illustrated. The second taxonomy was based on the anthropomorphic qualities of personifications with reference to a reality continuum (ranging from animated cartoons to real people). The research articles presented in this Special Issue were introduced, and several questions for future research were raised. Issues related to the why and the how of brand personification were discussed (including, for example, an examination of the pros and cons of brand personification strategies). Interspersed throughout were some case histories of selected brand personifications. The applicability of dimensional qualitative research (DQR) as a tool in the academic and applied study of brand personification was illustrated with reference to each of the eight dimensions that comprise the DQR “BASIC IDS” (an acronym for behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal relations, drugs, and sociocultural factors).