Are brands forever? How brand knowledge and relationships affect current and future purchases

Franz‐Rudolf Esch (Justus‐Liebig‐University, Giessen, Germany)
Tobias Langner (Justus‐Liebig‐University, Giessen, Germany)
Bernd H. Schmitt (Columbia Business School, New York, New York, USA)
Patrick Geus (BBDO Brand Consulting, Munich, Germany)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 1 February 2006



The purpose of this paper is to develop a comprehensive model that combines brand knowledge and brand relationship perspectives on brands and shows how knowledge and relationships affect current and future purchases.


The paper uses structural equation modeling to test the significance of the overall model and the specified paths.


It is found that current purchases are affected by brand image mostly directly and by brand awareness mostly indirectly. In contrast, future purchases are not affected by either dimension of brand knowledge directly; rather, brand knowledge affects future purchases via a brand relationship path that includes brand satisfaction, brand trust, and attachment to the brand. Thus, brand knowledge alone is not sufficient for building strong brands in the long term; brand relationship factors must be considered as well.

Research implications/limitations

The present study did not examine feedback effects and included consumer categories only and no individual‐differences variables. It is recommended that future research examine feedback effects and include additional consumer categories, B2B categories and individual‐differences variables such as variety seeking and innovativeness.

Practical implications

Brand managers spend considerable resources on measuring brand awareness and brand image. It is recommended that practitioners also use brand relationship measures and develop strategic and tactical initiatives that ensure that consumers are satisfied with the brand, trust it and feel attached to it.


The paper is a cross‐paradigm paper: it is the first that combines the two separate broad‐based perspectives on brands into a simple comprehensive model for researchers and brand managers.



Esch, F., Langner, T., Schmitt, B. and Geus, P. (2006), "Are brands forever? How brand knowledge and relationships affect current and future purchases", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 98-105.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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