Science Journal of Business and Management
Volume 3, Issue 2-1, March 2015, Pages: 11-23

Relationship between Purchase Intentions for Luxury Brands and Customer Experience: Second Report - Comparative Verification Based on the Big Five Personality Traits

Kazutoshi Fujiwara1, 2, Shin’ya Nagasawa1

1Graduate School of Commerce, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

2International Operations Division, Kikkoman Corporation, Tokyo, Japan

Email address:

(Kazutoshi Fujiwara)
(Shin’ya Nagasawa)

To cite this article:

Kazutoshi Fujiwara, Shin’ya Nagasawa. Relationship between Purchase Intentions for Luxury Brands and Customer Experience: Second Report - Comparative Verification Based on the Big Five Personality Traits. Science Journal of Business and Management. Special Issue: Customer Experience Management / Marketing Branding. Vol. 3, No. 2-1, 2015, pp. 11-23. doi: 10.11648/j.sjbm.s.2015030201.12


Abstract: Schmitt [1] called the benefits of emotions that make consumers of particular products want to have an active connection with other consumers or voluntarily recommend the brand to others as the customer experience of Relate (hereinafter referred to as Relate). Fujiwara and Nagasawa [2] demonstrated, through an empirical study, that providing Relate is the key for luxury brands to set themselves apart from the mass brands. This paper is a follow-up report on that study. By adding a new focal point, namely consumer heterogeneity (differences in personality traits), this paper makes an attempt to provide empirically validated evidence on the effect that personality differences have on how consumers react to Relate. In the study, personality traits were classified based on the Big Five personality traits [Note 1], and multiple regression analyses were performed. The results suggested that providing Relate, when carrying out luxury brand strategies, is particularly effective for people with low levels of extraversion, high levels of conscientiousness, and low levels of neuroticism.

Keywords: Luxury Brand, Customer Experience, Big Five Personality Traits


1. Introduction

In recent years, GODIVA, the Belgian luxury brand, has enjoyed growing success in Japan [3] [Note 2]. Luxury brand strategies to begin with can be applied to a broad range of product categories. However, much of the previous studies on luxury brands placed an overemphasis on the product categories of clothing, leather products, and cars. Therefore, in general, it seems that few people realize that luxury brand strategies can be applied to brands in the food category such as GODIVA.

Fujiwara and Nagasawa [2] examined this issue and used the concept of the five types of customer experience [Note 3], which was proposed by Schmitt [1], to perform a comparative analysis by using a multiple regression analysis on the effect that customer experience has on purchase intentions for four subject brands: GODIVA, Meiji, Ferrari, and Toyota. This made it possible to perform comparative analyses between product categories (food and cars) and brand ranks (luxury brands and mass brands). The results showed that luxury brand strategies can be applied to the category of food, just as they can be applied to cars, and suggested the following:

1)  Providing customers with satisfaction through the five senses and positive feelings by taking advantage of advertisements, products, and store designs is something a brand must achieve at the very least, regardless of brand ranks, for the product categories of food and cars, and providing this value alone will not be enough for luxury brands to distinguish themselves from mass brands.

2)  Both food and car luxury brands make an attempt to distinguish themselves from mass brands by producing emotions that will make consumers want to have an active connection with other consumers or voluntarily recommend the brand to others.

3)  Although it cannot be disputed that during the 19th century, conspicuousness may have been a motive for the consumption of luxury brands, which is a claim that famous researchers made, that notion does not necessarily apply today.

By producing such results, particularly 2), the study demonstrated empirically that strategies for luxury brands can be applied to the category of food, just as they can be applied to cars. However, the study lacks an important focal point: "consumer heterogeneity." Heterogeneity, as it is used in this paper, refers to personality differences between individual consumers. This means, in other words, that not all consumers value Relate equally, and that consumers react to Relate in different ways, depending on their personalities.

Miura [4] performed empirical analyses by focusing on factors which have made Japan into a major consumer of luxury brands from the perspective of heterogeneity and pointed out the effect of factors such as "the strong tendency of Japanese people towards group conformity" and "the lack of awareness of social norms." Therefore, this paper, by adding a new focal point, namely consumer heterogeneity, to the themes that were discussed in the first report, will demonstrate through empirical analyses, the types (personalities) of consumers for whom providing Relate, which is vital for luxury brands, is effective.

As for the classification of personality traits, the Big Five personality traits, which have received much attention in recent years, have been used. This model explains personality traits using five factors, namely extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. The model will be explained in detail in Section 4-3 of this paper.

2. Previous Studies

One example of pioneering research on luxury brands is Veblen [5]’s Theory of The Leisure Class. In the book, Veblen made the claim that the consumption of luxury brands was attributable to conspicuousness. Since that time, conspicuousness has long been believed to be a typical motive for the consumption of luxury brands. After that, many scholars have presented various motives for the consumption of luxury brands. In the modern era, Vigneron and Johnson [6] presented many motives including conspicuousness, as shown in Table 1.

Motives for the consumption of luxury brands are a reflection of the times and will undergo changes. At the time Veblen [5] made his claim about conspicuousness, luxury brands were exclusive products made for select groups of people in the wealthy class. However, luxury brands have undergone changes along with the times, as is apparent from the modern expression "the popularization of luxury products." It is possible that the results of the empirical study which Fujiwara and Nagasawa [2] conducted for the first report, which suggested that conspicuousness is not necessarily a motive for consumption for luxury brands in particular, are attributable to the changing times.

 

Table 1. Consumption Motives for Luxury Brands

VALUE MOTIVATIONS
Conspicuous Veblenian
Unique Snob
Social Bandwagon
Emotional Hedonist
Quality Perfectionist

Source: Vigneron and Johnson [6]

3. Problem Areas with Previous Studies and the Objectives of this Paper

As mentioned earlier, the first report (Fujiwara and Nagasawa [2]) examined GODIVA, Meiji, Ferrari, and Toyota, which are shown in Table 2, and demonstrated which of the five types of customer experience lead to the development of purchase intentions for each brand by using a multiple regression analysis. The results suggested the possibility that GODIVA, just as Ferrari, has set itself apart from mass brands (Meiji and Toyota) by providing Relate experience to enhance purchase intentions.

This does not mean, however, that brands will be able to enhance the purchase intentions of every consumer towards luxury brands by providing Relate. Therefore, in order to make the study more exhaustive than the first report, the effect that consumer heterogeneity has on how consumers react to Relate must be examined. This paper will clarify the differences in the effect that Relate has on purchase intentions for four subject brands by classifying the personality traits of the questionnaire participants based on the aforementioned Big Five personality traits.

Table 2. Brand Rankings of the 4 Subject Brands

  Brand Rank
Luxury Mass
Product Category Food GODIVA MEIJI
Car FERRARI TOYOTA

4. Validation Methods

4.1. Selection of Study Participants

Since this is a study on luxury brands, having consumers with certain amount of wealth comment on the brands would be the ideal method. For this reason, a questionnaire was conducted targeting households with an income of 10 million yen or more or assets of 50 million yen (financial assets and real estate). Furthermore, in order to make the results as accurate as possible, all answers of participants that fit the following description were ruled out: answers answered in less time than the average amount of time it took for the participants of the questionnaire to answer them, answers in which 90% or more of the answer choices were the same, and answers with wrong choices for trick questions [Note 4]. In the end, 500 sample questionnaires which met all of the criteria (250 males and 250 females) were collected and analyzed. . An overview of the surveys is shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Survey Overview

Research Agency Rakuten Research, Inc.
Research Method Internet
Delivery Destination Japan
Date From 8th August to 21 August, 2014
Age People in their thirties and forties
Essential Requisite Household Income is more than 10 million yen or household assets(financial assets and real estate) is more than 50 million yen
Elimination Condition The people who - choosed the same choices at more than 90% questions - finished the survey less than 50% speed than average speed. - choosed incorrect answer at trap questions.
All Mail Sender 5,623samples(men3,029、women2,594)
Finally Collected Samples 500samples(men250、women250)

4.2. Selection of Subject Brands

In this paper, the four brands shown in Table 2 will be examined, just as we did in the first report. This makes it possible to perform comparative analyses between product categories (food and cars) and brand ranks (luxury brands and mass brands). As for our selection criteria, please refer to Fujiwara and Nagasawa [2].

4.3. The Big Five Personality Traits

As for the classification of personality traits, the Big Five personality traits will be used. The Big Five personality traits is a theory that has organized the various constructs on personality traits which have been used in the past into a framework consisting of five factors, namely extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience [9] [Note 5]. This theory was developed by devising categories of adjectives that described personalities. Multiple studies conducted around the globe have confirmed repeatedly through factor analyses that personalities can be narrowed down to the five aforementioned factors. Furthermore, there are studies which demonstrate that the correlation coefficient between the results of measurements for these five factors and actual human behavior is as high as 0.6 to 0.7 [10]. For these reasons, the Big Five personality traits can be described as a highly credible method for classifying personality traits.

4.3.1. Definition of Personality

Before starting the analyses, the term seikaku as it is used in this paper, must be defined. The reason for this is because there has been confusion over the definition of the term within the Japanese Psychological Association [7].

In response to a particular claim, while some have become furious, others have laughed it off. People respond to stimulation in different ways. Nettle [9] calls this "variations in thresholds for evoking psychological mechanisms." Generally accepted Japanese terms for describing such individual differences, aside from seikaku, include jinkaku, pa-so-na-ri-ti (loan word deriving from the English word "personality"), and kya-ra-ku-ta (loan word deriving from the English word "character"). As for the etymology of the terms, personality originally meant "a collection of personal traits" and character meant "a person’s characteristics or reputation." In dictionaries, personality is translated as jinkaku and character is translated as seikaku. However, the terms have been translated the other way around since the Meiji era to the modern day [7]. This is the confusion that has developed in Japan over the definition of the term seikaku.

In light of this, in this paper, the two terms are treated as synonyms and the single term of seikaku will be used to refer to internal factors which determine differences in people’s response to stimulation.

4.3.2. The Japanese Big Five Scale

On the Big Five personality traits, Murakami [10] states that the theory "pushed studies on personality, which in the past had been limited to philosophy and literature, into the field of science." Nettle [9] has also remarked that "of the frameworks that have been developed to date, the Big Five is the most comprehensive, credible, and useful."

There are a variety of scales for measuring the Big Five. Some main examples include: the NEO-PI-R (240 questions), which was developed by Costa & McCrea [11]; the NEO-FFI (60 questions), a shortened version of the NEO-PI-R; the FFPQ (150 questions), which was developed by the study group of the FFPQ consisting of members such as Heijiro Tsuji [12]; the FFPQ-50 (50 questions), a shorted version of the FFPQ developed by Fujishima, Yamada, & Tsuji [13]; and the Big Five personality inventory (70 questions), which was developed by Murakami & Murakami [14] [Note 6]. All of these are questionnaires with many questions, and are by no means sufficient in terms of practicality.

Under such circumstances, Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann [15] developed the English version of the Ten-Item Personality Inventory (hereinafter referred to as TIPI), which measures personality traits based on 10 questions. After that, foreign language versions of the inventory such as German [16] and Dutch [17] were developed. In 2013, the Japanese version of the TIPI (hereinafter referred to as TIPI-J) was developed by Oshio, Abe, & Pino [8].

4.3.3. Classification of Personality Traits by using the TIPI-J

This paper utilizes the TIPI-J, which was developed by Oshio, Abe, & Pino [8] as a scale for measuring the Big Five factors. The three conducted multiple surveys targeting 902 subjects. Table 4 shows that the TIPI-J is on a sufficient scale in terms of credibility.

The questions were to be answered on a scale of 1 (I strongly disagree) to 7 (I strongly agree). After reverse scoring the questions, the scores for each factor were added up and the totals were divided into the upper 25% and the lower 25% by using quartiles [Note 7].  Then, the two groups were assigned as the high and low quartiles. The results of the surveys are shown in Figure 1. The high quartiles for each factor are shown as horizontal-striped bars and the low quartiles are shown as vertical-striped bars.

Table 4. TIPI-J

Big Five Factors Question Order Questionnaire Item (Reverse Scoring : Q6-10) I see myself as:
Extraversion 1 Extraverted, enthusiastic.
6 Reserved, quiet.
Agreeableness 2 Critical, quarrelsome.
7 Sympathetic, warm.
Conscientiousness 3 Dependable, self-disciplined.
8 Disorganized, careless.
Neuroticism 4 Anxious, easily upset.
9 Calm, emotionally stable.
Openness to Experience 5 Open to new experiences, complex.
10 Conventional, uncreative.

Source: OshioAbePino [8]

Figure 1. Score Distribution for each Big Five Factor based on TIPI-J

4.4. Measurements using the Strategic Experiential Module

Factors which contribute to the success of luxury brands cannot be discussed by looking only at the functions and benefits of products and services, which are emphasized in traditional marketing strategies. Positive emotions, such as inspiration and excitement that consumers experience by using the products or services must be considered. Schmitt [1] refers to such emotions as customer experience, and presents the Strategic Experiential Module (hereinafter referred to as SEM), which can be utilized in marketing activities. SEMs categorize the components of customer experience into five types: Sense, Feel, Think, Act, and Relate.

In this paper, a questionnaire form shown in Table 5 which was created in the first report based on Schmitt [1]’s SEM to measure experiences, will be used. The letter "X" in the questionnaire items shown in Table 5 will be replaced with GODIVA chocolates, Meiji chocolates, Ferrari cars, and Toyota cars. The questions are to be answered on a scale of 1 (I strongly disagree) to 7 (I strongly agree).

Table 5. Questionnaire Form for Measuring SEM

Customer Experience Questionnaire Item
SENSE Q1 I think X looks good
Q2 I think X makes me feel good through my own five sense
Q3 I think X makes me feel excited through my own five sense
FEEL Q4 I feel warmth in X
Q5 I feel the excitement in the X
Q6 I feel pleasure in X
THINK Q7 X has the history
Q8 X piques my intellectual curiosity
Q9 X has provocative implications
ACT Q10 I want to join the event for new products of X
Q11 If I join the event for new products of X, I want to say somebody about that
Q12 X can change my lifestyle
RELATE Q13 I want to join the fan club of X, and interact with the members
Q14 I want to present X to somebody
Q15 I want to take the lead in recommending X to somebody

4.5. The Multiple Regression Model Equation

Questions will be asked on the purchase intentions (hereinafter referred to as PI) of four subject brands on a scale of 1 (I strongly disagree) to 7 (I strongly agree). These will be the explained variables. Then, XS, XF, XT, XA, and XR in order will be assigned as synthetic variables-- the sum of each of the answers (3 categories each) for the five customer experience types of Sense, Feel, Think, Act, and Relate, which I obtained from the SEM measurement questionnaires shown in Table 5. These will be the explanatory variables. Next,  βS, βF, βT, βA, and βR in order will be assigned as standard partial regression coefficients for the explanatory variables. Assuming that β0 is the constant term, the following multiple regression model equation will result. A multiple regression analysis will be performed by using the following formula(1).

PI = βSXS + βFXF + βTXT + βAXA + βRXR + β0  (1)

5. Hypothesis

In this chapter, inferences will be made on the effect that consumer heterogeneity has on how consumers react to Relate, and hypotheses will be formed on the effect that Relate will have on the purchase intentions for four subject brands.

In constructing the hypotheses, based on the results of multiple regression analyses of customer experience (No Classification by Personality Traits) (Table 6) from the first report, if the standard partial regression coefficient βR shows a significant positive correlation, it will be determined that Relate has a direct positive effect on purchase intention for subject brands.

Table 6. Results of Multiple Regression Analysis on Customer Experience (No Classification by Personality Traits)

Brands Standard Partial Regression Coefficient Adjusted R2
βS βF βT βA βR
GODIVA .148** .404*** -.169** .036 .213*** .365***
MEIJI .247*** .296*** -.248*** .106 .112 .246***
FERRARI .160** .271*** -.047 .175** .212*** .469***
TOYOTA .298*** .325*** -.229*** .185** .088 .358***

5.1. Hypotheses on the Effect of Extraversion

The personality traits in the high and low quartiles for extraversion are shown in Table 7. Based on this data, hypotheses will be formed on the effect that Relate has on the purchase intentions of people with personality traits in the high and low quartiles for extraversion for four subject brands.

As stated in Table 7, people with personality traits in the high quartile for extraversion enjoy interacting with people. Therefore, it can be inferred that Relate, which involves interacting with people, will have a significant positive effect on purchase intention. For this reason, the regression coefficient βR, just as in Table 6 (No Classification by Personality Traits), should show a significant positive correlation for only GODIVA and Ferrari.

On the other hand, for the low quartile for extraversion, it is hard to imagine that Relate, which involves interacting with people (as described in Table 7), will have any significant positive effect on purchase intention. For this reason, it can be inferred that the regression coefficient βR will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

Thus, the following hypotheses (Hypotheses 1 and 2) should hold true.

Table 7. Personality Traits in the High and Low Quartiles for Extraversion

Big Five Factors Personality Traits
Extraversion High They are socially outgoing and enjoy forming relationships with people. They have a strong desire to be accepted by others. For this reason, their views and actions are influenced by social factors. Although good at forming friendly relationships with many people, the relationships are superficial and not deep.
Low They are shy introverts and have poor social skills. For this reason, they become concerned about interpersonal relationships and tend to avoid them. They tend to be withdrawn and have trouble fitting in. They also tend to be moody, unconfident, always worried, and neurotic.

Source: MurakamiMurakami [7]

[Hypothesis 1]For the high quartile for extraversion, Relate will have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for GODIVA and Ferrari only.

[Hypothesis 2]For the low quartile for extraversion, Relate will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

5.2. Hypotheses on the Effect of Agreeableness

The personality traits in the high and low quartiles for agreeableness are shown in Table 8. Based on the data, hypotheses will be formed on the effect that Relate has on the purchase intentions of people with personality traits in the high and low quartiles for agreeableness for four subject brands.

Table 8. Personality Traits in the High and Low Quartiles for Agreeableness

Big Five Factors Personality Traits
Agreeableness High They are kind and friendly towards everyone. They are understanding and compassionate, and will go through hurdles if it means helping others. They are willing to cooperate, even for things that were decided by other people. They are considerate from the bottom of their hearts. If they are around children or elderly people, they can't help but look after them. They are honest and generous. Because they are so trusting of others, sometimes people take advantage of them.
Low They are selfish, stingy, unkind, inconsiderate, and cold.  They are skeptical of people, don't trust what people tell them, and are uncooperative. Therefore, they have difficulties working with other people. They are unforgiving, and will attack people mercilessly. Their tendency to be brutal and hostile stands out. Because they are self–righteous and stubborn, they tend to leave a bad impression on people.

Source: MurakamiMurakami [7]

As stated in Table 8, people with personality traits in the high quartile for agreeableness enjoy interacting with people. Therefore, it can be inferred that Relate, which involves interacting with people, will have a significant positive effect on purchase intention. For this reason, the regression coefficient βR, just as in Table 6 (No Classification by Personality Traits), should show a significant positive correlation for only GODIVA and Ferrari.

On the other hand, for the low quartile for agreeableness, it is hard to imagine that Relate, which involves interacting with people (as described in Table 8), will have any significant positive effect on purchase intention. For this reason, it can be inferred that the regression coefficient βR will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

Thus, the following hypotheses (Hypotheses 3 and 4) should

hold true.

[Hypothesis 3]For the high quartile for agreeableness, Relate will have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for GODIVA and Ferrari only.

[Hypothesis 4]For the low quartile for agreeableness, Relate will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

5.3. Hypotheses on the Effect of Conscientiousness

The personality traits in the high and low quartiles for conscientiousness are shown in Table 9. Based on this data, hypotheses will be formed on the effect that Relate has on the purchase intentions of people with personality traits in the high and low quartiles for conscientiousness for four subject brands.

Table 9. Personality Traits in the High and Low Quartiles for Conscientiousness

Big Five Factors Personality Traits
Conscientiousness High They approach everything energetically and thoroughly, planning everything in detail. They are responsible, diligent, and cautious, and have a sense of practicality. Because of that, they complete any tasks they are assigned quickly and precisely. They are econom- ical and well-organized, conscientious, and orderly. Because they are punctual, they may give people the impression that they are difficult to please.
Low They are lazy, impatient, and don't see things through to the end. They are irresponsible, change their mind all the time, not thorough, and get bored easily. Because they daydream and are careless, they make decisions or do things without putting much thought into them. If they want something, they can't resist the temptation. For that reason, they don't handle their money wisely, and spend too much of it.

Source: MurakamiMurakami [7]

As stated in Table 9, people with personality traits in the high quartile for conscientiousness conform to social norms. This personality trait can be thought of as having a correlation with group conformity. Furthermore, it can be inferred that a high level of group conformity has a significant correlation with an emphasis on interacting with others. Therefore, for the high quartile for conscientiousness, it can be inferred that Relate, which involves interacting with people, will have a significant positive effect on purchase intention. For this reason, the regression coefficient βR, just as in Table 6 (No Classification by Personality Traits), should show a significant positive correlation for only GODIVA and Ferrari.

On the other hand, as stated in Table 9, it is clear that people with personality traits in the low quartile for conscientiousness

are irresponsible and lazy. Therefore, it is hard to imagine that Relate, which involves interacting with people, will have any significant positive effect on purchase intention.

Furthermore, if a person in the high quartile for conscientiousness was found to have a high level of group conformity then those in the low quartile for conscientiousness can be described as having a low level of group conformity. In other words, it can be inferred that such individuals are self-reliant and do not place a high priority on interacting with people. For this reason, it can be inferred that the regression coefficient βR will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

Thus, the following hypotheses (Hypotheses 5 and 6) should hold true.

[Hypothesis 5]For the high quartile for conscientiousness, Relate will have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for GODIVA and Ferrari only.

[Hypothesis 6] For the low quartile for conscientiousness, Relate will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

5.4. Hypotheses on the Effect of Neuroticism

Table 10. Personality Traits in the High and Low Quartiles for Neuroticism

Big Five Factors Personality Traits
Neuroticism High They are neurotic, worry a lot, and are emotionally unstable. They are jittery, neurotic, restless, and unconfident. They are also extremely dissatisfied with their lives and their interpersonal relationships. They become so nervous that it has a negative impact on their professional and personal life. They are always irritated, grumpy, and emotional. They become jealous or envious when they see people who are successful.
Low They are gentle, calm, and emotionally stable. They are not troubled by problems or anxiety, are rational, and are full of confidence. They are generally competent and do things to with an aim to achieve success. They are able to work or live their lives with a relaxed attitude. They never become jealous or envious of other people.

Source: MurakamiMurakami [7]

The personality traits in the high and low quartiles for neuroticism are shown in Table 10. Based on this data, hypotheses will be formed on the effect that Relate has on the purchase intentions of people with personality traits in the high and low quartiles for neuroticism for four subject brands.

Since people with personality traits in the high quartile for neuroticism are neurotic (as the name indicates), it is hard to imagine that Relate, which involves interacting with people, will have any significant positive effect on purchase intention for this group. For this reason, it can be inferred that the regression coefficient βR will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

On the other hand, people with personality traits in the low quartile for neuroticism, as stated in Table 10, should have the breadth of mind to enjoy interacting with people. Therefore, it can be inferred that Relate, which involves interacting with people will have a significant positive effect on purchase intention. For this reason, the regression coefficient βR, just as in Table 6 (No Classification by Personality Traits), should show a significant positive correlation for only GODIVA and Ferrari. Thus, the following hypotheses (Hypotheses 7 and 8) should hold true.

[Hypothesis 7]For the high quartile for neuroticism, Relate will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

[Hypothesis 8]For the low quartile for neuroticism, Relate will have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for GODIVA and Ferrari only.

5.5. Hypotheses on the Effect of Openness to Experience

The personality traits in the high and low quartiles for openness to experience are shown in Table 11. Based on this data, hypotheses will be formed on the effect that Relate has on the purchase intentions of people with personality traits in the high and low quartiles for openness to experience.

Nettle [9] states that openness to experience is the most mysterious dimension of the Big Five factors. As stated in Table 11, it might be inferred at first glance that since people with this personality trait enjoy interacting with people, they desire Relate, which involves interacting with people. However, Nettle [9] points out that many of the people with a high level of openness to experience are poets or artists and tend to rebel against norms or social acceptance. Therefore, it can be inferred that because of this odd personality trait, people in the high quartile for openness to experience do not value Relate, which involves interacting with people. For this reason, it can be inferred that the regression coefficient βR will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

On the other hand, by looking at Table 11, it is difficult to identify the characteristics that involve interacting with people for people in the low quartile for openness to experience. For this reason, it was inferred, based on the notion of a "normal personality" which was presented by Johnson & Ostendorf [18], that the regression coefficient βR, just as in Table 6 (No Classification by Personality Traits), should show a significant positive correlation for only GODIVA and Ferrari.

Thus, the following hypotheses (Hypotheses 9 and 10) should hold true.

[Hypothesis 9]For the high quartile for openness to experience, Relate will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands.

[Hypothesis 10]For the low quartile for openness to experience, "Relate" will have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for GODIVA and Ferrari only.

Table 11. Personality Traits in the High and Low Quartiles for Openness to Experience

Big Five Factors Personality Traits
Openness to Experience High They are intelligent, thoughtful, and polite. They have a great deal of curiosity and are very knowledgeable. They accept things calmly in a matter of fact way, and think about things analytically. They enjoy fantasizing things, and are able to comprehend art or complex and abstract ideas. Because they are able to look into the future, they are able to handle everything calmly.
Low They are unintelligent, and not good thinkers. They choose methods that are easy, simple, and straight forward. They don't have a lot of curiosity, so their knowledge is limited. Because they are hard-headed and not very imaginative, they are unable to comprehend art. If they face a difficult problem, they quickly get confused.

Source: MurakamiMurakami [7]

6. Analyses of Results and Observations

In this chapter, we will present the results of the multiple regression analyses as well as the results of the hypothesis tests for each Big Five factor in order.

6.1. Observations on the Effect of Extraversion

The results did not support Hypothesis 1. For those in the high quartile for extraversion, it was determined that Relate, which involves interacting with people, just as in Table 6 (No Classification by Personality Traits), would enhance purchase intention for luxury brands GODIVA and Ferrari only. Therefore, it was inferred that the regression coefficient βR would show a significant positive correlation for those two brands. However, the results showed a significant positive correlation for only Toyota, a mass brand in the category of cars.

As for why regression coefficient βR, contrary to the hypothesis, did not show a significant positive correlation for GODIVA and Ferrari, it can be inferred that, as shown in Table 12 (Personality Traits of High Quartile for Extraversion), the relationships which people with personality traits in the high quartile for extraversion built were superficial and that they did not want to interact with people on a deeper level.

Furthermore, the regression coefficient βR, contrary to our hypothesis, showed a significant positive correlation for Toyota. It can be inferred that the reason for this was because the brand’s outgoing image was highly regarded by people with personality traits in the high quartile for extraversion (who have outgoing personalities), which had an effect on their desire for Relate, enhancing purchase intention.

The results also did not support Hypothesis 2. For the low quartile for extraversion, since people with personalities in the low quartile for extraversion are not good at communicating with other people, it was inferred that Relate would not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands. In the results, however, the regression coefficient βR, just as in Table 6 (No Classification by Personality Traits), showed a significant positive correlation for luxury brands GODIVA and Ferrari only.

A possible reason for this is that the type of communication that was examined in this study, as is apparent from questions 13 to 15 in Table 5 (Questionnaire Form for Measuring SEM), was between friends and acquaintances rather than in situations where the subjects had concerns about their inability to communicate.

Table 12. Results of Multiple Regression Analyses (High and Low quartiles for Extraversion)

  Brands Standard Partial Regression Coefficient Adjusted R2
βS βF βT βA βR
Low Group n=136 GODIVA .005 .559*** -.333** -.025 .297* .333***
MEIJI .114 .421** -.271* .121 .077 .187***
FERRARI .180 .328* -.124 .201 .232** .549***
TOYOTA .065 .501*** -.183 .280** -.032 .330***
High Group n=150 GODIVA .332** .357** -.119 -.081 .218 .459***
MEIJI .420*** .184 -.245* .008 .217 .333***
FERRARI .218* .255* -.060 .180 .178 .461***
TOYOTA .462*** .142 -.287** .183 .214* .417***

Note: Significance Level *p.05 **p.01***p.001

6.2. Observations on the Effect of Agreeableness

The results did not support Hypothesis 3. For those in the high quartile for agreeableness, it was determined that Relate, which involves interacting with people, just as in Table 6 (No Classification by Personality Traits), would enhance purchase intention for luxury brands GODIVA and Ferrari only. Therefore, it was inferred that the regression coefficient βR would show a significant positive correlation for those two brands. However, the results did not show a significant positive correlation for all subject brands.

Based on these results, it can be inferred that the tendency for people with personality traits in the high quartile for agreeableness to form friendly relationships with the people around them, as stated in Table 8 (Personality Traits of High Quartile for Agreeableness), is something that happens between friends and acquaintances or within corporate

 

Table 13. Results of Multiple Regression Analyses (High and Low Quartiles for Agreeableness)

  Brands Standard Partial Regression Coefficient Adjusted R2
βS βF βT βA βR
Low Group n=136 GODIVA .285** .319** -.136 -.008 .178 .339***
MEIJI .362*** .377** -.264* .056 -.017 .255***
FERRARI .201* .400** -.014 .108 .120 .531***
TOYOTA .497*** .105 -.115 .178 .049 .371***
High Group n=84 GODIVA .119 .639*** -.175 -.088 .253 .534***
MEIJI .238 .275 -.088 .234 .084 .375***
FERRARI .074 .114 .092 .229 .261 .422***
TOYOTA .259 .280 -.211 .118 .208 .299***

Note: Significance Level *p.05 **p.01***p.001

organizations, and does not necessarily apply when making purchases.

The results supported Hypothesis 4. They suggested that the desired response cannot be achieved from people with personality traits in the low quartile for agreeableness, who have cruel personalities, even if Relate is provided for them.

6.3. Observations on the Effect of Conscientiousness

The results supported Hypothesis 5. They suggested that high levels of conscientiousness and group conformity have a significant positive correlation and that, for people with personality traits in the high quartile for conscientiousness (who value being accepted by others),  Relate, which involves interacting with people, enhances purchase intention for GODIVA and Ferrari.

The results also supported Hypothesis 6. They suggested that, for the low quartile for conscientiousness, Relate does not enhance purchase intention for the reasons described in Hypotheses 5.

Table 14. Results of Multiple Regression Analyses (High and Low Quartiles for Conscientiousness)

  Brands Standard Partial Regression Coefficient Adjusted R2
βS βF βT βA βR
Low Group n=104 GODIVA .208 .541*** -.132 -.025 .005 .342***
MEIJI .152 .472*** -.354** .074 -.054 .168***
FERRARI .394** .268 -.029 .122 .003 .452***
TOYOTA .354** .389** -.191 .282** -.214* .332***
High Group n=157 GODIVA .071 .301** -.209* .086 .404*** .404***
MEIJI .283** .229* -.262* .153 .134 .256***
FERRARI .057 .309** -.214* .410*** .240** .568***
TOYOTA .277** .440*** -.402*** .300** .132 .504***

Note: Significance Level *p.05 **p.01***p.001

6.4. Observations on the Effect of Neuroticism

The results supported Hypothesis 7. They suggested that people with personality traits in the high quartile for neuroticism (who are constantly irritated) do not value Relate, which involves interacting with people. As a result, Relate is not a factor in enhancing purchase intention for this group.

The results also supported Hypothesis 8. They suggested that people with personality traits in the low quartile for neuroticism (who are gentle) value interpersonal relationships and are able to enjoy those relationships and therefore value Relate. Therefore, for this group, Relate is a factor in enhancing purchase intention for GODIVA and Ferrari.

Table 15. Results of Multiple Regression Analysis (High and Low Quartiles for Neuroticism)

  Brands Standard Partial Regression Coefficient Adjusted R2
βS βF βT βA βR
Low Group n=156 GODIVA .137 .371 -.286** .032 .376*** .438***
MEIJI .439*** .122 -.251* .245* .016 .296***
FERRARI .036 .350** -.180 .270** .266** .489***
TOYOTA .333*** .309** -.199* .329*** .000 .456***
High Group n=93 GODIVA .144 .440** .059 .082 -.055 .333***
MEIJI .181 .463** -.098 .103 -.173 .180***
FERRARI .076 .277 .225 .100 .056 .411***
TOYOTA .195 .225 .043 .164 .091 .351***

Note: Significance Level *p.05 **p.01***p.001

6.5. Observations on the Effect of Openness to Experience

The results supported Hypothesis 9. They suggested that, for people with personality traits in the high quartile for openness to experience (who are odd), Relate, which involves interacting with people, is not a factor in enhancing purchase intention.

The results partially supported Hypotheses 10. While the regression coefficient βR showed a significant positive correlation for Ferrari, there was no significant positive correlation for GODIVA. This indicates that the participants did not make a conscious effort to form relationships with other people because, as stated in Table 11 (Personality Traits in the High and Low Quartiles for Openness to Experience), they don’t have a lot of curiosity.  Therefore, it can be inferred that, while the regression coefficient βR showed a significant positive correlation for Ferrari, a luxury car brand (a high involvement category), there was no significant correlation for GODIVA, a luxury food brand (a low involvement category).

Table 16. Results of Multiple Regression Analyses (High and Low Quartiles for Openness to Experience)

  Brands Standard Partial Regression Coefficient Adjusted R2
βS βF βT βA βR
Low Group n=99 GODIVA .053 .460** -.217 -.047 .274 .299***
MEIJI .394** .120 -.208 .186 .045 .202***
FERRARI .231* .250 -.044 .134 .210* .427***
TOYOTA .314** .380** -.247* .147 .069 .345***
High Group n=137 GODIVA .114 .435*** -.195 .052 .209 .362***
MEIJI .163 .254* -.199 .207 .104 .223***
FERRARI .110 .273* .050 .192 .121 .418***
TOYOTA .441*** .217 -.383*** .299** .131 .415***

Note: Significance Level  *p.05 **p.01***p.001

7. Conclusion

In the first report, the results suggested that, Relate is the most important of the five types of customer experience for luxury brands. Therefore, this paper focused on Relate, and made an attempt to provide empirically validated evidence on the effect that personality traits have on how consumers react to Relate.

Just as in the first report, GODIVA, Meiji Ferrari, and Toyota were chosen as subject luxury brands for this study and comparative analyses were conducted between product categories (food and cars) and brand ranks (luxury brands and mass brands). The results of the hypothesis tests are shown in Table 17. The results suggest that people respond to Relate in different ways depending on their personalities and the effect that personality traits have on purchase intention vary. They also suggested that Relate marketing is effective in enhancing purchase intention for luxury brands, particularly for people with personality traits in the low quartile for extraversion, high quartile for conscientiousness, and the low quartile for neuroticism.

Table 17. Results of Hypothesis Tests

Big Five Factors Hypotheses Verification Results
Extraversion H1 Among the high extraversion group,"RELATE" will have a direct positive effect on purchase intentions for GODIVA and Ferrari only. Does not support hypothesis
H2 Among the low extraversion group,"RELATE" will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands. Does not support hypothesis
Agreeableness H3 Among the high agreeableness group,"RELATE" will have a direct positive effect on purchase intentions for GODIVA and Ferrari only. Does not support hypothesis
H4 Among the low agreeableness group,"RELATE" will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands. Supports hypothesis
Conscientiousness H5 Among the high conscientiousness group,"RELATE" will have a direct positive effect on purchase intentions for GODIVA and Ferrari only. Supports hypothesis
H6 Among the low conscientiousness group,"RELATE" will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands. Supports hypothesis
Neuroticism H7 Among the high neuroticism group,"RELATE" will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands. Supports hypothesis
H8 Among the low neuroticism group,"RELATE" will have a direct positive effect on purchase intentions for GODIVA and Ferrari only. Supports hypothesis
Openness to Experience H9 Among the high openness to experience group,"RELATE" will not have a direct positive effect on purchase intention for all subject brands. Supports hypothesis
H10 Among the low openness to experience group,"RELATE" will have a direct positive effect on purchase intentions for GODIVA and Ferrari only. Partially supports hypothesis

7.1. Application to Business Practices

The results of this study, along with previous studies on personality traits and national character, can be applied to business practices. They also suggested that luxury brand strategies which place an emphasis on Relate are effective for the category of food, just as they are for cars. However, this does not mean, that identical methods for providing Relate should be used for both categories. This section will clarify these points.

7.1.1. Application of Previous Studies

Shimonaka [19], by conducting a generational comparison on age groups between 18 and 87, demonstrated that, as people grow older, their levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness will increase and that their levels of extraversion and neuroticism will decrease. The study of this paper also demonstrated that providing Relate will enhance purchase intentions for luxury brands - particularly for people with personality traits in the low quartile for extraversion, the high quartile for conscientiousness, and the low quartile for neuroticism. By combining the findings of these two studies, the following conclusion can be drawn: Relate marketing becomes even more important when developing luxury brand strategies in Japan, where the population has begun to age in full force (increase of people with personality traits in the low quartile for extraversion, high quartile for conscientiousness, and low quartile for neuroticism).

As for the global expansion of luxury brands, the results of this study, along with the results of the study conducted by Hofstede et al. [20] on national character, can be applied to business practices. Hofstede et al. [20] developed numerical values for national character for over 50 countries by using six factors called Hofstede’s index, which is shown on Table 18. These six factors do not correspond with the Big Five factors directly. However, it can be inferred that conscientiousness in the Big Five factors (Table 9), for instance, roughly corresponds with Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) in Hofstede’s index. In Hofstede’s study [22], Japanese people are ranked 10th out of 65 countries in Uncertainty Avoidance. In other words, the following conclusion can be drawn: Japanese people, compared with people from other countries, have a high tendency to avoid uncertainty (conscientiousness), making Relate a particularly important customer experience for them. In contrast, countries with low levels of Uncertainty Avoidance (conscientiousness) include Singapore, Denmark, Sweden, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, and the U.K. [22]. In can be pointed out that, when carrying out luxury brand strategies in these countries, even if a brand pours all their managerial resources into providing Relate, such efforts would not be as effective as they would be in Japan.

In addition to aforementioned studies by Shimonaka [19] and Hofstede et al. [20], many studies have been conducted on personality traits or national character. Combining the results of such studies with the results of this study will create even more possibilities for business application.

Table 18. Hofstede’s Index

1 Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV)
2 Power Distance(PDI)
3 Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)
4 Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)
5 Long-term versus Short-term Orientation(LTO)
6 Indulgence versus Restraint(IND)

Source: The author used Hofstede et al.20 and Furukawa21 as a reference

7.1.2. Luxury Brand Strategies for each Product Category

As explained in the introduction, Relate refers to the benefits of producing emotions that will make consumers of particular products want to have an active connection with other consumers or voluntarily recommend the brand to others. "Having an active connection with other consumers," in this context, means wanting to choose GODIVA when purchasing gifts (forming relationships with other people by making purchases) or wanting to join the Ferrari Owners Club (forming relationships with other people through a community). Generally speaking, joining an owner’s club for food products or purchasing cars as gifts are not things that make a lot of sense. It goes without saying that business strategists must recognize the differences in how Relate needs to be provided for each product category.

One way of taking advantage of the findings of this study to come up with strategies for luxury food products would be to emulate the brands that have earned the most customer loyalty. In the case of GODIVA, as of 2006, roughly 75% of the company’s sales were from gift purchases [23]. After that, in an attempt to increase sales for personal purchases, the company began selling more chocolate beverages at their shops and also began selling ice cream at convenience stores. This can be described as an ideal strategy in which the brand made an attempt to increase sales by developing products designed for personal purchases after gaining its status as a luxury food brand by earning customer loyalty as a gift item supplier. In other words, it took advantage of the brand strength they developed as a gift item supplier to increase sales resulting from personal purchases.

For luxury car brands on the other hand, the approach of actively carrying out promotional activities for arousing customer interest in joining communities (e.g. owners’ clubs) or pouring its managerial resources into operating such groups is recommended. In addition to the Ferrari’s owners’ club, which was examined in this paper, The Harley Owners Group of Harley-Davidson is another well-known community. Such groups are operated by the companies themselves and it appears that they recognize the importance of the owners’ clubs. Communication-oriented strategies that are designed to produce fans - who can be described as followers - through such communities are extremely important. A summary of the characteristics of luxury brand strategies for each product category that has been presented here can be found in Table 19.

Table 19. Common and Unique Features of Luxury Brand Strategies

Product Category Common Features Unique Features
Luxury Food Importance of Creating "RELATE" Importance of Getting Support as Gifts
Luxury Car Importance of Operating Communities

7.2. Contributions

The previous section presented application methods for selecting luxury brand marketing strategies when developing products that are appropriate for Japan’s aging society as well as global expansion. Improving products so that they are appropriate for the elderly or adjusting the specifications to suit the tastes of people in different countries are not unusual approaches. Examples of this in Japan include the development of mobile phones for seniors, which are equipped with a feature for checking on the safety of the elderly [24] and product improvements made by Unilever and Coca-Cola based on consumer needs in different countries [25]. In considering such examples, it would not be an overstatement to say that making such changes is something a brand must do at the very least.

Such changes, however, are necessary not only for such product specifications, but for marketing strategies as well. The ineffectiveness of marketing strategies (which worked in Japan) in other countries is something the writers of this paper have experienced firsthand. However, making changes to marketing strategies is more difficult than changing product specifications. This is because conducting studies on optimum marketing strategies is more difficult than conducting studies on product specifications, in which consumer needs can be analyzed to a certain degree through consumer surveys. What then are the types of change that are necessary for marketing strategies? This paper offers significant practical contributions in answering that question.

7.3. Future Challenges

There are three issues that need to be resolved. The first issue is the methods used for classifying personality traits. In this paper, the results were analyzed after coming up with ten classification groups after dividing the five dimensions of personality traits based on the Big Five personality traits into two groups: the high quartile and the low quartile. However, people’s personalities are a result of a complex combination of the five dimensions of personality traits [9]. If these dimensions are each divided into 13 levels (2 to 14 points), as was the case for the TIPI-J, the scale that was used for this paper (Figure 1), those personalities would be subdivided into as many as 371,293 (135) detailed personalities. Classifying personality traits to this extent may be difficult. However, in order to make the study more exhaustive, the results must again be analyzed after creating more detailed groups of personality traits.

The second issue is the selection of subject brands. In this paper, GODIVA, Meiji, Ferrari and Toyota were selected in order to identify the differences between product categories and brand ranks. However, these four brands do not necessarily represent their own respective product categories or brand ranks. For instance, it cannot be disputed that the study may have produced different results if Rolls-Royce or Porsche were examined as luxury car brands. In order to explore this issue, several brands within the same product category or brand rank must be examined and comparative analyses must be performed on those brands.

The third issue is the selection of the types of customer experience to examine in the study. Based on the results of the first report, this paper focused exclusively on Relate for the analyses. This does not mean, however, that the other types of customer experience have no effect whatsoever on purchase intention for luxury brands. Therefore, the other four types of customer experience must be examined in the hypothesis tests that were conducted in this study. These three issues must be resolved in the future.

Note

1.   Please refer to section 4-3 for details. Terasaki [11]'s translation.

2.   As for the definition of luxury for this paper, the definition presented by Fujiwara and Nagasawa [2] in the first report was used.

3.   Please refer to Fujiwara and Nagasawa [2] for details.

4.   Trick questions were added to the questionnaires such as: "Please choose ‘1. I strongly disagree’ for this question" or "Please choose ‘7. I strongly agree’ for this question."

5.   There are no universally accepted terms for the Big Five factors (both in English and Japanese) [7]. Since the TIPI-J scale was used in this study, the terms used by Oshio, Abe, & Pino [8], who developed the scale, are used in this paper.

6.   The figures inside the parentheses indicate the number of questions in the questionnaires for each scale.

7.   To ensure that the percentages do not necessarily end up being exactly 25%, the totals were divided so the percentages would be rounded to the nearest figures.


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