Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a model of brand authenticity and analyze the antecedents and effects of the construct. Although there is no doubt about the relevance of authenticity in personal relationships, published research has yet not thoroughly explored the concept’s meaning in reference to brands. Design/methodology/approach – Based on socio‐psychological attribution theories and grounding on the identity‐based brand management approach, a causal model of brand authenticity is developed. The hypothesized relationships are analyzed using the partial‐least‐squares approach. The primary data are based on an online survey conducted in Germany ( n = 600). The respondents were asked about fast‐food and beer brands. Findings – The data show that brand authenticity positively impacts on brand trust. Furthermore, the key antecedents in the model (consistency, continuity and individuality of a brand) drive the perception of brand authenticity as hypothesized. Research limitations/implications – The model should be tested in further product categories and moderators should be integrated. Originality/value – The findings suggest that authenticity is perceived when a brand is consistent, continuous and individual in its behavior. Nevertheless, the empirical results indicate that the factor individuality has the lowest influence on perceived brand authenticity. This is an interesting finding, as being “unique” is commonly regarded as an important success factor in branding. Although the study’s findings confirm its relevancy, they relativize its importance: being consistent, meaning that a brand fulfills its brand promise at every brand‐touch point, and being continuous, meaning that the brand promise reflects the essential core of the brand, are of major importance.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 13, 2014
Keywords: Brand identity; Brand trust; Authentic brand; Brand authenticity
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