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Brand romance: a complementary approach to explain emotional attachment toward brands

Hemant Patwardhan (Department of Management and Marketing, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA)
Siva K. Balasubramanian (Stuart School of Business, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 19 July 2011




This research aims to explain consumer attraction to brands when stimulation needs are paramount using the perspective of the Self‐Expansion Model. In doing so, it seeks to identiy brand romance – a more proximal construct to brand loyalty and aims to offer a complementary perspective to understand emotional attachment to brands.


A series of four studies developed and validated a three‐factor, 12‐item measurement scale for brand romance using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Reliability, convergent, criterion, discriminant and nomological validities were established.


Brand romance is a reliable, valid, and a more proximal construct that explains loyalty significantly better than attitudes.

Research limitations/implications

Student subjects constitute the sample and the findings are cautiously generalizable to adult populations. Future research should focus on teasing out product category effects, extending generalizability to other product categories and integrating the Attachment Theory perspective with the study's findings to offer a more comprehensive explanation for loyalty.

Practical implications

Consumers are likely to remain loyal to brands to which they are attracted. The brand romance construct captures this attraction. Marketers need to infuse their brands with novel perspectives, resources and identities on a continuous basis to satisfy stimulation needs and keep the attraction strong. This involves creating new brand associations that help the brand to stay relevant.


To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to apply the Self‐expansion Model to brand relationships. The research contributes a unique perspective in explaining emotional attachment to brands brought on by stimulation needs. It fills a gap in the emotional attachment literature and provides marketers with a tool to monitor consumers' attraction to brands.



Patwardhan, H. and Balasubramanian, S.K. (2011), "Brand romance: a complementary approach to explain emotional attachment toward brands", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 297-308.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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