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We examine two conceptualizations of consumer-brand relationships: identification, as identity-based relationships between a consumer and a brand, and the related…
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.
Brand narratives are created to differentiate brands, and consumers base their assessments of a brand’s authenticity on this narrative. We propose that the default…
Brand narratives are created to differentiate brands, and consumers base their assessments of a brand’s authenticity on this narrative. We propose that the default consumer position is to accept a brand’s narrative, and we find that consumers maintain belief in this narrative even when explicitly reminded that it is manufactured by firms with an underlying profit motive. Because belief seems to be the default position adopted by consumers, we investigate what factors act as disruptors to this default position, thereby reducing assessments of authenticity.
This research uses a series of studies to investigate when and why consumers view some brand stories as authentic and others less so. In addition, we examine the impact of changes to authenticity assessments on managerially important brand outcomes.
Only when one or more authenticity disruptors are present do consumers begin to question the authenticity of the brand narrative. Disruption occurs when the focal brand is perceived to be nakedly copying a competitor, or when there is a gross mismatch between the brand narrative and reality. In the presence of one or both of these disruptors, consumers judge brands to be less authentic, report lower identification, lower assessments of brand quality and social responsibility, and are less likely to join the brand’s community.
Creating compelling brand stories is an important aspect of any marketing manager’s job; after all, these narratives help drive sales. Care must be taken when crafting narratives however, since consumers use these as the basis of their authenticity assessments, and brands deemed inauthentic are penalized.