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Seeing what you get: A comparison of newspapers’ visual brand personalities and consumer perceptions
Unformatted Document Text:  what a company sells, does and is. Brands, like people, have personalities. According to J. Aaker (1997), a brand personality is “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand” (p. 347). Consumers regularly assign personalities through demographic, psychographic and personality traits (D. Aaker, 1996; Ramaseshan & Tsao, 2007). Providing researchers with the first formal means of measuring brand personality, J. Aaker’s (1997) Brand Personality Scale lists the Big Five Brand Personality Traits as sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. Design also plays a large role in establishing a strong brand. A newspaper’s brand includes its look, size, shape, color, typography, nameplate, etc. (Arnold, 1981; Frost, 2003; Rehe, 1985). Design details, such as type and color, influence how readers view a newspaper (Frost, 2003). Subtle design changes also help create and reinforce a newspaper’s image and personality. Because newspapers must be instantly recognizable, page designs must be familiar, but not boring. Developing a basic look reminds readers of “all the good things that the last issue brought and promises more of the same with the current issue” (Arnold, 1981, p. 179). Most strong brands have powerful visual components (Biel, 1993). According to Biel, “the unique symbols long associated with many brands – especially strong brands – are automatically accessed from memory as soon as the brand is shown” (p. 73). The nameplate is the most often used identification or branding mark for a newspaper. This study will use the term nameplate to refer to the paper’s name as it appears at the top of a printed newspaper’s front page (Harower, 1991). As a 3

Authors: Jewett, Adriane. and Reinardy, Scott.
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what a company sells, does and is. 
Brands, like people, have personalities.  According to J. Aaker (1997), a brand 
personality is “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand” (p. 347). 
Consumers regularly assign personalities through demographic, psychographic and 
personality traits (D. Aaker, 1996; Ramaseshan & Tsao, 2007). 
Providing researchers with the first formal means of measuring brand 
personality, J. Aaker’s (1997) Brand Personality Scale lists the Big Five Brand 
Personality Traits as sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. 
 Design also plays a large role in establishing a strong brand.  A newspaper’s 
brand includes its look, size, shape, color, typography, nameplate, etc. (Arnold, 1981; 
Frost, 2003; Rehe, 1985).  Design details, such as type and color, influence how 
readers view a newspaper (Frost, 2003).  Subtle design changes also help create and 
reinforce a newspaper’s image and personality.  Because newspapers must be 
instantly recognizable, page designs must be familiar, but not boring.  Developing a 
basic look reminds readers of “all the good things that the last issue brought and 
promises more of the same with the current issue” (Arnold, 1981, p. 179).
Most strong brands have powerful visual components (Biel, 1993).  According 
to Biel, “the unique symbols long associated with many brands – especially strong 
brands – are automatically accessed from memory as soon as the brand is shown” (p. 
73).   The nameplate is the most often used identification or branding mark for a 
newspaper.  This study will use the term nameplate to refer to the paper’s name as it 
appears at the top of a printed newspaper’s front page (Harower, 1991). As a 

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