Purpose-This study aims to explore consumer brand associations and values derived from a corporate brand and a celebrity brand endorser prior to their endorsement. Design/methodology/approach-This study uses both hierarchical value mapping and brand concept mapping (BCM) to identify brand attributes that translate to personal meaning for consumers and then to identify whether these attributes are encompassed by a specific brand. Findings-Results from brand concept maps and hierarchical value maps show consumers value accessibility and customer service in financial corporate brands. Consumers value expertise in celebrity brands and respect success in both corporate and celebrity brands. A central finding is the importance of brand authenticity. Corporate brand authenticity establishes a sense of security and assists in the development of brand relationships. Celebrity brand authenticity creates consumer attention and enhances celebrity trustworthiness aiding in the development of a consumer-celebrity brand relationship. Research limitations/implications-The findings have implications for corporate brands utilizing celebrity endorsers. In terms of strategic positioning, corporate brands need to center their marketing communications on desired brand associations at the core of both the corporate and celebrity brand that translate to personal meaning for consumers. Originality/value-This study uses a combined theoretical and methodological approach, drawing on associative network theory and means-end chain theory, and BCM and hierarchical value mapping methods, respectively, to understand and uncover personal meaning or value derived from brand associations.