With increasing managerial attention on the strategic promotion of brand-related sustainability initiatives (BSI), this study explores the psychological role of image congruence of the triad comprising brand, BSI and self-concept (brand–sustainability–self-congruence; BSSC). The study assesses the predictive effect of BSSC on consumers' brand evaluations and its variation according to the brand types and consumers' attributes. The purpose is to provide managerial suggestions as well as theoretical implications to build an effective BSI strategy from the perspective of consumer psychology.
The data from 409 respondents in Japan are assessed to discuss the relationships among BSSC based on actual/ideal self-concept (actual/ideal BSSC), brand trust, brand affect and purchase intention according to hypothetical BSI settings.
The results suggest a significant role of BSSC in consumers' brand evaluation mechanisms associated with BSI: mostly, actual BSSC affects non-luxury brand evaluation, while ideal BSSC affects luxury brand evaluation. Likewise, the effects of actual/ideal BSSC seem to vary according to consumers' income levels.
The results suggest that managers strategically consider consumer psychology of brand evaluation with actual/ideal BSSC, income levels and brand attributes such as luxury level in BSI planning. Thus, they may predict its contribution to brand equity, leading to companies' performance being compatible with environmental contribution.
This study uniquely extends the self-congruity theory and discusses the psychological brand evaluation mechanism comprising BSSC, presenting the switching role of actual/ideal self-concept according to brand types and consumers' attributes.
This work was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Grant Number: 22K13494.
Kumagai, K. (2022), "Exploring the role of brand–sustainability–self-congruence on consumers' evaluation of luxury brands", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-05-2022-0380
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