This paper aims to explore the relationship between brand functionality and consumer-based brand equity.
A mixed-methods approach was adopted including a qualitative study and multiple survey-based studies. Mediation and moderated-mediation paths were tested using PROCESS and three-stage least squares simultaneous estimation models.
Study 1 finds that consumers perceive highly functional brands can enhance their self-competence to perform a task. This phenomenon is labelled brand skill and defined as the extent to which consumers perceive their own performance as emanating from their use of a particular brand. Study 2 finds that brand skill mediates the relationship between brand functionality, brand connection and consumer-based brand equity, while a post hoc study showed that these relationships are robust among private meaning brands. Study 3 demonstrates that these mediated relationships are moderated by the type of dominant benefit the brand provides (i.e. hedonic-versus utilitarian-dominant benefits).
Based on self-determination theory, brand skill is posited as the link between brand functionality, brand connection and consumer-based brand equity.
Brand managers are urged to not overlook the role of brand functionality in favor of other non-functional brand dimensions. Brand functionality enhances consumers’ perceived self-competence and fosters brand connection, especially for brands that offer superior utilitarian benefits.
This is the first study that empirically examines the process by which brand functionality leads to consumer-based brand equity and the role brand skill plays in making that connection.
Mohan, M., Jiménez, F.R., Brown, B.P. and Cantrell, C. (2017), "Brand skill: linking brand functionality with consumer-based brand equity", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 477-491. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-06-2016-1247
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