This paper aims to investigate the impact of brand attachment and familiarity on perceived congruence between the logo and the brand. It explores the role of an under-researched factor, surprise, on perceived congruence in the case of a radical logo change.
A study was conducted with 220 students following a university logo change. Perceived congruence between the logos (old and new) and the school brand values was measured for two kinds of students, current and future (i.e. applicants).
Results show the importance of surprise in the acceptance of a logo change. Brand familiarity and brand attachment affect surprise in opposite ways, such that higher familiarity increases negative surprise, whereas higher attachment enhances positive surprise.
This research used a school logo. Because schools represent a particular type of company, brand attachment to another type of brand could be different. The current model needs to be tested in different contexts.
Companies must pay special attention when communicating with their most attached consumers. In particular, companies that aim to change their logos must prepare for the change by relying on communications that can lead to positive surprise.
This study was conducted in a real context of logo change. It is the first study to focus on the link among familiarity, attachment and surprise when a radical logo change takes place within a company.
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