Purpose: This study aims to explore whether fabric contents, specifically cotton and polyester, possess particular personality dimensions, as posited by Aaker (1997). The author examined both explicit (conscious, deliberate) and implicit (unconscious, automatic) perceptions of brand personality traits of cotton and polyester. Design/methodology/approach: The convenience sample of this study included 51 students from different merchandising classes in a Midwestern university. Participants were first directed to the multidimensional implicit association test (md-IAT) and their implicit perceptions were measured for the content of the two fabrics (cotton and polyester) on five different personality attribute dimensions (sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness). After the IAT, participants completed the post-IAT survey, including explicit measures of brand personality attributes of cotton and polyester. Findings: The findings of this study show that fabric contents can be successfully described and differentiated by Aaker’s brand personality dimensions. Compared with polyester, the distinctive brand personality of cotton was the favorable association between cotton and sincerity. This association was significantly higher than all other personality dimensions in both consumers’ implicit and explicit perceptions. Neither cotton nor polyester was significantly associated with the exciting, competent and sophisticated personality dimensions. Originality/value: A unique contribution of this study is that it examines implicit perceptions of the brand personality traits of cotton and polyester. The use of the md-IAT in this study allowed the assessment of consumers’ automatic associations with cotton and polyester of which they may not be aware.
- Brand personality
- Explicit perception
- Fabric content
- Implicit perception
- Multidimensional-implicit association test