Studying branding strategies of family firms gives rise to a striking observation: an increasing number of family firms nowadays communicate the “family” nature of their organizations. We therefore see a need for controlled empirical tests to determine whether this strategy of using a family business brand does influence consumers brand perceptions. Drawing on inference theory, we test the influence of a family business brand on perceptual and intentional variables in a series of two experimental online studies (N = 382; N = 126) and one field experiment (N = 54). The findings reveal that consumers infer higher brand trust from the communication of the firm's family nature, resulting in stronger purchase intentions. Furthermore, we identify brand authenticity as mediating variable for the family firm trust inference: consumers perceive brands that communicate their family nature as more authentic, leading to higher brand trust, and thus revealing brand authenticity as cognitive process of the family firm trust inference.
Journal of Business Research – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2018
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