The rapid growth in the popularity of social media sites has meant that social media has become an important communication channel for brands. Brands create brand pages on social media to cultivate positive and strong relationships with consumers. This study seeks to enhance our understanding of how fashion brand pages in social media foster consumer-brand relationships by exploring the factors that affect the development of consumer-brand relationships. Drawing on the parasocial interaction theory, this study proposes parasocial interaction as a key factor of this process. Specifically, this study proposes four antecedents (vividness, interactivity, social presence, and focused attention) of consumers’ parasocial interaction with brand pages, which further affects consumer responses in terms of affective engagement and brand loyalty. An online survey was administered with consumers who have followed and visited at least one fashion brand page via a social networking site (SNS). Structural equation modeling revealed that consumers’ perceptions of vividness, interactivity, social presence, and focused attention on a fashion brand page positively affected their feelings towards parasocial interaction with the brand page, which in turn led to their affective engagement with the brand page and consequent brand loyalty. These findings suggest that consumers build relationships of varying degrees with brand pages in a similar manner to that with people, which leads to their development of a positive relationship with the brand. This study concludes with discussions and practical implications.
Increasingly, there is a rise of interests from practitioners and academics on the topic of consumer-brand relationships (CBR). It has been argued that consumer build relationship with a brand in consonance with its personalities. Thus, this study investigates the role of brand personality in predicting prominent CBR constructs, such as brand awareness, brand trust, and brand loyalty.
Researchers consider brand personality as one of the prominent constructs in predicting consumer preferences and choices (e.g. Eisend & Stokburger-Sauer, 2013; Gordon, Zainuddin, & Magee, 2016; Guèvremont & Grohmann, 2013). It has been established that brands are capable to have personalities (Aaker, 1997; Geuens, Weijters, & De Wulf, 2009). The study of brand personality flourished since Aaker (1997) created a brand personality scale (BPS). According to her, brand personality reflects five main dimensions: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness.
Out of these dimensions, many studies mainly focus on two dimensions, sincerity and excitement respectively (e.g. Aaker, Benet-Martinez, & Garolera, 2001; Hosany, Ekinci, & Uysal, 2006; Ivens & Valta, 2012; Sung, Choi, Ahn, & Song, 2015). These studies consider these two dimensions to be of important since these dimensions appear to capture much of the variance in personality ratings of brands (Aaker, 1997) and are considered prominent to the marketing landscape (Aaker, Fournier, & Brasel, 2004; Guèvremont & Grohmann, 2013; Toldos-Romero & Orozco-Gómez, 2015).
Although Aaker's BPS represents the most prominent operationalization of brand personality (Eisend & Stokburger-Sauer, 2013; Matzler, Strobl, Stokburger-Sauer, Bobovnicky, & Bauer, 2016; Freling, Crosno, & Henard, 2011), her model has been the subject of several critiques. Researchers argue that the scale measures brand identity rather than brand personality (Azoulay & Kapferer, 2003), the scale is too general and simplistic (Austin, Siguaw, & Mattila, 2003), the scale does not include negative factors (Bosnjak, Bochmann, & Hufschmidt, 2007), and the scale is non-generalizable and non-replicable cross culturally (Arora & Stoner, 2009; Geuens et al., 2009). These shortcomings led researchers to construct an alternative to Aaker’s BPS. Geuens et al. (2009) develop a new measure of brand personality, which includes five dimensions: responsibility, activity, aggressiveness, simplicity, and emotionality.
Although many studies scrutinize on Aaker’s brand personality scale, only limited studies apply Geuens et al.’s BPS (e.g. Garsvaite & Caruana, 2014; Goldsmith & Goldsmith, 2012; Gordon et al., 2016; Matzler et al., 2016). Thus, the present study investigates the relationships between brand personality, using Geuens et al.’s (2009) scale, and three important consumer-brand relationships (CBR) constructs. These three constructs are brand awareness, brand trust, and brand loyalty.
Aaker (1991) conceptualize brand equity to include five important constructs, which includes brand awareness and brand loyalty. Meanwhile, Keller (1993) notes that brand knowledge is an important component of brand equity, consists of brand awareness and brand image. In addition, brand trust has been considered to be essential in influencing brand performance (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001). Hence, the focus of the present study lies on these three variables.
As it has been discussed above, researchers consider sincerity and excitement to be essential in investigating consumer behavior. In light of a shortage of studies in applying Geuens et al.’s (2009) BPS, the present study examines two personality dimensions, which are conceptually similar to Aaker’s (1997) BPS: responsibility to replace sincerity and activity to replace excitement (see Table 1). To the best of our knowledge, no research has investigated the relationships between these three consumer-brand relationships constructs (i.e. brand awareness, brand trust and brand loyalty) and the two most relevant brand personality dimensions (i.e. responsibility and activity). The present study contributes to the marketing literature in three different ways. First, this study adds to the body of knowledge on the relationship between brand personality and CBR constructs using the new measure of BPS. Second, this study assesses the individual level of the new BPS, particularly responsibility and activity, on the three CBR constructs. In doing so, this study responds Keller and Lehmann’s (2006) and Geuens et al.’s (2009) call to assess the individual capacity of the brand personality dimensions to get consumer preference or loyalty. Third, this study displays which out of the two dimensions of the new BPS (i.e. responsible and active) are more important to predict the three CBR constructs. In this research, data were collected from Spanish respondents using online survey with snowballing technique. In total, 347 respondents participated in the survey. After checking for incomplete questionnaires and missing values, 8 questionnaires were dropped. Hence, 339 questionnaires were used for the analysis. Before conducting multivariate analysis, normality tests were conducted. The measurement and structural models was tested using AMOS 18, employing the Maximum Likelihood (ML) method. We find that brand personality predicts these three CBR constructs. Brand personality explains 56%, 58%, and 45% of the variance in brand awareness, brand trust, and brand loyalty, respectively. The results show that the strongest link is between brand personality and brand trust.
Su and Tong (2015) find that there is no relationship between exciting personality and brand awareness. On the contrary, this study displays that being an active brand leads to higher brand awareness. Even the results show that active brands are more likely to build brand awareness compared to responsible brands. However, in order to build brand trust and brand loyalty, responsible brands are more preferred compared to active brands. These results are in line with Eisend and Stokburger-Sauer (2013) that reveal weak relationships between excitement on brand attitude and brand commitment. These days, consumers prefer the brands to be more responsible or sincere. As Kotler (2011) argues that there is a shift in marketing that consumers pay more attention toward social responsibilities.
Interestingly, the results show that being too active could negatively affect brand trust and brand loyalty. Although the association is not statistically significant, Banerjee (2016) finds that excitement brand personality has a negative association with brand preference. A study also finds that excitement does not predict employer brand trust (Rampl & Kenning, 2014). One explanation could be that the brands would like to be something that is an opposite of what they are claiming. Guèvremont and Grohmann (2013) argue that when a sincere brand attempts to flatter the consumers, it decreases brand attitude and increases disappointment. However, this does not occur when flattery comes from exciting brands.
Brand managers should be very careful in communicating their brands personalities. Communicating to the consumers that their brands are responsible as well as active is good. However, brand managers should understand the interplay between these two opposing personalities. Consumers may believe that the brand is a responsible brand but also a little bit active. However, communicating two different opposing personalities at the same time may confuse the consumers. This is due to consumers’ disconfirmation of expectations (Guèvremont & Grohmann, 2013).
Although this study enlightens the literature of brand management, it is not without its limitations. This study collects data from a cross-sectional study in Spain. In order to generalize the results of this study, future studies should replicate the conceptual framework cross culturally. Particularly on the negative effects of active personality toward the three CBR constructs.
Furthermore, Spanish has been regarded as individuals with high uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede, 2001). Uncertainty avoidance increases the reliability of the brand personality dimensions, namely sincerity and excitement (Eisend & Stokburger-Sauer, 2013). Thus, it would be interesting to know whether differences occur between high and low uncertainty avoidance respondents. In addition, future studies should also account for other individual differences, such as attachment style. Japutra, Ekinci, Simkin, and Nguyen (2014) note that attachment style plays a prominent role in predicting consumer behaviors.
This study investigates whether goods and service brands have different social media strategy to develop relationships with consumers. A content analysis of 10,752 brand posts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts of 10 Indonesian leading brands finds that goods and service brands have different strategies in utilizing their social media.
This study was designed to investigate luxury brand co-value creation. A mixed method approach was used to 1) identify encounter attributes of value co-creation, consumer value and brand value and 2) examine the relationships among encounter attributes, consumer value, brand value, and purchase intention to explain the process of value co-creation.
본 연구는 수입 자동차 브랜드에 관한 인식을 분석함에 있어 소비자-브랜드의 감성관계 진단 방식을 적용하는 것을 요체로 한다. 즉, 수입 명품자동차 브랜드들과 소비자의 관계를 진단하고, 관계성과인 참여의도와의 관계를 살펴보면서 국내 명품시장에서의 감성관계(emotional relationship) 중요성을 파악하고자 했다. 따라서 본 연구는 수입 자동차 브랜드라는 명품브랜드 시장에서 2008년 Top6의 판매고를 올린 BMW, 렉서스, 벤츠, 혼다, 아우디, 폭스바겐 등 6개 브랜드를 대상으로 사랑하는/자아투영적인/상호의존적인/책임감있는/친밀한/경외시하는 등의 항목을 감성관계 평가 구성요인으로, 관계의 성과로서는 참여의도를 3개 항목으로 나누어 설정하였다. 그리고 참여의도와 감성관계 항목간의 회귀분석 결과를 기반으로 명품브랜드와 소비자 간의 감성관계 척도의 타당성을 고려하면서 각 브랜드의 감성관계 차이를 비교 확인하였다. 또한, 본 연구는 수입 자동차 브랜드에 대하여 상대적으로 지식이 많은 집단과 상대적으로 적은 두 집단으로 나누어 지식의 정도에 따른 감성관계 강도에 차이가 난다는 사실을 밝혀냈고, 그 특성을 비교해볼 수 있었다. 이와 같이 본 연구는 소비자-브랜드의 감성관계를 평가해보는 것이 각 브랜드에 적합한 감성 마케팅커뮤니케이션 기획의 기반이 될 수 있음을 확인할 수 있었으며, 동시에 본 연구의 결과가 향후 보다 적극적인 감성관계마케팅 방안의 실증적 토대가 되어줄 수 있다는 데서 그 의의를 찾을 수 있었다.