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Exploring the implications of blockchain technology for brand–consumer relationships: a future research agenda

Achilleas Boukis (Business and Management, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 12 August 2019

Issue publication date: 21 April 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this conceptual paper is to delve into the implications of blockchain technology adoption for brands and consumers. Drawing on the existing branding literature and real-life applications of blockchain, the challenges, risks and opportunities from blockchain adoption for four important areas of the branding literature are canvassed (i.e. brand positioning and corporate brand image, consumer–brand relationships, online brand communication and consumers’ trust in the brand). Also, a future-oriented discussion is provided that highlights some important avenues for researchers in the field.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual paper sheds light on the potential implications of blockchain technology for brand–consumer relationships. To do so, an analytical review of the blockchain literature is conducted, the nature of blockchain technology is presented and its unique features and functions for brand–consumer interactions are discussed.

Findings

This paper ignites an exploratory discussion around how blockchain applications and platforms can affect consumer–brand relationships, drawing on a number of real-life examples of blockchain adoption. This discussion sheds light on how blockchain features can impact on various areas of interest for strategic brand management, such as the adoption of digital currencies, brand storytelling, use of blockchain-enabled loyalty programmes, role of intermediaries in online advertising, counterfeit consumption, brand transparency and trust for brands in online marketplaces, amongst others.

Originality/value

This is one of the first conceptual efforts in the branding literature that draws on the scarce existing knowledge around blockchain adoption and discusses the potential implications of blockchain technology for brands and consumers whilst also providing directions for future research.

Keywords

Citation

Boukis, A. (2020), "Exploring the implications of blockchain technology for brand–consumer relationships: a future research agenda", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 307-320. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-03-2018-1780

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited