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Journal Article

Using Personal and Online Repertory Grid Methods for the Development of a Luxury Brand Personality  pp25-38

Klaus Heine

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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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


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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009 / Dec 2009  pp1‑116

Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina

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The 8th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management attracted a wide range of papers. The conference fell naturally into four main themes: introducing relatively new techniques, in depth description of application of accepted research methods, overview of the whole research process and attempts to deal with intractable problems. The final selection of papers was agreed both the editor of the Journal and the editors of the conference proceedings, Joseph Azzopardi and Frank Bezzina. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for this issue of the EJBRM.

The quality of the papers was particularly high and the selection of those papers for the Journal presented a difficult choice. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research and to represent the four major themes of the conference.

The papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. The papers proposed a number on new and unusual methods, including Psychogeography ( Knowles) and webometrics (Romero‑Frias). Both of these papers focused on explaining the technique and its appropriateness to business research. Techniques dealt with in previous issues were also well represented including mixed methods (Ryan); Grounded Theory (Noel & Kamyangale); REP Grid (Klaus). Several papers offered some valuable insights into key steps of the research process including audit trail (Carcary) and data collection problems and interpretation ( Iacono, Brown and Holtham; Rasmussen, and Heiko; Heiro and Reetta). The paper by Brooke and Parker introduced a new dimension (spirituality) to the philosophy of business research. One paper offered an intriguing review of leadership research (Mortimer).


Keywords: brand identity, brand personality, business intelligence, business management, business survey, critical management, essential self, fact-based, feminist research methods, focus groups, Foucault, grounded theory, health care professionals, higher education, information systems, information technology, internet studies, interpretivist paradigm, interview, leadership theory, London, longitudinal case work, luxury brand, meaning and work, methodology, multicultural data collection, nonresponse, organisations, organisations audit trail, organizational culture, participant observation, philosophy, Protestant Ethic, psychogeography, qualitative data, qualitative online research, qualitative research, qualitative research methods, regional development, religion, Repertory Grid Method, research confirmability, trustworthiness, research design, research methods , research strategies, safety in the field, self-selection, SMEs, spirituality, steel trading case, transferability, Web 2.0, Web minin


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