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Identification and Attachment in Consumer-Brand Relationships

Brand Meaning Management

ISBN: 978-1-78441-932-5, eISBN: 978-1-78441-931-8

Publication date: 2 May 2015



We examine two conceptualizations of consumer-brand relationships: identification, as identity-based relationships between a consumer and a brand, and the related construct of attachment as a bond based on security and personal history with the brand.


Predictions emanating from the two constructs’ disparate theoretical traditions regarding the relative antecedents and outcomes of these brand relationship constructs are tested in a survey of real consumer-brand relationships, where the two are likely to co-occur.


Identification is more socially motivated, wherein the brand is used for “identity building” and impression management, such as through public endorsement. In contrast, attachment is more personally motivated; it is more likely to be founded on an intimate history with the brand and feelings of security inspired by the brand.


This is the first work in marketing to explicitly compare identification with attachment in contexts where they co-occur. In doing so, it underscores the validity and usefulness of these two related but distinct relationship constructs.



Sen, S., Johnson, A.R., Bhattacharya, C.B. and Wang, J. (2015), "Identification and Attachment in Consumer-Brand Relationships", Brand Meaning Management (Review of Marketing Research, Vol. 12), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 151-174.



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