The objective of this article is to address the critical yet unexplored question whether brand attachment adds value as a construct of interest to marketing and consumer researchers. The authors articulate the defining properties of brand attachment construct and differentiate it from brand attitude strength. From a measurement perspective, the authors develop and validate a parsimonious measure of brand attachment, test the assumptions that underlie it, and demonstrate that it indicates the concept of attachment. They also demonstrate the convergent and discriminant validity of this measure in relation to brand attitude strength.
Managerially, the authors demonstrate that brand attachment offers value over brand attitude strength in predicting (1) consumers’ intentions to perform difficult behaviors (those they regard as using consumer resources), (2) actual purchase behaviors, (3) brand purchase share (the share of a brand among directly competing brands), and (4) need share (the extent to which consumers rely on a brand to address relevant needs, including brands in substitutable product categories). Specifically, the findings show that the more strongly consumers are attached to a brand, the more willing they are to forsake personal resources to maintain an ongoing relationship with that brand. Thus, they are willing to express an intent to engage in difficult behaviors—those that require investments of time, money, energy, and reputation—to maintain (or deepen) a brand relationship. In addition to behavioral intent, the findings show that attachment is a significantly better predictor than brand attitude strength of actual behaviors. With regard to brand purchase and need share in particular, managers have much to gain by attempting to build stronger brand attachment.
C. Whan Park is Joseph A. DeBell Professor of Marketing in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He is currently director of Global Branding Center in the Marshall School of Business and editor of Journal of Consumer Psychology. He has published numerous articles in Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, and Journal of Consumer Psychology. His works have also appeared in many other journals, including Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Retailing, and Current Issues and Research in Advertising. Professor Park coauthored Marketing Management (Dryden Press, 1987), with Dr. Gerald Zaltman from Harvard University. In 1987, he was the recipient of the Alpha Kappa Psi award for his article which appeared in Journal of Marketing.
Deborah J. MacInnis is Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Business Administration and Vice Dean for Research at Strategy in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. She is an expert in marketing communications, information processing, branding, and emotions. She has published in Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. She received the Maynard and Alpha Kappa Psi awards for the most significant contribution to marketing thought in Journal of Marketing. She is the current coeditor of Journal of Consumer Research, former associate editor of Journal of Consumer Psychology, and past president of the Association for Consumer Research. Professor MacInnis has also received several teaching awards.
Joseph Priester is Associate Professor of Marketing Strategy in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He received his PhD in Social Psychology from the Ohio State University. He is an expert in the area of consumer psychology, in which he investigates attitudes and persuasion, brand relationships, and mindfulness. He has published in Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and other journals. He is a coauthor of The Social Psychology of Consumer Behavior and coeditor of The Handbook of Brand Relationships. He is currently associate editor of Journal of Consumer Psychology and is former associate editor of Journal of Consumer Psychology.
Andreas B. Eisingerich is Assistant Professor of Marketing in the Imperial College Business School at Imperial College London. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and earned his BS at the London School of Economics. His research focuses on consumer behavior and brand management strategies.
Dawn Iacobucci is E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Marketing and the senior associate dean in the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Previously, she was at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (1987–2004), the University of Arizona (2001–2002), and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (2004–2007). Her research focuses on the modeling of social networks. She has published in various journals, including Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Service Research, Harvard Business Review, Psychometrika, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Social Networks. She is recent editor of both Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Consumer Psychology. She is coauthor on Gilbert Churchill’s lead text on Marketing Research and author of Mediation Analysis and Marketing Management.
Journal of Marketing, Volume 74, Number 6, November 2010
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