This paper aims to investigate the consequences of the heritage experience in brand museums on the consumer–brand relationship. By highlighting its heritage within a museum, the brand proposes a specific experience that deserves attention because it is based on memory and communal identity, thus creating or strengthening a relationship with consumers.
Ethnographic case studies were conducted through direct observation and extensive interviews with 72 visitors at two brand museums, the Fallot Mustard Mill and the House of the Laughing Cow.
The results highlight the emergence/strengthening of the relationship between consumers and the brand through the development of intimacy with the brand and the emergence of supportive behaviors toward the brand in the form of commercial support, ambassadorship and volunteering.
By characterizing and articulating the different relational consequences of visiting a brand museum, this research contributes to the literature dedicated to heritage experiences in consumption contexts and to the literature dedicated to consumer–brand relationships in servicescapes.
The study shows the necessity of grounding “heritage” in the physical setting of the brand museum to create a meaningful experience for visitors and, in turn, a deep relationship. Managers should treat brand museums as a relational tool in the marketing strategy of the brand and approach them from the perspective of long-term profitability.
While the literature has examined the spectacular and esthetic experiences brand museums offer, this study is the first to characterize the heritage experience and to document its consequences in terms of the consumer–brand relationship.
The authors would like to thank Annamma Joy for her contribution to this paper.
Pulh, M., Mencarelli, R. and Chaney, D. (2019), "The consequences of the heritage experience in brand museums on the consumer–brand relationship", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 53 No. 10, pp. 2193-2212. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-03-2017-0233Download as .RIS
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