Brand Gender and Its Influence on Loyalty

By Emily Klein

When you think of a brand, does it have a certain personality? How about a certain gender? The answer to this is almost certainly yes.

(Photo from Unsplash – Pawel Czerwinski)

Customers make perceptions based on a brand’s attributes, history, and values. All these qualities can add up to represent the brand in a certain manner, whether masculine or feminine. Brand gender is the masculine and feminine personality traits that are both appropriate and applicable to brands.  Most brands are interpreted as either masculine or feminine by their consumers. Research studies have revealed that brand gender, a key aspect of brand personality, might influence customer responses to brands. Mixed-target brands with strong gender identities, whether feminine or masculine, struggle to reach both men and women, especially in symbolic product categories (Azar, Aimé, & Ulrich, 2018).

Brand Gender v.s Brand Sex

Brands are divided into two distinct and universal dimensions, masculine brand personality traits and feminine brand personality traits. Brand gender must be separated from brand sex. Brand sex is a demographic attribute that refers to the human sex-linked to a brand, seeing a brand as a man or a woman. Brand gender is a collection of behavioral qualities that can be described as a collection of human personality attributes associated with masculinity and femininity that are applicable and relevant to brands. For example, Dr. Squatch is a hygiene brand that is seen as a mal when referring to brand gender. They market mainly towards men and use advertisements that are adventurous, aggressive, brave, daring, dominant, and sturdy. However, Dove is seen as a feminine brand even though they sell products for both men and women. Dove uses advertisements that are fragile, graceful, sensitive, sweet, and tender.

(Photo from Unsplash – Tim Mossholder)

Gender and Brand Loyalty

Customers’ gender identities are often created, enhanced, or realized through the brands they select, according to research, and brand gender has a positive impact on consumers’ affective, cognitive, and behavioral responses to brands. According to a previous study, brand personality has a substantial impact on affective responses to brands and encourages emotional commitment to them (Vacas de Carvalho, Azar, & Machado, 2020). There is proof that a clear gender positioning of a brand has a direct effect on brand love and explains the brand effect, preference, and loyalty. A recent study from Science Direct showed that women are more likely to buy from an unknown brand than men.  

Gender and Loyalty on Social Media

Both a more favorable view about a brand and recurring patronage are examples of loyalty. Consumers’ feelings, preferences, and dedication to a brand are referred to as attitudinal loyalty. Customer loyalty on social media is very important as it is a huge marketing factor for businesses. Potential customers are more likely to trust other customers’ testimonials rather than a paid advertisement by the brand. The previous study has demonstrated that brand gender, a key aspect of brand personality, might influence consumer–brand responses, regarding social media. Companies have been pouring more time and money into social media, particularly Facebook, in recent years in order to build stronger relationships with customers and influence relevant behavioral outcomes (Vacas de Carvalho, Azar, & Machado, 2020). However, the topic of how social media brand strategies might help consumers create and strengthen crucial responses, including brand loyalty, is continuously being explored. This study was meant to explore this further and see if brand gender had an impact on loyalty in general and on social media.

The Study

Following the research, it was discovered that feminine brand personality qualities had no significant impact on social media contribution. Consumer contributions to brand-related content on social media were significantly influenced by just male brand personality attributes (Vacas de Carvalho, Azar, & Machado, 2020). As a result, just one dimension of brand gender, namely masculine brand personality qualities, was found to have an impact on consumers’ contributions to brand-related material. This method has a detrimental influence on customer perceptions of master brands, with a greater negative impact on feminine master brands than masculine master brands (Azar, Aimé, & Ulrich, 2018). This is important to know because it can help brands to portray themselves as masculine in order to increase brand loyalty.

Why it Matters

Before you start a brand, you may want to consider a few things. What will be your colors? Do you have a symbol? How will you market yourself? These elements may seem simple but all of them will associate your brand with a certain gender. All these points can be wrapped into the idea that consumers often perceive brands as a certain gender. This can be important to remember as you enter the professional world, particularly in regard to advertising decisions. This study can help you know how to appeal to their target market and what gender characteristics their consumers would like to see.

Resources

Azar, S., Aimé, I., & Ulrich, I. (2018, May 30). Brand gender-bending: The impact of an endorsed

brand strategy on consumers’ evaluation of gendered mixed-target brands. Retrieved February 07, 2022, from https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/EJM-04-2017-0278/full/html

Vacas de Carvalho, L., Azar, S. L., & Machado, J. C. (2020). Bridging the gap between brand

gender and brand loyalty on social media: Exploring the mediating effects. Journal of Marketing Management, 36(11-12), 1125-1152. doi:10.1080/0267257x.2020.1740293