Brand experiences arise in a wide variety of settings when consumers search for, shop for, and consume brands. Yet how exactly do consumers experience a brand? How can researchers and marketing practitioners measure these experiences? Does a consumer’s brand experience affect his or her behavior? The topic of brand experience has attracted a lot of attention in marketing practice. However, in academic research, the issue has been largely ignored. In this article, the authors conceptualize brand experience and construct a brand experience scale. The scale is short and easy to administer, consisting of only 12 items, and can be used by both researchers and marketing managers to measure the degree to which a brand evokes an experience.
Specifically, brand experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli. Such stimuli appear as part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments. To construct the scale, the authors distinguish several experience dimensions: sensory, affective, intellectual, and behavioral. They present six studies that show that the brand experience scale is reliable, valid, and distinct from other brand scales, including brand evaluations, brand involvement, brand attachment, customer delight, and brand personality. They present brand experience scores for major brands: Overall, respondents rate LEGO, Victoria’s Secret, iPod, and Starbucks as the most experiential brands. Finally, the authors show that brand experience affects consumer satisfaction and loyalty.
Further research on the brand experience scale is required. Although the scale currently does not measure valenced (i.e., positive and negative) brand experiences, the authors show how the scale items can easily be adjusted to do so. In addition, further research on the brand experience construct is needed. This research should address, for example, how brand-related stimuli result in experiences and how brand experience affects customer lifetime value.
J. Joško Brakus is Assistant Professor of Marketing in the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester. He holds a BS from the University of Zagreb and an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Civil Engineering. He received a doctoral degree in Marketing from Columbia University. His research interests are in the areas of consumer and managerial information processing, judgment, and decision making. His research has appeared in Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, and Journal of Economic Psychology.
Bernd Schmitt (PhD, Cornell University) is Robert D. Calkins Professor of International Business and the faculty director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School in New York. He is widely recognized for his major contributions to business and marketing, with a focus on brand experiences. Schmitt has authored or coauthored more than 50 articles in marketing and psychology journals and six books, which have been translated into 16 languages, including Experiential Marketing, Customer Experience Management, and, most recently, Big Think Strategy. Schmitt has consulted and developed brand and experience strategies for clients in consumer package goods, automobile, electronics, software, financial services, pharmaceuticals, beauty and cosmetics, hospitality, telecommunications, and media industries. His consulting and seminar clients have included more than 60 global companies in both consumer and business-to-business markets. He is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. For more information, please visit www.MeetSchmitt.com.
Lia Zarantonello is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Marketing Institute of Bocconi University, Milan, where she teaches marketing and communication courses at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. She obtained her doctorate of research in Marketing and Business Communications at IULM, University of Milan, Italy (in 2007) and was Chazen Visiting Scholar at Columbia Business School in New York during the academic years 2004–2005 and 2005–2006. She presented her work at international conferences, such as Advances in Consumer Research and EMAC, and has published articles in the most important Italian journals of marketing and consumer behavior. Her research interests include experiential marketing and consumption experience, consumer-based brand scales, food culture, and marketing.
Journal of Marketing, Volume 73, Number 3, May 2009
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