Brand authenticity: model development and empirical testing

Mike Schallehn (Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Cologne Business School, Cologne, Germany)
Christoph Burmann (Chair of Innovative Brand Management, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany)
Nicola Riley (Chair of Innovative Brand Management, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 13 May 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a model of brand authenticity and analyze the antecedents and effects of the construct. Although there is no doubt about the relevance of authenticity in personal relationships, published research has yet not thoroughly explored the concept’s meaning in reference to brands.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on socio-psychological attribution theories and grounding on the identity-based brand management approach, a causal model of brand authenticity is developed. The hypothesized relationships are analyzed using the partial-least-squares approach. The primary data are based on an online survey conducted in Germany (n = 600). The respondents were asked about fast-food and beer brands.

Findings

The data show that brand authenticity positively impacts on brand trust. Furthermore, the key antecedents in the model (consistency, continuity and individuality of a brand) drive the perception of brand authenticity as hypothesized.

Research limitations/implications

The model should be tested in further product categories and moderators should be integrated.

Originality/value

The findings suggest that authenticity is perceived when a brand is consistent, continuous and individual in its behavior. Nevertheless, the empirical results indicate that the factor individuality has the lowest influence on perceived brand authenticity. This is an interesting finding, as being “unique” is commonly regarded as an important success factor in branding. Although the study’s findings confirm its relevancy, they relativize its importance: being consistent, meaning that a brand fulfills its brand promise at every brand-touch point, and being continuous, meaning that the brand promise reflects the essential core of the brand, are of major importance.

Keywords

Citation

Schallehn, M., Burmann, C. and Riley, N. (2014), "Brand authenticity: model development and empirical testing", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 192-199. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-06-2013-0339

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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