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Title: Drivers and outcomes of brand attachment
Author: Japutra, Arnold
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 4370
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2014
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Brand attachment refers to the cognitive and affective bonding between consumers and ‘their’ brands. Building consumer brand relationships is becoming increasingly important for academics and practitioners. Academics argue that comprehending the consumer brand relationship provides insight to consumers’ choice of brands related to their identity. The value of consumer brand relationships has been well documented in the marketing literature, in the context of increasing consumers’ defensive acts against the effect of negative information and minimizing the number of consumer desertions. Building consumer brand relationships underpins the long-term prosperity of brands. Extant research reveals several constructs of consumer brand relationships, including brand attachment. Recently, brand attachment has received much attention because it is a salient concept in explaining favourable consumer behaviours. By understanding brand attachment, firms are able to capture consumers’ minds and hearts. Thus, brand attachment is the focus of this thesis. Research on brand attachment is relatively new. Although a limited number of researchers have documented the drivers and outcomes of brand attachment, theyusually focus on a single category examination (e.g. retailing). Moreover, these studiesused measurement of brand attachment that only reflects emotional bonding. Hence, this study investigates the drivers and outcomes of brand attachment to reflect both cognitive and emotional bonding across categories. In addition, this research examinesthe role of attachment style. Attachment style refers to a systematic pattern of expectations, emotions and behaviours within relationships, from a particular history of attachment experiences. Attachment style and brand attachment aretwo distinct constructs. This study used a mixed method design to answer the research question. First, an exploratory study, using semistructured interviews and a projective technique (sentence completion), was designed to validate the research model. Afterwards, a questionnaire was designed to test the hypotheses within the research model. 432 questionnaires were analysed, using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This study offers several key contributions. First, this study goes beyond a single category examination to look across categories. Second, unlike previous studies, which only used emotional brand attachment, this study also measures cognitive brand attachment. Third, this study offers four important drivers of brand attachment: ideal selfcongruence, sensory brand experience brand responsiveness and CSR beliefs. The results also indicate a significant relationship between brand attachment with brand loyalty and resilience to negative information. Fourth, this study demonstrates empirical support to the positive link between sensory brand experience and brand attachment. This empirical support confirms the argument of researchers who proposed brand experience as one of the key determinants of brand attachment. Published research to date has yet to empirically test the link between brand attachment and resilience to negative information. Fifth, this study is the first to show that stronger brand attachment leads to higher resilience towards negative information. It is evident that when a strong bond between the consumer and brand has been established, they are more likely to forgive the brand when it is guilty of mistakes and violations. Sixth, the results also provide better understanding to the nomological network in which ideal selfcongruence operates. Previous studies show that ideal selfcongruence has a direct positive effect toward brand loyalty. However, this study reveals that ideal selfcongruence is fully mediated by brand attachment. This means increasing ideal selfcongruence does not directly increase brand loyalty; higher ideal selfcongruence leads to stronger brand attachment, which in the end lead to brand loyalty. In addition to that, this study also displays that brand attachment fully mediates and partially mediates the relationships between the four independent variables on brand loyalty and resilience to negative information. Finally, this study believes that not all consumers are the same. Insecure consumers are hard to manage and handle. It can be seen that the links between brand attachment with its antecedents and consequences are moderated by attachment style especially consumers that exhibit insecurities. Practitioners could use this study as guidelines to understand how to maximize brand attachment and leverage consumers’ loyalty and forgiveness. For instance, marketers could start developing marketing activities that support their consumers’ ideal self. It should be noted that brand responsiveness is the strongest factor that influences the degree of attachment. A firm should create a strategy that continuously attempts to understand consumers’ interest, perspectives and preferences (autonomy). Limitations and directions for further research are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available